UPEC Livestreams: Keeping you connected with the UP environment

Our series of livestreams, co-hosted by Board President Horst Schmidt and Vice President Evan Zimmermann, keeps you up-to-date with environmental issues facing the Upper Peninsula.

Please note: as of November 2021, you can view all archived recordings of the livestreams anytime on UPEC’s Facebook page. Earlier posts below link to UPEC’s YouTube channel, which is no longer being used for this purpose.


“The pandemic made it clear that yes, more people are finding the outdoors and yes, people are finding the outdoors are not equally safe and welcoming for all.” So says Brad Garmon, director of Michigan’s Office of Outdoor Recreation Industry, who will be the guest on the next virtual UPEC Livestream on October 7th at 8 PM EDT. A recent article in Bridge Magazine highlighted the challenges Black, Indigenous, and People of Color face when enjoying Michigan's outdoors. Garmon will highlight the steps the Department of Natural Resources has taken to make the outdoors more welcoming for all peoples as a matter of policy and action.

In September 2019, Brad Garmon was named director of the Office of Outdoor Recreation Industry. Though he grew up in the plains of western Kansas, Garmon has spent the last 18 years focused on improving Michigan public policy to better protect the Great Lakes and natural areas, while also forging stronger connections between resource conservation, job growth, talent attraction, and economic development.

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Dr. M. Eric Benbow, Michigan State University

When you've been in the woods and found decaying tree trunks, mushrooms growing on dead organic matter, or perhaps even a decomposing carcass, did you ever wonder how this fits into our ecosystems? And what is happening in what is unseen by us to nourish the landscape? Join us on the next UPEC livestream to hear from Dr. Eric Benbow, a leader in studying the necrobiome: a complex system where the role of decomposition and decay has an impact on animals, birds, invertebrates, fungi, and microorganisms. Dr. Benbow focuses on applied ecology of insect–microbial interactions within three systems: carrion decomposition (and forensics), aquatic ecological networks, and disease systems. Together, they make up the necrobiome: the world of death which leads to new life.

For viewers who wish further information on the necrobiome, here is the original biography Dr. Benbow sent with a fuller explanation of his work and a selected bibliography.

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With Joe Hovel, President, Partners in Forestry Coop

Are the UP and Northern Wisconsin’s forest lands in danger? Joe Hovel, a tireless advocate for Northwoods conservation for decades, joins us for the next UPEC livestream to talk about land fragmentation in the era of climate change. He has written a new book focused on land fragmentation, reframing how he sees the problem in northern Wisconsin and the UP. With the current frenzy in the real estate market, land as well as housing is being bought, which is leading to gentrified fragmentation of our wilderness. Joe will discuss how fragmentation is occurring and what it means in the UP for our wildlife and vegetation. When we combine fragmentation with ongoing climate change, we are further endangering our environment. Join us on August 20th for an in-depth look at the threats facing us!

About our guest

Joe Hovel has been a tireless advocate for Northwoods conservation for decades. His years of conservation activity are grounded in a passion for the innumerable reasons to protect land for future generations. Individually and in partnership, he has supported, negotiated, acquired, and transferred land for conservation. He is president of Partners in Forestry Coop and acting leader for Northwoods Alliance Inc.

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