Partnership will expand local conservation efforts and education
North Central Michigan College and the Walloon Lake Association and Conservancy (WLAC) have announced a partnership aimed at expanding conservation efforts and education to students and community members.
On Tuesday, May 4, representatives from both organizations will hold a signing event signifying their intent to work collaboratively toward their shared goals. The event will be held at 2 p.m. outside the library on North Central’s Petoskey campus. Masking and physical distancing guidelines will be observed.
A gift from local philanthropist and outdoorsman Dr. Jack Postle, who passed away in 2020, will provide funding for the partnership.
North Central President David Roland Finley expressed his gratitude to the Postle family.
“The legacy created by this partnership will benefit North Central students for generations to come,” Finley said. “In fact, two current WLAC staff members are North Central alumni, and another has taken several classes at the college.”
WLAC Executive Director Josephine Roberts detailed initial plans for collaboration, which include pooling resources, generating community support, and attracting students and supporters to learn more about local conservation efforts.
“We are excited to engage young people in our mission to protect and conserve Walloon Lake and its watershed,” Roberts said. “There may be no better source of inspiration than the work we do to protect the pure, turquoise waters of Walloon and the old forests that surround the lake.”
During the first year of the partnership, North Central students enrolled in the Environmental and Sustainability Studies (ENVS) program will gain field experience in any of the 50 nature preserves under WLAC’s care. North Central Professor Kerri Finlayson will send ENVS students into conservancy property to experience firsthand the concepts they are learning in the classroom.
“Spending time outside in local environs produces both a sense and a love of place, thereby leading people to care about and protect the land, water, air and species in their community,” Finlayson said.
Students in Professor Isis Arsnoe’s BIO 152 classes have already visited two of WLAC’s preserves, Postle Farm Preserve and Mill Pond, documenting biodiversity and establishing sentinel trees for Michigan State University’s Eyes on the Forest tree monitoring program.
“By interacting with WLAC program staff and performing field research, students practice research techniques, gain confidence in their abilities as scientists and researchers, and have opportunities to make professional connections in conservation fields,” Arsnoe said.
The public and members of the media are encouraged to attend the May 4 signing event by providing an RSVP to media contacts from either organization.
Walloon Lake Association and Conservancy works to protect the Walloon Lake and its watershed so that generations of Northern Michigan locals and enthusiasts may enjoy this magnificent resource in perpetuity. The WLAC cares for 50 nature preserves and has been the stewards of Walloon Lake water quality since the forming of its historical lake association in 1910. For more information, visit www.walloon.org.
North Central Michigan College is an open-door community college based in Petoskey,
with additional locations offering classes and services in Cheboygan and Gaylord. North Central’s mission is to provide exceptional, accessible, relevant higher education of and for the community.
North Central is an Achieving the Dream Leader College with a designation of Veteran Friendly Silver by the Michigan Veterans Affairs Agency. For more information, visit www.ncmich.edu.
For more information:
Megan Van Horn
Content Media Administrator, North Central Michigan College
Director of Development and Communications, Walloon Lake Association and Conservancy