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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.


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.

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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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With Dr. Nancy French, Senior Scientist, Michigan Tech Research Institute

Smoky skies over the UP this summer have reminded us that wildfire is present in forests across North America. Dr. Nancy French, Senior Scientist at the Michigan Tech Research Institute, will present on fire and fire’s impacts on ecology and the role of fire in the ecosystems of Northern Michigan and the greater boreal region of North America. She will also review the impact of fire on air quality and some of the newer data and tools available to map and monitor fire-derived smoke across the country.

Dr. French has a Master’s of Science and PhD from the University of Michigan School of Natural Resources. She studies applications of remote sensing to ecology and vegetation studies with a focus on wildfires and their effect on the structure and function of ecosystems. In particular, Dr. French is developing approaches to use satellite data to monitor the spatial and temporal patterns of fire and its impact on terrestrial ecosystems, the carbon cycle, and air quality. Her work has involved studying vegetation and fire disturbance with a variety of remote sensing systems, including synthetic aperture radar (SAR) and multi-spectral sensors, and using geospatial technologies to account for fire emissions at regional and continental scales. In addition to her position at MTRI, Dr. French has taught a course in Remote Sensing of the Environment at the University of Michigan and serves as Adjunct Professor of Forest Resources and Environmental Science at Michigan Technological University.

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