Year End Review – 2019

Thank you Nature Change viewers! Thanks for your support, time and attention throughout this very busy year!

In 2019, Nature Change stories highlighted efforts to: capture carbon from the atmosphere, contain the spread of invasive species that kill native trees, and protect and improve ecological resources in Northwest Lower Michigan. We also got to meet some very engaging people who help manage, preserve and restore the region’s natural resources.

Topping the list of most viewed stories for 2019 is a mini-documentary on human health and environmental quality challenges presented by aging and failing septic systems. Titled, Flushing the Future, this 15-minute video explains how septic systems are supposed to work, the maintenance required to keep them working properly, and what happens when owners fail to take care of their private waste management systems.

A Nature Change “Witness” interview is the second most viewed video for 2019. This short segment introduces viewers to Eric Hemenway, the historian for the Little Traverse Bands of Odawa Indians in Harbor Springs. In this short video, Hemenway helps viewers better understand the historical significance of the region’s natural resources for his people and for all of us.

Stopping a Tree Killer is a short documentary about a partnership of organizations working to contain the spread of a new invasive insect that kills hemlock trees and is the third most frequently viewed Nature Change video in 2019. The Northwest Michigan Invasive Species Network is working with the Michigan Department of Natural Resources and The Nature Conservancy scouring the woods and tromping through the snow to search for these tiny aphid-like creatures. This documentary also helps viewers recognize and fight this invader.

The next most viewed story concerns the assisted recovery and migration of an iconic tree species, the American chestnut tree. In this brief video titled, New Chestnut Trees for Northern Michigan, District Forester Kama Ross talks with microbiologist, Dr. Medina Mora. Mora is a researcher working with the Sakalidis Laboratory at Michigan State University. Mora describes and illustrates some of the efforts being made by forest pathologists to identify disease resistant strains of chestnut trees and new methods for propagating large numbers of tree seedlings.

Carbon Capture in Forest Soils is another very popular short video that explores some of the research helping to reveal the complexity and importance of forest soils. In this video, forest ecology researcher, Dr. Luke Nave (University of Michigan Biological Station) describes recently completed research to quantify the amount of carbon captured from the atmosphere by areas of reforestation throughout the United States. Nave says the reforestation currently underway is critically important to the atmospheric carbon budget. In fact just a little more effort could lead to a much greater amount of carbon captured and sequestered in these areas.

The place-based education work being conducted by the Grand Traverse Stewardship Network (GTSI) is highlighted in the sixth most popular video on Nature Change in 2019. The short documentary titled, Watching the Forest at Woodland School, describes an educational effort engaging young science students in directly observing changes in forest ecology. GTSI and Woodland School worked together to engage students in hands-on learning by creating an arboretum, selecting climate-resilient tree species to plant and participating in a long-term monitoring plan. A key component of the forest monitoring plan is participating the Eyes on the Forest Project developed by the Department of Entomology at Michigan State University.

The next most frequently viewed story published by Nature Change in 2019 is a special “explainer” video, using an animated video illustration technique to help us better understand Water and The Public Trust. This is a very engaging quick lesson in who owns the water.

Rounding out the top ten most frequently viewed stories on Nature Change are three short videos, including: Learning and Working Together, that us to the Leelanau Conservancy’s DeYoung Natural Area; Keeping the Count, which introduces us to Richard Couse of the Mackinac Straits Raptor Watch; and, a short interview with Rob Karner, the Watershed Biologist for the Glen Lake Association.




Honorable mentions are given to the seven mini-documentaries prepared by teams of young citizen scientists under the direction of the award-winning science teacher Ms. Tara DenHerder, Traverse City Area Public Schools. These videos address a broad range of questions about how climate change may be altering the region’s natural resources.

Thanks again to all our Nature Change supporters! We look forward to providing some very engaging stories in 2020!




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