CLS: Environmental Sustainability

Gain a better understanding of climate change, Lake Erie and more in this week’s lectures. This week’s Environmental Sustainability programming is generously supported by the Dale and Tina Knobel Endowment. 


“The Maumee River”
10:30 a.m.-12 p.m., Monday, Aug. 8 | Orchestra Hall 

Lake sturgeon (Acipenser fulvescens) were once common throughout the Laurentian Great Lakes however, overfishing and habitat degradation extirpated lake sturgeon from many areas. The Maumee River, located in western Lake Erie, once supported large runs of lake sturgeon, which are currently considered functionally extirpated from this system. In an effort to delist this endangered species in the State of Ohio and throughout the Lake Erie basin, a plan has been developed to assess feasibility of reintroducing lake sturgeon in the Maumee River.  The project is a multi-agency, binational collaborative with a goal of creating a self-sustaining lake sturgeon population of 1,500 adults through 20-25 years of stocking. Since 2018, nearly 7,000 fall fingerling lake sturgeon have been stocked into the Maumee River, this work provides a basis for continued research and strategies to restore lake sturgeon populations in Lake Erie and throughout their native range.

Justin Chiotti (phonetically: Shy-it) is a fisheries biologist for the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service Alpena Fish & Wildlife Conservation Office – Detroit River Substation. For the past 11 years, he has conducted fisheries assessments on Lakes Huron and Erie, while focusing on the St. Clair – Detroit River System and western Lake Erie. His area of focus is lake sturgeon biology and management; however, he is also involved with habitat restoration efforts, evaluating fish passage projects, and cold-water fish work in Lake Erie. Chiotti earned his master’s degree in biological sciences at Michigan Technological University studying lake sturgeon. His undergraduate work was completed at Michigan State University where he received a bachelor’s degree in fish and wildlife. He has worked as a tribal fisheries biologist for the Little River Band of Ottawa Indians in Manistee, Michigan and at Cornell University studying cold-water fish in Adirondack streams and lakes.


“Creating & Implementing a Just Transition to Community-Wide Carbon Neutrality”
10:30 a.m.-12 p.m., Tuesday, Aug. 9 | Orchestra Hall 

Learn about activities unfolding in the City of Ann Arbor, Michigan to achieve the City’s goal of a just transition to community-wide carbon neutrality by the year 2030. Learn about public engagement, renewable energy deployments, collaboration building, innovative financing and more.

“Equitably Decarbonizing the Bryant Neighborhood in Ann Arbor”
3:30-5 p.m., Tuesday, Aug. 9 | Orchestra Hall 

This interactive session will explore efforts underway in the City of Ann Arbor to create the nation’s first fully decarbonized existing neighborhood. The presentation will outline community engagement activities, technical work, fundraising approaches, and more.

Dr. Missy Stults is the Sustainability & Innovations Director for the City of Ann Arbor. In this role, she works with all city operations, residents, businesses, the University of Michigan, nonprofits and others to achieve a just transition to community-wide carbon neutrality by 2030, as outlined in the A2ZERO Carbon Neutrality Plan. Prior to joining the City, Stults worked with cities and tribal communities around the nation to advance their climate and sustainability goals, including during her time as the Climate Director at ICLEI-Local Governments for Sustainability and as a consultant to philanthropic organizations. Stults has a PhD in urban resilience from the University of Michigan, a masters in climate and society from Columbia University, and undergraduate degrees in marine biology and environmental science from the University of New England.


“Plastic Pollution in the Great Lakes”
10:30 a.m.-12 p.m., Wednesday, Aug. 10 | Orchestra Hall 

The United Nations ranks plastic pollution as the second most dangerous threat to the global environment, only behind climate change. Plastic was designed to be durable and last a long time, so single-use plastics are by nature irresponsible and unsustainable. Nearly half of the 300 million tons of plastics produced each year are only used a few short minutes before they are tossed away into our lakes, oceans, and landfills to sit for hundreds of years.

In terms of plastic abundance, Lake Erie, the smallest Great Lake, has the second highest number of plastic particles out of all the Great Lakes, and one of the highest concentrations of microplastics in the world. Most people don’t realize that Lake Erie has as much plastic, and even more in some cases, than the huge garbage patches reported in the oceans. Because of its rough waters and location near multiple cities, these plastics are broken down into microplastics, which are almost impossible to filter out of the water. These microplastics can disrupt natural food webs and even reduce the quality, size, and reproductive capabilities of the local fish we eat.

After finishing studies at Ohio State Universities’ School for Film, Peter Huston attended Boston University where he received his degree in broadcasting and film from the School of Public Communication (SPC’81). In 1992, Huston co-produced “WorldScape,” a 13-part PBS series hosted by Walter Cronkite featuring maritime historical painter John Stobart. In 1993, Huston and two partners established Emotion Pictures and created the award-winning series “The Visionaries” hosted by Sam Waterston.

In 2010, Huston established FilmAffects to pursue documentary and factual program production. His current project is “Glass Ceiling-The Victoria Woodhull Story”. Huston also directed the EMMY nominated documentaries “Battle of Lake Erie Bicentennial” and “Trail Magic, The Grandma Gatewood Story”. As Director and Senior Producer Huston has continued to produce programming for PBS, Hallmark, Odyssey and Home & Garden, and has co-produced a feature film and continues to do scores of corporate and educational projects. He was honored as Put-in-Bay Islander of the Year, is the Past-President of the Put-in-Bay Arts Council, Past-Chairman of the Planning Board, and Director of the bicentennial celebration for The Perry Group (Friends of Perry’s Victory and International Peace Memorial). He is on the board of directors at the Lake Erie Island Historical Society, Past-President of the Ottawa County Visitors Bureau, board member of Lake Erie Shores & Island, and he was Director of the Put-in-Bay Chamber of Commerce and is now the Project Manager for Great Lakes Islands Alliance. To learn more, visit


“Dark Matters”
10:30 a.m.-12 p.m., Friday, Aug. 12 | Orchestra Hall 

Plants and animals need dark skies. They rely on natural light cues for navigation, timing of major life events, and protection. Carrie Elvey teaches how you can help keep the skies dark for wildlife in this lecture.

Elvey is Senior Naturalist at the Wilderness Center (TWC). For over 50 years, TWC has been providing science-based, entertaining, and educational programs for groups of all ages. In 2014, OAKS Life-Long Learning Program became the official home of adult programming at TWC conducting a wide range of programs for various organizations. Elvey is especially passionate about connecting adults to the amazing natural history stories happening in their own backyards and reconnecting them with the joys of childhood nature discovery.

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Aug 08 - 12, 2022



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