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“Keep the UP Wild” webinar: Campaign for New Wilderness Areas


Michigan Environmental Council Webinar

Featuring UPEC President Horst Schmidt

Recorded live July 16, 2021

Listen to the webinar here


UPEC President Horst Schmidt was the featured guest recently on  MEC’s “Capital Connections” webinar series, talking about the Keep the UP Wild campaign for four new Wilderness areas. Learn about the places they're seeking Wilderness protections for, why and how this endeavor fits into broader conservation efforts in our state and nation. Here’s some background from MEC.



In the spring and summer, a myriad of greens and blues -- trees, bubbling streams, moss, cold lake water. In the fall, the ochre of leaves. In the winter, a stark contrast of deep pine greens, white snow and dark, bare trees.

These are the sites synonymous with Michigan's Upper Peninsula. We tend the UP's plentiful forests, lakes and streams as protected in perpetuity for the people.

That, unfortunately, is not true. Even grand landscapes like Ottawa National Forest are at the whim of mining, logging, development and bad behavior by visitors.

That's where the Keep the UP Wild coalition comes in, which the Michigan Environmental Council is part of. Its 66 members (and counting) of environmental, recreation, academic, business and political organizations are seeking to give federal Wilderness Area designations to the Trap Hills, the Echlo Area, Norwich Plains and the Sturgeon River Gorge.

These four areas, comprising some 51,000 acres of pristine splendor, are gems that make the UP a treasure trove of wonder. Giving them a Wilderness status gives them the best protection our nation can offer. Plus, it will generate good money, wildlife, clean water and awe for generations to come.

Listen to the webinar here

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Great blue heron • Courtesy Russell Johnson

Great blue heron • Courtesy Russell Johnson

Birding Helps To Keep Us Healthy (And It’s Fun)


by Jeff Towner, Chairman, Laughing Whitefish Audubon Society & UPEC Board Member


Probably everyone would agree that we modern humans are subjected to a lot of environmental stress. The stressors are too numerous to name, but depending on an individual’s circumstances they may include environmental contaminants, including polluted air, water, and soil, poor diet, economic instability, lack of exercise, noise, interpersonal relationships, political instability, a deluge of media, including social media, and disease, including the current COVID-19 pandemic. Some spend considerable time and money looking for ways to reduce their stress load and deal with the physical and mental effects of stress. So, what does birding have to do with this? The answer is “A lot.”

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