The Bulldog Sustainability Alliance will be hosting Chris Mensing as part of their Bulldog Sustainability Alliance’s Earth Week on Wednesday, April 19th from 6:30 to 8:00pm in the UCB 202A for a presentation entitled “Kirtland’s Warbler and Jack Pine Forests: Jewels of the Great Lakes Ecosystem.” Chris Mensing is a fish and wildlife biologist with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service specializing in endangered species (specifically the Kirtland’s warbler and eagles). He has been working with the Kirtland’s warbler recovery program for the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service since 2000 and also serves as the Michigan Field Office’s lead for the species. His presentation will be about the current research and status for the Kirtland’s warbler, as well as how the species’ recovery fits within the forest ecosystems of northern Michigan.
The Kirtland’s warbler is one of the world’s rarest songbirds and its survival is linked to the health of the Great Lakes’ jack pine forests. Just a few decades ago, Kirtland’s warbler was on the brink of extinction. The natural balance of the jack pine ecosystem has been altered to the point it could no longer sustain a viable warbler population. Fortunately, management programs were initiated to restore the warbler’s nesting habitat and as a result, the species’ population has rebounded to record levels. Many challenges remain before the Kirtland’s warbler is truly recovered, but the future is bright.