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Why CNC is Involved with Research

While the Chippewa Nature Center is not capable of or interested in competing with the research facilities of major universities and research agencies, we can support scientific inquiry on a number of topics, can be of help to researchers, and researchers can be of help to CNC.

Research at CNC can help us understand the ultimate value of our resources. Without scientific study we may miss opportunities to understand and learn lessons that can help in future programming and management of our land.

Research Guidelines

Research that takes place or is done by staff at the Chippewa Nature Center must be approved by the Director of Land and Facilities and be in-line with at least some of the following:

  • It must have potential to improve CNC’s programming.
  • Researchers must provide data and be willing to present this data in a program format.
  • The research must improve and/or help with land management practices and decisions, which in turn enhances CNC programming.
  • To build partnerships with schools, universities and other institutions.
  • To contribute to the broader research world. Research done for broader purposes than CNC’s specific mission must be significant and must be approved by CNC staff.


Anyone doing research at CNC must follow all CNC property rules, research guidelines (including filling out a research application prior to doing research) and must meet CNC research qualifications. The Chippewa Nature Center does have the right to choose who does and does not do research at CNC and has the right to ask any researcher to end their project on CNC lands if they do not fulfill CNC’s requirements and desires.

Types of Natural History Research Currently Taking Place at CNC

CNC Land Inventory

CNC staff with the help of many volunteers have inventoried the fauna and flora found on CNC’s properties and this information has been added to CNC’s database. You can get species lists if you stop by the Visitor Center.

Frog and Toad Surveys

CNC staff have been involved in the Michigan Department of Natural Resource Frog and Toad Survey since 1996.Ten sites, four which are on CNC property, are monitored three times a year to determine diversity and density of frogs and toads at each site. Data is sent to the state to be used in their statewide survey database.

Butterfly Count

CNC staff along with many volunteers have done a butterfly count every July since 1988.The number of species and individuals are recorded.

Deer Harvest

CNC staff has conducted helicopter surveys and deer harvest information to monitor deer densities on the property.

Invasive Exotics

CNC staff has been monitoring which methods for controlling invasive exotics work best but have also done some mapping to determine impacts of its control efforts.

Bird Banding

Mike Bishop, President of the Michigan Bird Banding Association, has helped CNC start its first bird banding program during the summer of 2004. Banding information gathered from this summers work will be used in the national database.

Michigan State University Toxicology Study

CNC has been working with Michigan State University, under the direction of Professor John Giesy, Ph.D., and Professor Matthew J. Zwiernik PhD. to conduct an ecological study on the Tittabawassee River basin. The Dow Chemical Company has provided a grant to MSU to investigate and ultimately quantify the risk of harm posed by polychlorinated dibenzo-p-dioxins (PCDDs and dibenzofurans (PCDFs) and other stressors of concern to wildlife residing within the Tittabawassee river basin. CNC property is only one of six sites included in the study.

Sediment Testing – LTI

LTI Environmental Engineering, a consultant for The Dow Chemical Company, is doing water sampling for total suspended solids in the Chippewa and Tittabawassee rivers. The Chippewa Nature Center has one test site on the Chippewa River and two others are on the Tittabawassee off of CNC’s property.

Ash Disease Study

CNC has been working with University of Michigan, under the direction of Professor John Witter, Ph D. on the ash monitoring project. In this study there will be two monitoring plots on CNC’s land where they will be marking ash trees and then rechecking 3 years from now. This is part of a statewide study to monitor and evaluate the health of ash trees in Michigan’s rural forests.

Monarch Larva Monitoring Project

This project is a cooperative study of monarch egg and larva densities in America. Volunteers will be gathering data once a week during the monarch breeding season at CNC to gain information that can be added to the international efforts to conserve and understand monarchs and their phenomenal annual migration.

USFWS Lamprey Control

The United States Fish and Wildlife Service conducts a sea lamprey treatment program in the Chippewa River and Pine Rivers to help control this invasive exotic species.

If you would like more information about natural history research taking place at CNC or are interested in being involved, contact Tom Lenon at 989-631-0830 or lenon@chippewanaturecenter.org.

Want to know more information about the land management at Chippewa Nature Center?

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