Fuzzy Bundles of Hope

LSSU Piping Plovers

Lake Superior State University student Michelle Kane cradles a two-week-old piping plover after it’s been banded, weighed, and a tiny fluff of down collected for genetic analysis. Kane and another LSSU student, Gislaine “Gessie” Peters (green shirt), have been monitoring three nests of the endangered shorebird near Grand Marias, Mich., since May.

On June 27, a banding crew from the Great Lakes Piping Plover Recovery Project, operating out of the University of Michigan Biological Station – including Stephanie Schubel (in blue), and Jordan Rutter (in distance), – joined them to catch, band, and release four hatchlings from one nest. Peters’ cousin, 10-year-old Anastacia Head (right, purple shirt), from New Baltimore, Mich., helped coral the chicks.

A 30-year conservation effort on the Great Lakes has swelled piping plover numbers from just 12-17 pairs in the mid 1980s to 70 nesting pairs in 2014. Run a Web search on “GLPIPL” to read about the ongoing program. Kane is from Warren, Mich.; Peters, from Casco, Mich. Both are seniors in fisheries and wildlife management with minors in geographic information systems (GIS). A YouTube search “LSSU Plovers” lands on video that shows catching and banding the birds. Run a Web search on “discover LSSU” to customize a program of study at Lake State.