Natural Areas Management Planning for Matthaei Botanical Gardens, Nichols Arboretum, Horner-McLaughlin Woods, and Mud Lake Bog

Client Organization: 
Matthaei Botanical Gardens and Nichols Arboretum, University of Michigan
Project Location : 
Ann Arbor, MI
Summary of Project Idea: 

Goals & Objectives:

The goal of this project is to produce natural areas management plans and accompanying user-friendly interpretation for the four properties we manage, which include Matthaei Botanical Gardens, Nichols Arboretum, Horner-McLaughlin Woods, and Mud Lake Bog. These management plans will serve to guide natural areas management for these properties. The interpretation will provide a brief synopsis of each management plan and help the general public understand the importance of managing natural areas.
Theoretical Justification, Social Benefit, or Significance:  

The natural area management plans will serve to guide our natural areas management. The user-friendly interpretive materials (signage, brochures or pamphlets, website information, etc.) will help the general public understand the importance of natural areas management.

Specific Activities & Duration:

MBGNA staff will provide a general template and background information for the management plans that the student team can use in developing management plans. Each of the management plans will be accompanied by a user-friendly interpretation that summarizes the overall plan for the general public and explains why and how we manage our natural areas.
The team will assess the data needed for each of the management plans and gather this information from existing datasets and collect new information as needed. Some of the needed datasets (plant lists, management records, historic aerial photos, property boundaries, etc.) will be supplied by MBGNA.
The scale of the project is reasonable for a 16-month project.

Integrative Approach:

The project will benefit from involvement of students with a diverse set of knowledge and skills who can integrate the natural history of these properties with their present management needs.  Some the disparate types of information needing integration into a coherent natural areas management plan include the following: glacial geology, soils, botany, zoology, ecology, natural areas management, wetlands, ecosystem/natural community classification, rare species, ecological restoration, stakeholder engagement, aesthetics, planning and design, environmental psychology, and regulations/permitting, etc.

SEAS Program Areas: 
Conservation Ecology (Aquatic Sciences, Terrestrial Ecosystems, and Conservation Biology)
Environmental Policy and Planning
Behavior, Education, and Communication
Environmental Informatics
Landscape Architecture
SEAS Faculty Advisor: 
Bob Grese
Master Students Involved in Project: 
  • Cody Bruder
  • Alexis Heinz
  • Rachael Kluba
  • Liwan Zhang
Project Status: 
In Progress