Past Meetings

  • September 13, 2021

    Program: Challenges Migratory Birds Face While Navigating a Changing Landscape

    Presenter: Dr. Jen Owen, Associate Professor, Department of Fisheries and Wildlife, MSU


    In 2018, Dr. Owen initiated and led efforts to repurpose the former MSU Muck Soils Research Farm, into an ecological research center – the Corey Marsh Ecological Research Center or CMERC, which is dedicated to natural resources research, education, and community engagement. Additionally, Owen directs the Michigan State Bird Observatory that runs two long term migratory bird banding stations in mid-Michigan, the Burke Lake and Corey Marsh Banding Stations. She and her students are currently studying how variation in habitat quality and access to adequate food affects a bird’s ability to meet the demands of the migratory period. Additionally, they are dedicated to connecting people of all ages to nature through the wonder and beauty of migratory birds. ?

    Details:  Two-part Program

    Tour:  An on-site tour of the Corey Marsh Ecological Research Center bird banding station where we saw how researchers conduct research on migratory songbirds with opportunities to see the birds in the hand. Bird-banding was demonstrated. Additionally, Dr. Owen shared background on how the former MSU Muck Soils Research Farm became the Corey Marsh Ecological Research Center, and the vision for the center’s future. 

    Dinner/Program: Dr. Owen gave a presentation about her group's research on migratory landbirds that stopover in mid-Michigan to rest and refuel as they journey south to their wintering areas each fall. Migration is an exceptionally challenging period in a bird's annual cycle and the ability to find suitable stopover habitat with adequate food resources is critical for a successful migration. In the fall, native fruits are an important source of nutrition for migratory landbirds; however, native shrubs are increasingly being replaced by non-native and invasive fruit-bearing shrubs. Owen will share what birds eat during migration and insight into what fruit-bearing plants are best for attracting birds to your own backyard.


  • June 7, 2021 ... What Will Agriculture Be Like in 50 Years?

    Our June program was presented by Jack Britt, Professor Emeritus, who Zoomed to us all the way from North Carolina. He is a futurist and scientist, and his talk was about agriculture in the next 50 years, when over 90 per cent of the world's population growth will be in Africa and Asia, and there will be increased demand for foods produced elsewhere. Food production will depend increasingly on natural products and increased scale of production. Precision agriculture, increased management of microbiomes and epigenetics, and gene editing will be utilized strategically to minimize environmental impacts of food production. Farming in the northern hemisphere will move northward, particularly into Canada and Russia.

    Jack had held faculty and administrative positions at Michigan State University, the University of Tennessee and North Carolina State University. He has a Ph.D. in Physiology and Biochemistry from North Carolina State University. He has been invited to speak at over 100 National and International Conferences and has worked in 22 countries.

  • May 3, 2021 ... Teaching Youth to Fish:  A Great Investment in the Future

    A joint program by John Hesse and Mark Stephens

    John Hesse, LAANR member and former adjunct faculty of MSU Department of Fisheries and Wildlife will focus on a youth fishing program that he has led for the past 10 years for kids in the mid-Michigan area.  Mark Stephens is director of Project F.I.S.H. (Friends Involved in Sportfishing Heritage) for the past 23 years in the MSU Department of Fisheries and Wildlife and will discuss this landmark program.  In addition to working with adults, Mark interacts directly with youth in a variety of settings.

    Both John and Mark have a passion for teaching kids about the sport of fishing.  LAANR Club members will enjoy seeing all the smiling faces of youth with whom they work. 

  • April 5, 2021 ... Protecting Our Food Supply & Our Planet

    Mary Kelpinski, the CEO of Michigan Pork Producers Association, will examine how the food chain delivers food from farms to local grocery stores.  Google Trends indicates Concerns about Food are major issues for consumers: Food Availability, Nutrition and Safety. 

    The presentation will review the food supply chain, COVID-19’s impact on the food industry and food safety practices employed to produce nutritious food on the farm and beyond.  For this presentation, pork production will be used to illustrate how the overall food industry operates.  

    At the same time, farmers have made pork one of the leanest, nutrient-rich protein choices available, which was confirmed in 2006 when USDA released its study showing pork tenderloin is as lean as a skinless chicken breast. In 2011, pork tenderloin was also certified by the American Heart Association as a heart-healthy food. 

    Mary Kelpinski is responsible for both consumer education and state public policy initiatives which impact pork producers. Prior to joining MPPA, she was the Director of Industry Relations for the National Dairy Board.

    “My career has been devoted to advocating for animal agriculture. I’ve had the opportunity to work with public policy and with consumers, on behalf of both the dairy industry and the pork industry. I particularly enjoy working with students, consumers and policy experts to help explain how food is produced.”

  • March 1, 2021 ... From William Beal to Wendell Berry - the American Farm in American Culture

    Presented by Bill Castanier. He will explore the impact the American farm has had on our culture over the decades.

    Bill Castanier has spent more than 50 years in public relations, advertising, and the newspaper industry.  He is currently the president of the Historical Society of Greater Lansing. While working in state government he was the first executive director of I-TEAM, the state's private sector information technology trade association.  He also served as deputy director of the State's Sesquicentennial Celebration in 1986 and 1987 which contributed to his great love of history.

    Bill's love of literature led him to writing a literary column for the Lansing City Pulse for the last 20 years where he had interviewed more than 1,000 authors.  He has lectured extensively on Michigan literary history and is on the Library of Michigan Notable Book Selection Committee which is also part of the Michigan Big Read Program.   

  • February 1, 2021 ... FARM STRESS - So You Think You’re Stressed!

    The presentation focused on a Michigan State University outreach educational effort to help farmers deal with stress. Presentation of information was led by a MSU Extension team composed of Roger Betz, Eric Karbowski and Stan Moore.

    A Michigan farm business record & analysis program, Telfarm, provided documentation of financial challenges. Milk prices have been well below breakeven cash flows and profitability since 2015. Adverse weather in 2019 and 2020 with rain bombs in the Spring have led to delayed, and sometimes prevented, planting. The lower 80% of Michigan Dairy farms have each lost in the last 5 years an average of $880,000 in working capital. Financial stress often leads to mental stress.

    Overlaying climatological challenges, market roller-coaster ups & downs, changing government agricultural programs including crop insurance & trade issues; the COVID health challenge that threatens not only our livelihood but our lives ... the number of challenges to our well-being seems to approach infinity.

    Highlighted during this evening program were new MSUE program efforts in both the mental health of families and financial aspects of the family farm business. CLICK HERE for Farm Stress information from MSU Extension.

  • January 4, 2021 ... Our speaker, Frank Telewski, Professor of Plant Biology and Curator of the W. J. Beal Botanical Gardens and Campus Arboretum, talked about “150 Years Later: The Contributions of Professor William James Beal to the World".

    In 1879, Dr. Beal started the study, and it continues to this day in what became one of the longest continuously operating experiments in the world.

    In 1993, Dr.Telewski was the Director of the Buffalo and Erie Botanical Gardens and was hired at MSU as the new director of the W. J. Beal Botanical Gardens. He talked about Dr. Beal, who was born in Adrian, Michigan, the seeds he collected, the plots and the bottles that were buried, and how in the year 2000, the 120th year bottle was unearthed and germinated.

  • December 7 Program ... Bert Cregg, Professor of Horticulture and of Forestry (dual appointment) discussed “Christmas Tree Production in Michigan”. His presentation focused on the current state of the Christmas tree industry in Michigan and the challenges that growers face in raising a conifer seedling to the 8 foot tall Christmas tree in your living room.

    Michigan ranks third in the US in Christmas tree production and Christmas trees are grown in nearly every county in the state.  Michigan’s Christmas tree industry is diverse and ranges from small-scale choose-and-cut operations to some of the largest wholesale producers in the country. Dr. Cregg’s lab conducts research on the physiology and management of trees in landscape, nursery and Christmas tree systems. He holds a doctorate in Forest Resources from the University of Georgia, an M.S. in Forest Science from Oklahoma State University and a B.S. in Forest Management from Washington State University. Prior to joining the faculty at MSU in 1999, Dr. Cregg was a research plant physiologist for the US Forest Service and International Paper.  A native of Olympia, WA, he began his professional career shearing Christmas tree in high school.

  • November 2, 2020 ... Dr. Kelly F. Millenbah, Senior Associate Dean and Director for Academic and Student Affairs in the MSU College of Agriculture and Natural Resources presented a program entitled “Higher Education & Covid 19: Impacts, Action and Lessons Learned.”

    Her presentation focused on how the MSU College of Agriculture and Natural Resources responded to the onset and presence of the novel coronavirus on their teaching, research and outreach/Extension mission.  Information was shared about challenges that were faced during uncertain times while also highlighting success stories that will make the college stronger in the future.

    Dr. Millenbah oversees the academic and student affairs portfolio of the college (including 2-year certificate, undergraduate and graduate programs encompassing approximately 4,800 students) and manages the college’s General Fund account. She is also a Professor in the Department of Fisheries and Wildlife.

  • October 5, 2020 ... Dr. James Averill, VDL Interim Director and Courtney Chapin, Communications Manager for the MSU Veterinary Diagnostic Laboratory presented a program entitled “Inside the MSU Veterinary Diagnostic Laboratory.”  They discussed how this full-service laboratory for all species is helping protect the animals and residents of Michigan. Trusted by veterinarians across the country for core diagnostics, innovative solutions, and expert service, the MSU VDL is a premier laboratory located in Michigan’s capital region.



  • 2nd Monday in September
  • 1st Monday, October through June
  • Some years 2nd Monday in January
  • 6:00 pm Fellowship
  • 6:30 pm Dinner
  • 7:10 - 8:00 pm Program
  • Okemos Masonic Center, 2175 Hamilton Rd, Okemos, MI
Meal Cost $14.00 per person


CLICK HERE to download the membership brochure.