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).
The USBN Youth Board launched the Emerging Leaders Workshop series in November 2021. The professional development-focused workshop series is designed to provide youth participants throughout the network with skills and knowledge relevant to managing a biosphere region. The first workshop featured grant writing experts Dr. Rebecca Pollock, Executive Director of the UNESCO Georgian Bay Mnidoo Gamii Biosphere Reserve (CANADA); Dr. Eric Holmlund, Director of Graduate Studies and Professor of Environmental Studies in the Department of Environment and Society at Paul Smith’s College (USA); and Colleen Hickey, Education and Outreach Coordinator, Lake Champlain Basin Program (USA) for a dynamic and informative discussion about the secrets of great grant writing.
We are thrilled to showcase our new USBN logo in this newsletter. The logo is a big step forward in creating a unified USBN presence both online and in print.
Many thanks to Westerly Creative Studio for their thoughtful design work and collaboration with the USBN Steering Committee and Communications Committee in creating this logo with symbolism representing the various facets of our work.
In April, the Commission for Environmental Cooperation awarded a 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, will provide stipends to four interns selected from Indigenous and local rural communities within four biosphere regions.
International recognition and local engagement is giving voice to people and organizations on a new landscape in the Obtawaing Biosphere Region (OBR). In late 2021, the international Man and the Biosphere Program accepted the OBR’s request for a new name (formerly University of Michigan Biological Station) and expanded boundary. The OBR now includes portions of Michigan’s northern Lower Peninsula and eastern Upper Peninsula at the confluence of Lakes Michigan, Huron and Superior.