The Land Makes Us

September 13 - 14, 2017 | MSU Detroit Center 

Presented in partnership with Heart of the Lakes.

The Land Makes Us will showcase how organizations and agencies are creating a lasting legacy of stewardship by fostering relevant and inclusive outdoor opportunities for all. We’ll highlight examples of innovation and programming that invite all people to benefit from access to conservation and open space lands. 

Learn about creative approaches for connecting youth to the outdoors, examples of innovative solutions to ensure open space is useable and accessible, use of technology to reach visitors, and other programs that present new ideas and tools to create a relevant, sustainable, and inclusive future for conservation. 

The Land Makes Us will highlight: 

  • Diversity of opportunity - to better serve the needs of Michigan’s people. 
  • Diversity of engagement - to partner with communities in decision-making and sustainability. 
  • Diversity of the profession - to infuse innovation and excellence in education, and outreach.




Wednesday, September 13

1:00 - 5:00pm Planning for Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion: The What, Why and How

Led by the Avarna Group, this half day workshop will focus on the planning for Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion within your organization. The first three hours, will review the what, why, and how, providing examples and depth to ground attendees in the work. The last hour will be spent zooming in on one particular strategy for which the group is hungry for tactics. This could include tactics related to building equitable partnerships, culturally relevant environmental education curriculum, marketing and communications, recruitment and hiring, inclusive language, the built environment of public spaces and offices, and building bridges across value divides. (Note: A pre-session poll will determine which topic is focused on.)

Thursday, September 14

9:30 - 10:00am Registration 

10:00 - 10:15am Welcome and Introductions

  • Jonathan Jarosz, Heart of the Lakes
  • Ann Conklin, mParks

10:15 - 10:45am Opening Plenary

  • Gayle Hazelwood - National Park Service

10:45 - 11:30am Park Conservancies Showcase

Facilitated by Rob Aldrich, Land Trust Alliance 

  • Belle Isle Conservancy: Michelle Hodges (Invited)
  • Scout's Hollow: Garret Dempsey - Sierra Club
  • Chandler Park Conservancy (Invited)
  • Ralph Bunche Summer Institute: Athena Zissis - National Park Service

11:30 - 12:15pm Metro Detroit Nature Network Showcase

Facilitated by Marc Miller, Michigan Department of Natural Resources

  • Career Pipelines
  • Urban Bird Treaty: Tom Schneider - Detroit Zoo
  • Park Inventory: Tyler Kilfman - SEMCOG

12:15 - 12:45pm Lunch

12:45 - 11:15 pm The Danger of Single Story

The Avarna Group

1:15 - 2:00pm Stories of Identity

Panel discussion highlighting the multiple narratives and connections people with different identities have to land and water and the conservation sector. Panelists may not necessarily be people of color but may represent other marginalized identities (sexual orientation, gender identity, class, etc.)

  • Frank Aiello – Affirmations
  • Gayle Hazelwood – National Park Service (retired)
  • Paco Ollervides – River Network
  • Jerry Jondreau – Michigan Technological University

2:00 - 2:15pm Break

2:15 - 3:30pm Community Based Conservation in Detroit

Guided by Sandra Turner-Handy, Michigan Environmental Council

3:30 - 4:00pm City of Detroit: City of Parks

  • Bradley Dick – City of Detroit: General Services Director