Carbon Sequestration Fellowship
History of Carbon Sequestration Surveys at the Arb:
In 2010, Kalamazoo College signed the Sustainability and Climate Action Plan, committing the college to reduce the college’s environmental footprint. A crucial part of reducing that footprint is the sequestration of greenhouse gasses, specifically carbon. Carbon sequestration is the removal of greenhouse gasses from the atmosphere and storing it in a reservoir. Put more simply, carbon sequestration is carbon capture and storage. The carbon sequestration project aims to measure the amount of carbon the Arboretum sequesters annually.
In 1890, the land the college’s Lillian Anderson Arboretum now occupies was established as a homestead and farmed. In the mid 1940’s, this land was abandoned and the process of reforestation allowed to begin (Cooper 2009). During the period when the Arboretum was farmed, its carbon reserves were depleted. Now that it has been able to regrow, organisms from trees to microbes have been accumulating stored carbon. The carbon sequestration project aims to measure the rate at which carbon is taken from the atmosphere and stored. For the purposes of measurement, carbon sequestration is broken down into four categories; trees, soil, forest floor, and understory growth.
In 2009 a baseline measurement of the biomass in the trees was created. Within forested areas, 35 permanent circular plots were established, each 40 meters in diameter and measured the diameter of the trees at breast height (1.4 meters). These measurements were used to extrapolate the carbon stored in the above ground biomass, and provided estimates for carbon in the soil, forest floor, and undergrowth.
The following year, a baseline measurement of the carbon stored in the arboretum’s soil was created with at least twenty soil samples in each land cover area (pines, prairie, hardwoods etc.) to a depth of 30 cm using a soil corer. The carbon content of the samples was measured, using these values to extrapolate the carbon stored in the soil of the arboretum.
As of 2010, we estimated the Lillian Anderson Arboretum at 9,838.52 Mg Carbon.
In Summer 2014, this survey was repeated. Several changes to field surveying methods were made to ensure the integrity of future surveys. As of 2014, we estimated the Lillian Anderson Arboretum at 10,782 Mg Carbon, and the Arboretum was sequestering at a rate of 225.48 Mg Carbon per year.
The Carbon Sequestration Fellowship will complete the third installment of the carbon sequestration surveys. The fellow will work closely with Professor Binney Girdler, Sara Stockwood and the summer Arboretum trail crew. Methods will be confirmed based on previous surveys. Due to a storm in the fall of 2014, several tree plots will need to be re-established. The results from the 2020 survey will be used in the Fiscal Year 2020 Climate Action Plan Report.
Gardening in Community Fellowship
The “Gardening in Community” Fellowship provides opportunities for a student to learn about and reflect on food justice, security, and sovereignty through engaging in growing food in three very different community contexts. This position will require 32-40 hours each week, divided between the following three organizations:
The Hoophouse at Kalamazoo College is a project of The Just Food Collective, a student-run program of the Mary Jane Underwood Stryker Center for Civic Engagement that strives to provide education and awareness to our campus community about the complexity and intersectionality of food justice. The Just Food Collective seeks to build relationships between the college and our greater community partners, to learn from existing alternative food movements in Kalamazoo, to increase the amount of locally-grown food available to our campus, and to advocate for initiatives that support a local food system that fosters sustainable and humane agricultural practices, safe and fair working conditions, and food access for all.
The Gardening in Community fellow will be responsible for the summer management of the Hoophouse at Kalamazoo College. Responsibilities will include daily monitoring of the Hoophouse to assess plant and soil health, checking on physical operating systems, and working with their mentor, Amy Newday, to develop weekly management plans that will keep the Hoophouse growing productively over the summer and ready for students to return in the fall. Necessary maintenance tasks may include: watering, weeding, harvesting, planting, cultivating, and responding to pest and disease problems. The Fellow may be able to delegate some of these tasks to students working for Facilities Management and will need to train and mentor these students so that they are able to complete tasks effectively.
In addition, the Gardening in Community Fellow will plan, develop, and complete a project in relationship to the Hoophouse that allows them to focus their learning in an area of food justice that is especially interesting to them and that benefits the Hoophouse community. This project could take many different forms. Students should include a detailed project proposal in their application and are encouraged to discuss their proposed project with Amy Newday prior to applying. When considering possible projects, students should think about what they would find most fun and fulfilling. Hoophouse responsibilities will take approximately 14-16 hours/week.
Ministry with Community (MwC) is a daytime shelter and resource center in Kalamazoo, open 365 days a year from 6:30am-5:30pm. The mission of MwC is to empower people to make positive life changes. To achieve their mission, they provide an environment of dignity, hope, trust and unconditional acceptance where all people are respected and valued. The MwC garden was built in 2018 and is managed by MwC members, staff, and volunteers. The produce from the garden goes directly to the MwC kitchen, which serves breakfast and lunch every day of the year.
The Gardening in Community fellow will spend between 6-8 hours a week assisting with the MwC garden. Responsibilities may include watering, weeding, planting, harvesting, cultivating, and helping to troubleshoot pest and/or disease issues that may arise in this raised-bed urban garden. Just as important as caring for the garden plants is caring for the people who care for the garden. The Fellow is expected to contribute to fostering a welcoming environment in the garden and to work collaboratively and respectfully with MwC members and staff. Prior to working in the MwC garden, the Fellow will need to complete any training requested by MwC and to familiarize themselves with the MwC mission and philosophy.
Harvest of Joy Farm LLC is a diversified vegetable, fruit, and seed farm located near Shelbyville, Michigan. Harvest of Joy Farm farmers John Edgerton and Amy Newday strive to practice and share farming & gardening systems that mirror the resilience and diversity of a healthy biotic community and that build capacity for food sovereignty throughout their bioregion. In 2020, Harvest of Joy Farm farmer priorities include seed stewardship, implementing permaculture design plans, creating beneficial insect/pollinator habitat, revamping record-keeping and organizational systems, and listening deeply to the land as they consider how best to care for the land and their community in the face of changing climatic and social systems.
The Gardening with Community fellow will spend 10-12 hours a week working alongside the Harvest of Joy farmers. Learning opportunities at Harvest of Joy Farm include: seed propagation and stewardship, ecological soil and weed management, permaculture and whole-diet farm design, small-scale fruit growing, growing and using herbs, ecological pest and disease management, “lean” farm recordkeeping and management, and cooking with/preserving seasonal produce. The Fellow will have the opportunity to tailor their learning on the farm to areas that interest them the most and will have the opportunity to reflect with Amy and John about the impact of their farming activities on both ecological and human communities and the intersections of their work with food and seed sovereignty movements.
In addition to their work in each of these gardens/community contexts, the Fellow should expect to spend 2-4 hours each week engaged in self-education and reflection. This might include reading, engaging with online courses or videos, intentionally visiting with people or the land, writing reports or engaging in artistic endeavors that help them integrate, reflect on, and make meaning out of their experiences. As the Gardening in Community Fellowship mentor, Amy Newday will provide support for the Fellow in this work as well.
Land Conservation Fellowship
Working with the Southwest Michigan Land Conservancy (6-10 weeks)
About the organization: The Southwest Michigan Land Conservancy (SWMLC) is a 501 (c) (3) non-profit organization that works to conserve the scenic and ecologically important landscapes that give the 9 counties of southwest Michigan its natural character — now and for generations to come. SWMLC stewardship manages and restores its natural areas to sustain ecological diversity and function while engaging the public to increase the understanding and appreciation of their environment.
Southwest Michigan Land Conservancy (SWMLC) is seeking a summer intern to work on trail maintenance and construction, assist with land conservation projects, perform invasive plant control, and assist with general office work, such as filing and sending out mailings.
Interested applicants should be willing to learn basic plant identification skills, be able to perform physically demanding field work, be comfortable multi-tasking in the office, and have an interest in land conservation.
- Surveying SWMLC nature preserves for habitat quality and invasive species
- Conducting “cut-stump” treatment of woody shrubs, vines, and trees through the use of hand tools, brushsaws, chainsaws, herbicide applications under direct supervision of certified personnel.
- Managing herbaceous plants with hand pulling and foliar herbicide spraying.
- Assessing invasive plant species management from previous seasons and within-year treatment.
- Misc. duties include seed collection, trail work, sign posting, etc.
- Assist with fieldwork such as baseline documentation of new conservation properties
- Monitor and maintain existing conservation properties
- Upload data from fieldwork into online databases
- Meet with landowners to address concerns regarding conservation properties
- Document, identify, and botanize natural features including flora and fauna on conservation properties
- Synthesize observations from fieldwork into short written reports
- Operate spatial technology devices such as iPads, GPS units etc.
- Feel comfortable walking and working outdoors all day
- Enjoy spending long hours in nature, regardless of inclement weather, presence of biting insects, exposure to poison ivy/ sumac, high and low temperatures, ability to work in steep, uneven, wet and shifting terrain.
- Be detail-oriented and not afraid to ask questions
- Have basic computer skills using programs such as Microsoft Word, iPads, GPS units, etc.
- Any experience with Geographic Information Software (GIS) is a plus!
- Be open to learning new skills—no prior natural resources experience necessary!