Inside Region 3
Midwest Region
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Meet the Shiawassee National Wildlife Refuge

Shiawassee National Wildlife Refuge is located in the center of Michigan’s lower peninsula, approximately 25 miles south of Saginaw Bay. Four rivers converge on the refuge, the Tittabawassee, Flint, Cass, and Shiawassee, in an area locally known as the "Shiawassee Flats." Refuge habitat consists of bottomland hardwood forest, emergent marsh, prairie and moist soil units.
 
Established in 1953, the refuge provides habitat for migratory waterfowl and is designated as an Important Bird Area. The refuge is directly adjacent to the city of Saginaw and has a unique opportunity to serve its inner city residents. The refuge also manages five islands within Michigan Islands National Wildlife Refuge protecting wilderness and large nesting waterbird colonies.

Steve Kahl

Steve Kahl

Steve Kahl has been the Refuge Manager at Shiawassee for 11 years. He began his experience with the Service as a volunteer and undergraduate intern at Montezuma National Wildlife Refuge in Central New York. His first job with the Service came in 1998 as Supervisory Refuge Operations Specialist at Iroquois National Wildlife Refuge in Western New York. From there, he worked in Northern New Jersey as the Deputy Refuge Manager at Wallkill River National Wildlife Refuge where he later advanced to Refuge Manager. Steve grew up in the beautiful Finger Lakes Region of New York. He earned his Bachelor's and Master's degrees in Wildlife Biology and Management from the State University of New York- College of Environmental Science and Forestry. He enjoys birdwatching, botany, herpetology, gardening with native plants and spending time with his wife and two kids.

 

Eric Dunton

Eric Dunton

Eric Dunton is a Wildlife Biologist at Shiawassee and serves as one of the Field Based Inventory and Monitoring Biologists with the Midwest Region’s Inventory and Monitoring Initiative of the Division of Natural Resources and Conservation Planning. Prior to joining the Service, Eric worked as a Wildlife Research Biologist for the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources, a Wildlife Technician for Michigan Department of Natural Resources and a Biological Science Technician for the Department of Defense at Fort Benning, Georgia. There he worked with Federally endangered red-cockaded woodpeckers. Eric possesses a Bachelor’s from Michigan State University in Fisheries and Wildlife Management and a Master’s in Biology from Tennessee Technological University (Wildlife Emphasis) and is a Certified Wildlife Biologist with The Wildlife Society. Eric enjoys spending his free time with his wife, two sons and their dog.

 

Lionel D. Grant

Lionel D. Grant

Lionel D. Grant has been the station’s Visitor Services Manager since July of 2012. He takes joy in engaging youth and bridging gaps between urban communities and surrounding nature. A Chicago native, Lionel attended Southern Illinois University in Carbondale where he obtained his Bachelor of Science in Zoology and Master of Science in Forestry: Human Dimensions of Natural Resources. It was during his undergrad years he was introduced to The Student Conservation Association via the National Society of Minorities in Agriculture, Natural Resources and Related Sciences. This introduction led to an internship at Cape May National Wildlife Refuge, New Jersey. A few years later Lionel joined the Student Career Enhancement Program where he served at Minnesota Valley National Wildlife Refuge, Fergus Falls Prairie Wetlands Learning Center and Wetland Management District and Crab Orchard National Wildlife Refuge. Lionel is actively involved with the Service’s National Vision Team for Recommendation 18 (Other Recreation) and is the Junior Duck Stamp Coordinator for the State of Michigan.  
 

 

Keith Jensen

Keith Jensen

Keith has been the Maintenance Worker at Shiawassee since 2011. He started working for the Service back in 2002 at Horicon National Wildlife Refuge as an Engineering Equipment Operator. Keith was placed here through the Student Career Enhancement Program after acquiring an Associate of Applied Science degree in Individualized Technical Studies from Moraine Park Technical College, Wisconsin. Keith has taken part in six Maintenance Action Teams and is a crew member for prescribed and wildfire. With no fire staff stationed here, Keith plays a big part in the success of it’s fire program in addition to dealing with the variety of tasks required from a maintenance worker. Keith enjoys hunting, fishing, trapping, playing golf and watching the Green Bay Packers in his free time, but his main source of enjoyment is spending quality time with his son and daughter.

 

Autumn Mitchell

Autumn Mitchell

Autumn Mitchell recently started working for the Service as a Visitor Services Technician (Park Ranger). She has spent the last nine years as an Outdoor Education Program Specialist and Program Administrator in the nonprofit realm. Autumn grew up near the refuge, worked as an undergraduate research assistant studying wildlife toxicology along the refuge floodplain and is pleased to now be employed here, giving back to the community through programming and outreach. In her free time, Autumn enjoys hiking, backpacking and canoeing and entertains a lifelong hobby in historical interpretation focusing on Michigan history.

 

Shawn Norcross

Shawn Norcross

Prior to working for the Service, Shawn spent 21 years on active duty with the United States Army, retiring as a Master Sergeant. After transitioning from active duty, he worked as a Training Specialist on the Rock Island Arsenal for three years before he became part of the family. Shawn has been at Shiawassee since October 2012. As the Administrative Support Assistant, he is responsible for coordinating, tracking and implementing all administrative issues associated with the refuge and its staff. Shawn is typically the first contact visitors have when arriving to the refuge headquarters. He ensures all guests receive the necessary information to make sure their visit is of the highest quality.

 

David Peters

David Peters

David Peters is the Engineering Equipment Operator at Shiawassee. He has been with the Service for 25 years, all of them at the refuge. His career path was similar to many - learning and moving up through the ranks - first as a temporary seasonal Biological Aid, then a term Biological Science Technician, then a permanent Tractor Operator, and finally, in 2008, as Engineering Equipment Operator.

 

Michelle Vander Haar

Michelle Vander Haar

Michelle Vander Haar developed an early love for the outdoors while enjoying summers at the family lake house, hiking, bird hunting and fishing. She is a Fish and Wildlife Biologist in the Partners for Fish and Wildlife Program at Shiawassee. Her 15-year tenure with the Service began with Ecological Services and quickly transformed into a student position in environmental education. After two and a half years, she moved into habitat restoration in the Partners Program. Previous to her Service positions, Michelle received a Bachelor’s in Natural Resource Management from Central Michigan University and a Graduate Certification in Watershed Management from Michigan State University. As a working wife and mother of two boys, Michelle and her family stay very busy. They love to spend summers at the same lake where Michelle grew up doing boating and other water activities. They also enjoy camping, hunting, fishing, snowboarding, football and many other sports. Best advice from one of her favorite mentors, “Stay true to your values and principles.”

 

 

Last updated: June 10, 2016