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East Lansing Field Office provides outreach to the Au Sable Institute
Midwest Region, June 20, 2012
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Chris Mensing, Fish and Wildlife Service biologist, explains the importance of young jack pine to the survival of Kirtland's warbler.
Chris Mensing, Fish and Wildlife Service biologist, explains the importance of young jack pine to the survival of Kirtland's warbler. - Photo Credit: USFWS

On June 19 and 20, 2012, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service’s East Lansing Field Office presented the Au Sable Institute an opportunity to learn about Kirtland’s warbler and its habitat. Located in Mancelona, Michigan, the Au Sable Institute provides field-based courses in environmental studies and environmental science to students from all across the United States and Canada. Each summer, the entire faculty and student body visits the jack pine plains of northern Lower Michigan to study the Kirtland's warbler and its unique habitat.

 

Chris Mensing, a biologist with the East Lansing Field Office, gave a presentation to the Au Sable Institute providing them background on Kirtland’s warbler and the ecology of the jack pine plains of northern Michigan. Dan Elbert, also a biologist with ELFO, then joined Mensing to lead approximately 40 students and faculty through Kirtland’s warbler habitat. The students were very interested to learn how the Kirtland’s warbler habitat, large stands of young, dense jack pine, has changed over the years. The habitat was historically created by natural wildfires that would burn thousands of acres each year. Now, modern fire suppression has required land managers to create Kirtland’s warbler habitat through a rotation of clear cuts and planting. The habitat management is conducted with a landscape focus, ensuring that the management also benefits many other species that utilize the jack pine ecosystem.

For nearly 40 years, the Service has offered guided tours to the public for the opportunity to view the endangered Kirtland's warbler. Tours are available from May 15 through July 4, departing from Grayling, Michigan. For more information, please contact the USFWS East Lansing Field Office at 517-351-2555.


Contact Info: Christopher Mensing, (517) 351-8316, Chris_Mensing@fws.gov



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