Mary Stewart Adams is a Star Lore Historian and host of the weekly public radio program and podcast “The Storyteller’s Night Sky” and author of the richly illustrated book The Star Tales of Mother Goose ~ For Those Who Seek the Secret Language of the Stars. Through her research in spiritual science and her education in literary arts, Mary has developed a unique, humanities-based approach to understanding our relationship with the stars. Her work is further augmented by an extensive knowledge of ancient mythologies and fairy tales, which she relates to the research and ideas borne of contemporary culture, in order to keep the human being at the center of our thoughts and ideas regarding the cosmos. As a global advocate for starry skies, Mary led the team that established the 9th International Dark Sky Park in the world in 2011 at the Headlands in Mackinaw City, which later led to the state of Michigan protecting 35,000 acres of state land for its natural darkness. Mary has traveled extensively in fulfillment of her mission to safeguard the human imagination by protecting our access to the night sky and its stories, and has received numerous honors for her work.
Janet served as director of the Center for Invasive Plant Management at Montana State University for nine years before switching directions and moving to the coast of Washington to work as a grant writer for the natural resources department of the Quinault Indian Nation. Salmon, old-growth forests, marine biodiversity, and coastal climate change were her focus. She was especially gratified to help the Quinault Indian Nation produce its first ethnobotany book. But after a rainy four-year coastal interlude, Janet was ready to return to the mountains of Montana. Today she is the administrator for Headwaters Economics – a Bozeman-based nonprofit organization that works with community development and land management issues, particularly those related to climate change and public lands. Peeking at retirement just over the horizon, Janet looks forward to spending more time with grandkids in Colorado and Tennessee, learning more about medicinal plants, and traveling around the West with her husband in their trusty camper.
James E. Crowfoot is Professor Emeritus of the U-M Natural Resources & Environment and Urban and Regional Planning Program (1972–1994)— a dual degree program with the U-M A. Alfred Taubman College of Architecture and Urban Planning (Taubman College), and the U-M School for Environment and Sustainability (SNRE). He is also Dean Emeritus of the U-M SNRE (1982–1990), and was President of Antioch College (1994–1996). Prior to retirement, his work focused on processes of organizational and social change related to socio-environmental problems and social justice.
He joined the School for Environment and Sustainability in 1972 as an assistant professor of natural resources and urban and regional planning. He was promoted to associate professor in 1975 and professor in 1981. Professor Crowfoot served as Dean of the School for Environment and Sustainability from 1983-90, guiding it through a challenging period of change and reorganization. During that period, he oversaw the design and implementation of major curriculum changes at all degree levels and presided over a budget reduction and downsizing of the school. He also established a new research division and fundraising program.
From 1989 until his retirement, Professor Crowfoot was director of the Pew Scholars Program in Conservation and the Environment. He was also a co-founder and active participant in the Program in Conflict Management Alternatives. In addition, Professor Crowfoot represented the School for Environment and Sustainability on numerous University-wide committees and served in a great many capacities within the school. Professor Crowfoot’s teaching and research centered on conflict management in environmental and other social-change organizations; environmental education; and social inequities and justice.
In 1998, Crowfoot returned to the U of M as an Adjunct Professor in the then new and now continuing Undergraduate Program in the Environment and in the interdisciplinary academic U of M living learning program that includes community service. This now ongoing Michigan Community Scholars Program is where he taught seminars focused on the challenges of unsustainability from both a scientific and spiritual perspective. He taught part time in this program from 1998-2014.
Since 1998, Jim and his wife Ruth have lived in Sunward Cohousing Community, an intentional community that reflects many of their core values and social practices.
Stephen Packard has worked for four decades to develop the practice and popular understanding of ecological restoration and biodiversity conservation. He was Director of Science and Stewardship for the Illinois Nature Conservancy (1983-1999) and Founding Director of Audubon Chicago Region (1999-2014). He taught at Northwestern University (2008-2013). He was the primary initiator of the Chicago Region Biodiversity Council (Chicago Wilderness) – now a globally respected collaboration of more than 200 national and local conservation-minded agencies. He collaborates with and counsels a wide variety of efforts to conserve biodiversity through good land stewardship and building constituency through “conservation communities” in which people and nature can re-establish mutually nourishing relationships in a changing world.
Packard initiated and helped to plan and implement many of Illinois’ larger ecological restoration projects including Bartel Grassland (750 acres), Orland Grassland (960 acres), Nachusa Grasslands (4,000 acres), and the restoration of the North Branch, Poplar Creek, Deer Grove, and Spring Creek Forest Preserves. He has extensive experience in the restoration of prairies, savannas, and oak woodlands. His work on the oak ecosystems has led to new insights that have clarified ideas about the composition and dynamics of these vanishing rare communities. Some have referred to this work in the 1980s as the “rediscovery” of this ecosystem.
At the Nature Conservancy and later with Audubon, he initiated and guided the Volunteer Stewardship Network. With thousands of volunteers working at hundreds of sites, this new approach served as models for the creation of similar projects by many agencies in other parts of the United States and internationally. With William Freyman and Linda Masters, he published the Universal Floristic Quality Assessment (FQA) Calculator: an online tool for ecological assessment and monitoring.
He helped assemble and was a founding board member of the Society for Ecological Restoration, which now has members throughout the world and is the pre-eminent organization in this flourishing new field. He helped design and initiate the Mighty Acorns (youth stewardship program), Friends of the Forest Preserves, Chicago Wilderness Magazine, and Friends of Illinois Nature Preserves. He is a national Honorary Director of “Wild Ones: native plants, natural landscapes.”