An Ecological Assessment for the Creation of the Kiwanis Environmental Education Preserve (KEEP)
The Kiwanis Club of Ann Arbor, a 501(c)(3) non-profit corporation known for its thrift store sale and scholarship for high school students, envisioned a preserve to instill an environmental consciousness in young people in the Ann Arbor area. It is to this effect we conducted a thorough ecological evaluation of the selected urban forest situated within the 17-acre property belonging to the Kiwanis Club. Utilizing our skills in field monitoring, geographical information systems, and hydrological modeling, we carried out a number of activities, including an on-site investigation of the KEEP surveying the species of amphibians, mammals, and birds that inhabit the area from early spring through late fall of 2019. The vegetation assessment, which began with identifying plant species and classifying the microhabitats in the area, ended with an overview of the land-cover development from 1960 through 2005 using aerial photographs. The in situ testing of the aquatic condition of the two ponds and drain in the site included pH, oxidation-reduction potential, dissolved oxygen, specific conductance, and temperature. Additional analysis was done by sampling for benthic invertebrates and collecting water samples for in-lab testing. Following the water analysis and hydrological modeling carried out, we propose a possible re-routing of captured rainwater to the ponds to restore the water quality. Our wildlife and vegetation report gives suggestions on the preservation of areas with high species activities and guidance to ensure the biodiversity of plants respectively. Our effort builds a foundation for the actualization of the KEEP.
Sarah Brannon, MS (CE, EI); Katherine Ferran, MS (CE); Joy Yakie, MS (CE, EJ)