Knute Nadelhoffer, director of the University of Michigan’s Biological Station (UMBS) and professor of ecology and evolutionary biology, believes in translating science beyond the academy.
Drawing from nearly 40 years of experience studying the impacts of climate change and other physical disturbances on ecosystem stability, he recently brought his expertise to the nation’s capital in hopes of affecting informed policy change.
Nadelhoffer planned his trip around the Association of Ecosystem Research Centers’ annual meeting in Washington, DC. As in previous years, he worked with the University of Michigan’s Government Relations Office in DC and the American Institute of Biological Sciences to schedule meetings. This year he visited five Michigan Congressional offices, including personal meetings with Senator Gary Peters (D-MI) and Congressman Jack Bergman (R-MI 1st District). Nadelhoffer also met with staff members of Congresswoman Debbie Dingell (MI 12th District), Senator Debbie Stabenow (D-MI), and Congressman John Moolenaar (R-MI 4th District). Leveraging his record of leadership in ecosystem dynamics, he asked them to support science (including climate science), sustain the Great Lakes Restoration Initiative, and protect the Thunder Bay Marine Reserve in Lake Huron—our nation's only freshwater reserve.
Nadelhoffer expressed guarded optimism for the future of environmental policy on the state and national stages, citing Congressman Bergman’s participation on the bi-partisan Climate Solutions Caucus as a sign that more of our representatives and senators may be starting to reach across party lines to address the climate crisis.
In order to showcase the precious natural resources and important research happening in our own home state, Nadelhoffer invited the senators and representatives to visit UMBS this summer when the field station is operating full-throttle. Both Congressman Bergman (who represents Michigan’s 1st Congressional district in which the field station is located) and Senator Peters expressed interest in visiting the station. Senator Stabenow’s office has indicated she is hoping to visit as well during the coming year.