Adam Ziani plans to apply his Environmental Science and Society degree during service with the Northeast Michigan Great Lakes Stewardship Initiative network.

By Brandon Schroeder, Michigan Sea Grant; Tracy D’Augustino, MSU Extension; and Adam Ziani, Huron Pines AmeriCorps member serving NEMIGLSI

Huron Pines AmeriCorps member Adam Ziani stands near a shipwreck on the Pacific Coast. He hopes to translate his Pacific Coast experiences to help inspire Great Lakes explorations among youth in Northeast Michigan.

Huron Pines AmeriCorps member Adam Ziani stands near a shipwreck on the Pacific Coast. He hopes to translate his Pacific Coast experiences to help inspire Great Lakes explorations among youth in Northeast Michigan.

The Northeast Michigan Great Lakes Stewardship Initiative (NEMIGLSI), a place-based stewardship education network and partnership, has gained a new set of helping hands through the Huron Pines AmeriCorps program.

Adam Ziani joins as one of 27 Huron Pines AmeriCorps members serving with conservation stewardship agencies and organizations across Michigan this year. Adam received his Bachelor of Science degree in Interdisciplinary Environmental Science and Society with a concentration in Society from Eastern Michigan University in 2017.

As part of the NEMIGLSI network, Adam will assist in a variety of student watershed studies and fisheries stewardship activities supported by the Great Lakes NOAA B-WET watershed education program. He will help engage youth in a variety of watershed stewardship issues and fisheries-oriented projects that make a difference in communities across northern Michigan. Adam will support several schools and connect community partners with students through these watershed education endeavors.

In collaboration with MSU Extension and Michigan Sea Grant, Huron Pines is a leadership partner to the NEMIGLSI network, and since 2009, they have placed AmeriCorps members each year with the network. These members have been crucial in establishing and expanding this educational network of school and community partners in northeast Michigan communities.

So what do we have to look forward to in Adam’s expertise and service in the coming year? Let’s meet and learn more about Adam in his own words.

What inspired you to pursue a career in environmental or conservation stewardship?

I was born and raised in Ann Arbor, Michigan. I have always loved the outdoors. Ever since I was a kid, I always found myself outside playing games with friends, building forts, collecting frogs and crayfish, and anything else that involved the outdoors. Around age 10, I began annual summer trips to different camp grounds around Michigan. I learned about the beauty and value of the environment. That’s when I realized that my dream job would involve environmental stewardship.

What do you most look forward to in your upcoming service with NEMIGLSI network and partnership?

I look forward to learning about place-based education and stewardship. I always hope to gain some professional skills along with office experience. Mostly I hope to gain experience working with children in an outdoor setting.

Looking forward and after nearly a year of service – what would you like to have accomplished?

I hope to contribute to the overall goal of NEMIGLSI in such a way that they function more effectively and efficiently. I also would like to leave a legacy by creating a lasting group or program for others to build on once my service term is over.

How have your past experiences prepared you for this role and opportunity?

My love for the outdoors has motivated me to explore and learn about Michigan’s coastal environment. Camping every year on Lake Michigan has furthered my thirst for knowledge about how our Great Lakes system functions. That is why I decided to pursue a degree in environment and society while attending Eastern Michigan University. The program involves a blend of the environmental sciences and social studies; which has given me a tailored skill set to contribute to place-based education, which involves a combination of environmental education and community involvement.

What are some of your favorite Great Lakes and natural resources hobbies or memories?

Since I was young, I have been taking an annual summer trip to Lake Michigan recreation area. The campground is a short walk from a beautiful beach with rolling sand dunes. I have been lucky enough to witness glorious sunsets followed by starry skies. I will cherish those memories forever.

What Great Lakes and natural resources experience are you most looking forward to experiencing?

Shipwrecks have always interested me. Lake Huron’s Thunder Bay is known as shipwreck alley which gives me the opportunity to explore and learn about multiple shipwrecks throughout my service term. I also hope to learn about the many different fish species found in the Great Lakes.