Beaver and Stream Restoration: Don’t Believe Everything You Think

The North American beaver is a keystone species whose activities promote ecological biodiversity across the landscape. The beaver’s role on the landscape has changed over time ranging from economic driver to a nuisance species.  The presentation will discuss new ways of thinking about stream restoration using beaver to restore water quality to streams in the bay watershed and how to manage human and beaver conflicts. Our speakers will highlight an approach and philosophy to restoration that is nature based and relies on ecological principles rather than engineering to achieve water quality and habitat goals. This will be followed by an interactive presentation showcasing a recently developed beaver curriculum geared toward middle and high school students.

Speakers:Scott McGill Founder and CEO of Ecotone Inc, and Hema Bhaskaran Environmental Science teacher from James M. Bennett High School.

Ecotone, Inc. is a design-build ecological restoration company located in Forest Hill, MD. Scott has over 30 years of applied experience in both design and construction of ecological restoration projects throughout the United States. He is a thought leader in the field of ecological restoration and has brought many new ideas and methods into the mainstream, including the use of native materials and the North American beaver, to drive ecological and water quality outcomes.  His “less is more” approach to environmental restoration, using nature to restore nature, which incorporates conservation biology and adaptive management, provides an innovative model for sustainable, cost-effective ecological restoration.

Hemalatha “Hema” Bhaskaran has been teaching at James M. Bennett High School since 2004.  In her 15-plus years as an educator, she has taught biology, chemistry, environmental science, and advanced placement environmental science from freshmen to senior. She is passionate about providing meaningful educational experiences for all her students. Her goal is to close the experience and opportunity gaps by developing 21st-century skills through real-world scientific exploration and problem solving. As an educator, Hema has always empowered her students to find solutions to environmental issues and provide them platforms to showcase their solutions. Hema promotes diversity beyond the classroom through leadership of her school’s solutions for multicultural achievement and recognition team. She engages in collaborative leadership by serving on her school’s instructional leadership team, the Youth Environmental Action Summit’s steering committee, and statewide teacher environmental literacy leadership.

For more information on Maryland Department of Natural Resources professional development webinars please visit our webpage.

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