Mary Helen is an award-winning teacher in the Livonia (Michigan) Public Schools. She and two colleagues are planning a trip to the House of Hope Orphanage in Montrois, Haiti. They will bring and distribute school supplies, clothes, and shoes to the children there. The three also will guide enrichment camps focusing on sports, art, and dance. Their work expands a program that previously resulted in the provision of four goats for the village, used to supply milk and cheese to the community.
Samantha recently served as an AmeriCorps New Jersey watershed ambassador working in the Assicunk, Crosswicks and Doctors Creek watersheds. “I hosted a volunteer monitoring training at the Tulpehaking Nature Center, with eight volunteers,” she is quoted as saying. “We spend many hours together. It had gone so well that I was on cloud nine at the end of the training. I’m so grateful for the time I have spent in New Jersey.” Samantha’s comments were part of the state’s Department of Environmental Protection’s effort to recruit Americorps watershed ambassadors for 2016. Samantha majored in biology at Kalamazoo College and studied abroad in Beijing, China.
Kate is a conservation biologist at the Minnesota Zoo. Her mission is to reduce threats to wildlife by using science to solve conservation problems. “I seek to see a planet full of life and awe-inspiring wild places.” She assists the Tiger Species Survival Plan and Tiger Conservation Campaign, and she organizes the zoo’s Recycle for Rainforests Program. She continues her research on dholes in Thailand and is collaborating with the Smithsonian Conservation Biology Institute in Mongolia on a project related to reintroduced Przewalski’s horses. Her former biology professor, Paul Sotherland, is a big fan. “CONGRATULATIONS,” he wrote to Kate, “on doing such cool stuff!”
Ron and his wife Suzanne live at and manage the first farm in Michigan to be designated Certified Wildlife Friendly by the Wildlife Friendly Enterprise Network. The 46-acre Windshadow Farm (Bangor, Michigan) ensures the health of its 150-head dairy goat herd in concert with surrounding wetlands and habitat for species that include amphibians, reptiles, ground-nesting birds and raptors. Ron and Suzanne time the grazing of the pasture-fed goats to ensure nutrient-dense forage. The milk produced allows for production of high-quality cheeses, distributed in western Michigan and in Chicago under the Evergreen Lane Artisan Cheese label. The natural areas surrounding Windshadow Farm allow for migration of coyotes and fishers through a marsh extending from the Black River. Two Great Pyrenees livestock guardian dogs are with the dairy herd at all times, and vulnerable animals are gathered in a secured dry lot at night. The couple enjoy identifying the multiple species of turtles, frogs, toads and snakes found on the property and regularly see egrets, herons and sandhill cranes, along with a host of raptors. Instead of draining seasonally wet areas, the farm has developed a management-intensive grazing system around them. The farm maintains a grassed perimeter around pastures and times hay crop gathering and grazing to protect ground-nesting birds and capture rain water. Ron and Suzanne believe they are seeing an increase in native pollinators due to careful management. The return of pollinators, along with more amphibians and reptiles, are signs of a healthy ecosystem. The farm uses solar power for some of its operations, and it also is certified for its high-welfare animal care by the Animal Welfare Approved program. Ron and Suzanne have served on the board of directors of the Michigan Land Trustees, an organization that promotes local food, small farms and rural revitalization.
Tyson was recently a guest on the Joy Cardin Show on Wisconsin Public Radio to discuss the nuclear power plant moratorium in Wisconsin. Under a new proposal, Wisconsin’s 32-year-old moratorium on new nuclear power plants would be lifted. Supporters say nuclear power is cleaner and that new plants would create jobs, while opponents say it distracts from renewable energy efforts and that there’s no long-term solution to storing nuclear waste. Cardin’s guests discussed whether Wisconsin should end its moratorium on new nuclear power plants.
Tyson manages the science department of Clean Wisconsin. In this role he serves as the scientific and technical lead for analysis of environmental issues and policies, in order to inform advocacy and action advancing Clean Wisconsin’s environmental priorities. He also works to build the research base of Clean Wisconsin, expand the use of science in environmental decision-making throughout the state, and maintain Clean Wisconsin’s position as an expert resource for environmental science.
Prior to joining Clean Wisconsin, Tyson was an energy efficiency and renewable energy consultant. His work included first-in-the-nation field testing of emerging energy efficient technologies like LED lighting, and project management on the California Solar Initiative and CaliforniaSolarStatistics.org. He also served as a resident engineer for Engineers without Borders in Tanzania, and was a founding member of the Stanford Solar and Wind Energy Project. He holds a Master of Science degree in civil and environmental engineering from the Atmosphere/ Energy group at Stanford University. He has also studied environmental health science at the University of Michigan. At K he majored in physics and studied abroad in Budapest, Hungary. He has conducted research in fields including climate change, energy efficiency, renewable energy and public health.
Katherine landed a four-month food writing fellowship with Edible Philly, a four-times-a-year magazine that celebrates the local and seasonal food of Philadelphia and the Delaware and Lehigh Valley region. Katherine spent a semester interning in Philadelphia during her undergrad days at Kalamazoo College (she majored in English) and liked the city–especially its local food culture–so she decided to move back. She’s been a writer for the Philadelphia Center and launched an online project called “Philly for Lunch,” where she chronicles what Philadelphians eat for their midday meal. Her family owns an organic farm in Michigan, so she knows a great deal about sustainable agriculture and food issues. Her position is supported by The Julia Child Foundation for Gastronomy and the Culinary Arts.
Whitney is the new executive director of Land Information Access Association (LIAA), a Traverse City, Mich.-based nonprofit that works with communities across Michigan to improve civic engagement, with a focus on strengthening the cultural and natural resources that support resilient, sustainable communities. Whitney will oversee all LIAA’s programs, including community planning, development, and resource management; website and database development and IT support; geographic information system and mapping services; and LIAA’s UpNorth Media Center, which houses the public- and government-access television services for all of northwest Lower Michigan. Whitney joined LIAA after 10 years at the Corporation for Public Broadcasting in Washington, D.C., most recently as vice president of operations. Her professional expertise includes strategic planning, grants, project management, operations, and organizational development. She earned her MBA degree from Kent State University. Whitney now lives in Traverse City with her husband and three sons.
The Center for Strategic and International Studies recently featured Paul’s work in its column “Careers in Development.” Paul is executive vice president for communications at ACDI/VOCA, a private, nonprofit organization that promotes broad-based economic growth, higher living standards, and vibrant communities in low-income countries and emerging democracies. Paul’s career in agriculture, food security, and global development spans 40 years and has taken him to 70 countries, including long-term assignments in Senegal, Mauritania, Indonesia, Barbados, and Kenya. In those locations he headed agribusiness programs that incorporated activities in policy reform, business group strengthening, commercial marketing, equity financing, and investment promotion. Paul earned his B.A. at K in theatre arts and studied abroad in Aix-en-Provence, France. He earned a M.B.A. at Stanford Graduate School of Business.
Rayline is vice president of development at the Kalamazoo Nature Center.
Samantha is an energy policy and planning analyst at Pacific Gas and Electric Company. She has been working for the last five years in the renewable energy field. In addition to her bachelor’s degree from K (political science and environmental studies), she holds a master’s degree in urban and environmental policy and planning from Tufts University.