CMU Biosphere Reserve and Bat Week

For Friday, Oct. 29, 2021

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Officials say a newly designated Biosphere Reserve places Central Michigan University on an elite list of international sites dedicated to the study of sustainable development.

The United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization, also known as UNESCO, has formally established the reserve in Northern Michigan after three years of review and planning. 

It encompasses CMU’s Biological Station on Beaver Island.

Biology faculty member and Institute for Great Lakes Research Director Don Uzarski says the designation gives CMU world recognition and opportunities for collaboration, funding, research and more.

UNESCO is the same organization that identifies World Heritage Sites for protection, including Yellowstone National Park, China’s Great Wall and Australia’s Great Barrier Reef. 

The new Obtawaing reserve includes several parcels totaling about 96 square miles, surrounded by buffer zones comprising 11 counties roughly centered on the Straits of Mackinac.

Being in or near the reserve doesn’t restrict human activity. Instead, it’s an area for study, focused on sustainability, culture and human reliance on natural systems — such as how coastal wetlands clean water entering the Great Lakes.

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This week, the week leading up to Halloween, is Bat Week.

Credit: Vlad Kutepov/Unsplash

It’s an international celebration of bats. Michigan is home to nine species of bats, all of which eat insects that include mosquitoes, beetles, moths and flies. 

The state Department of Natural Resources works with partners to conserve bats and their habitat. 

Many bat species are in decline. 

White-nose syndrome is a culprit. 

The deadly disease affects North American bats. It causes them to awaken prematurely from hibernation, deplete their fat reserves and become unable to survive the winter. 

Learn more about bats and ways to help protect them at BatWeek.org

– Mr. Great Lakes is heard Friday mornings in Bay City, Michigan, on Delta College Public Radio 90.1 FM (listen). Follow @jeffkart on Twitter #MrGreatLakes

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