Our Awesome 2015 Summer Stewardship Crew: What They Loved and Learned
From the very beginning, the Leelanau Conservancy has had a commitment to bringing young people into the organization to gain experience in the field of conservation. Our summer interns and seasonal staff are enormously helpful and because of them we accomplish great things. But the flip side of that is that in the process, these young people gain valuable skills and insights into the work of conservation.
Our 2015 Stewardship Crew had a super productive summer maintaining and improving our natural areas. Two of our summer staff are funded by a grant from the Sustain Our Great Lakes program. Together, they conducted plant surveys at 14 natural areas, looking for invasive species. One of the ways we can make the most of our resources is to follow an “Early Detection, Rapid Response” (EDRR) protocol. If we can catch an infestation early on of swamp thistle or garlic mustard, and treat or pull it, we win.
In addition, the crew helped with storm cleanup, installed new signs and benches, spread chips on trails, prepped our picnic site, helped out at EMU’s field school week at DeYoung Natural Area’s historic buildings and so much more. We say goodbye to our seasonal staff, a group of young adults who brought so much energy, good will, and sunshine to our office. Here’s what they had to say about their summer:
Ana Wodek–Summer Stewardship Intern
Working with the Leelanau Conservancy has truly been one the most gratifying experiences of my life. It was an honor to be able to help preserve and maintain the land that we all love so much. I learned something new each and every day out in the field and enjoyed meeting ALL of our wonderful members. Thank you for the exciting yet educational summer! Go Stew Crew 2015!
Ana Wodek (l) with Land Steward Emily Douglas, cleaning up garbage along the Lake Leelanau Narrows Natural Area.
Emma Velis–Summer EDRR Crew Member
As a Leelanau County native, I was amazed to discover how little of Leelanau I knew before this summer. With the Conservancy, I had the opportunity to explore unique areas around the county. This, coupled with the intense focus necessary in a plant survey, allowed me to notice plants and ecological relationships that I’d never really seen before.
Emma treats invasive purple loosestrife in the Lake Leelanau Narrows.
Chase Heise–Summer EDRR Crew Member
Over the course of the summer I really came to know all of the Conservancy’s properties, and what makes each of them so unique. Venturing into areas often untouched and seldom seen by humans is one of the best perks of working as an EDRR crewmember. From plant identification and orienteering to stewardship and storm clean-up, my many experiences will continue to benefit me for the rest of my career. There is much satisfaction to be seen in all of our work, and I believe that we left each property in a more thriving, natural state. Thank you for this wonderful opportunity.
Chase gets to the root of invasive barberry at Lighthouse West Natural Area
Nate Burns–Seasonal Property Maintenance Specialist
It has been a great pleasure to become involved with the Leelanau Conservancy, its properties, and the community. I am thrilled to be using my skills to benefit the lands and recreational opportunities for our visitors. My coworkers and the staff are among the best I’ve worked with: professional, extremely knowledgeable, and friendly. I very much look forward to returning to work next spring.
Nate installs the Soper Natural Area sign with summer intern Ana Wodek