Since its founding in 2020, the USBN Youth Board of Directors has been led by its current Executive Committee of Marissa Schorr, Margery Price, Graham Klag, and Samuel Cuthell. The group has collectively worked to support the meaningful involvement of youth (18-35 years old) in the USBN. During their tenure, the Youth Board has welcomed in more than 30 members from across the United States and Puerto Rico, supported the development of the US-Canadian Biosphere Region internship program, increased youth participation in USBN subcommittees, and created a permanent Youth Board representative position on the USBN’s steering committee. As all good things come to an end, so too has the term of our current Executive Committee. It is now time for the next group of exceptional individuals to take the reins of the Youth Board of Directors.
Emma Rosenau has settled into her new digs at Death Valley National Park Headquarters to assist the Mojave Colorado Deserts Biosphere Region (MCDBR) with coordinating and communicating with partner organizations. The MCDBR includes North America’s hottest, driest, and lowest places as well as alpine environments rising to over 11,000 feet. This 25-million-acre landscape is home to thousands of desert-adapted plant and animal species, generations of human history, and opportunities for sustainable economic development in rural communities.
The abrdn Charitable Foundation (aCF) and UNESCO are in the second year of a three-year partnership to promote sustainability through research and education with the goal of developing innovative solutions relating to the environment, water and the ocean. As part of the partnership between UNESCO and the aCF, the project “Promoting sustainable development through UNESCO’s programmes and sites” seeks to promote sustainability and climate neutrality by working through UNESCO designated sites to act as pilot sites for sustainable development and the implementation of the Sustainable Development Goals, notably SDGs 6 (water), 13 (climate), 14 (ocean) and 15 (land).
The Cascade Head Biosphere Collaborative and its partners Lincoln City and the Confederated Tribes of Siletz Indians celebrated July 4, 2023 with a giant, 100-yard-long “Interdependence Day” themed sand graphic along the shores of the Cascade Head Biosphere Region and Marine Reserve to connect biosphere region residents and visitors with the sea and how it sustains life. Twenty-five volunteer rakers helped create the graphic depicting a giant pacific octopus holding four glass floats in its arms with messages about our connection with the sea scribed on the sands in front of the Chinook Winds Casino Resort in Lincoln City, Oregon.
On June 7, 2023, the US Biosphere Network (USBN) selected seven leaders to guide the network for the next three years. The new USBN Steering Committee members assuming office in September are Jon W. Allan, Chair (University of Michigan, School for Environment and Sustainability; Obtawaing Biosphere Region), Kelly Cerialo, Vice-Chair for Operations (Paul Smith College; Champlain-Adirondack Biosphere Network), Melissa Bade, Vice-Chair for Planning (CDR Associates), Samuel Cuthell, founder of the USBN Youth Board of Directors (Golden Gate Biosphere Network), and Deb Davidson (Center for Large Landscape Conservation). Brian Houseal (Chair Emeritus) and Cliff McCreedy (National Park Service – Federal Liaison) will continue serving on the committee.
The Cascade Head Biosphere Collaborative is engaged in many efforts across its three pillars: education, climate, and community. On the education front, they are continuing their partnership with NOAA, Lincoln County School District, the Oregon Coast Aquarium, and Camp Westwind on the Salmon River for meaningful watershed educational experiences. Utilizing the Raindrop to Sea video series and the newly constructed Raindrop to Sea trail at Westwind, the Cascade Head Biosphere Collaborative will connect with all of their local 6th-grade classes in May as they trace the path of a raindrop, from precipitation back to the Pacific Ocean with eight learning circles along the way.
In April 2022, the Commission for Environmental Cooperation awarded a North American Partnership for Environmental Community Action grant to the USBN fiscal sponsor, Center for Large Landscape Conservation for a transboundary internship project to strengthen collaborations and exchanges between Canadian and U.S. biosphere regions. The funded project, in coordination with the Canadian Biosphere Reserve Association and the USBN, provides stipends to four interns within four biosphere regions. Obtawaing in northern Michigan is paired with Georgian Bay in Ontario, and Champlain-Adirondack in New York and Vermont is paired with Frontenac Arch in Ontario to host the internships.
The Golden Gate Biosphere Network (GGBN) is located in the North Central Coast of California, more commonly known as the Bay Area. The network is focused on protecting and enriching the natural and human systems of its biosphere region. The GGBN spans more than 7 million hectares (28,000 square miles) of terrestrial, coastal, and marine land and seascapes. The impact and speed of climate change on the Bay Area has drastically reduced the effectiveness of historic data used to inform land stewardship decisions. Predictions based on new data were needed. To address this the GGBN partnered with EcoAdapt, a climate adaptation and resilience focused non-profit based in Washington state, on a Climate Change Vulnerability Assessment (CVA) of the biosphere region (BR).
Twenty-one biosphere regions (BRs) include various units of the National Park System across the continental U.S., Alaska, and Hawai’i. State and national parks and forests comprise core biodiversity conservation areas in BRs that connect with partner organizations across lands and waters around them. Recognizing the important role of parks in many BRs, Cliff McCreedy (National Park Service Facilitator for the USBN) and the NPS Natural Resource Stewardship and Science Directorate place talented youth into local internships in BRs with parks. Similar to the NAPECA internships, the Scientist-in-the Park internships offer the rare developmental opportunity to work with state, federal, local and tribal agencies as well as nongovernmental organizations, universities and other private entities in a collaborative setting. Biosphere regions gain valuable staff support in return.
A trio of USBN representatives joined over 180 colleagues from Canada and Europe at EuroMAB 2022, the regional conference for biosphere regions held in September 2022 at Nockberge Biosphere Reserve in the Austrian Alps. The EuroMAB regional network is made up of 34 European countries, Canada and the US., including over 300 biosphere reserves (referred to as biosphere reserves in the World Network).