The U.P. holds many hidden treasures for those who explore deep in its forests. Off the beaten path, one can find misty waterfalls, chirping warblers, mysterious mushrooms, and trees with trunks so large, you could hardly fit your arms around! This summer, I was fortunate to adventure out to many properties like this which are protected by the UP Land Conservancy.
As a stewardship intern, I engaged with the land in a way few have the chance to. While spending hours outside, no one around except chipmunks, and only the sites and sounds of nature - I mapped out property boundaries, surveyed the landscape for flora and fauna, and had the pleasure of backcountry camping in areas where the stargazing was untouched by light pollution. In addition, my stewardship internship opened my eyes to the world of land trusts. Prior to this summer, I hadn’t really thought about the importance of conservation easements or considered how Nature Preserves come into existence. Now, I can say I have seen first-hand the multitude of positive impacts UPLC’s protection has had across our peninsula. The types of land agreements UPLC offers protects critical habitat from encroaching development, preserves the agricultural value of family farms, safeguards historically or culturally important locations, and conserves areas with significant scenery and biodiversity for the public’s recreation or education while still also allowing traditional land usage to continue.
With a staff of three and a dedicated board of directors, it’s incredible to see what UPLC accomplishes. In the past few months, I was able to celebrate with the UPLC team as we closed on the Dead River Community Forest, as well as provide feedback and assistance during the strategic planning process. Furthermore, I helped UPLC host numerous events this summer, like the second annual Chocolay Bayou Art Walk! I feel so lucky to have collaborated with this passionate team of conservationists. I will treasure the time I got to spend with the UP Land Conservancy and look forward to applying my experiences here in my future education and career.
- Emilyn Staat
P.S. Below are some photos of places I explored while monitoring this summer