Michigan Tech Shares National Conservation Award

By Jennifer Donovan | Published

Michigan Technological University has received a Two Chiefs Partnership Award from the US Forest Service and the US Department of Agriculture Nature Resources Conservation Service (NRCS), for Project BURN-UP (Biomass Utilization and Restoration Network for the Upper Peninsula).

The Two Chiefs awards recognize outstanding partnerships among conservation districts, state foresters, the Forest Service and NRCS. BURN-UP was one of four recipients of Two Chiefs awards nationwide.

Project BURN-UP is a local partnership comprising Michigan Tech and 16 other organizations, including federal, state and local agencies, as well as private and non-profit partners. It was established to stimulate development of a sustainable woody biomass industry in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula.

"This has been a very productive partnership, and it's nice to see that recognized," said James M. Schmierer Jr., a member of the BURN-UP steering commitee. Schmierer is a forester and lecturer at Michigan Tech's School of Forest Resources and Environmental Science "Our group sees many new opportunities to extend the work we have been doing and build new partnerships to further strengthen Michigan's sustainable biomass energy development," he said.

BURN-UP is working to stimulate development of a sustainable woody biomass industry in the Upper Peninsula in two ways. The partnership is promoting increased use of wood as fuel because of its economic and environmental advantages over non-renewable fossil fuels. BURN-UP also provides public information about the environmental risks of excessive or poorly located biomass harvesting.

During its first phase, BURN-UP sponsored two woody biomass harvesting workshops, conducted an energy system survey of schools in the UP, produced and distributed a fact sheet on heating UP schools with woody biomass and worked on woody biomass harvesting guidelines for the UP.

Michigan Technological University is a public research university, home to more than 7,000 students from 60 countries. Founded in 1885, the University offers more than 120 undergraduate and graduate degree programs in science and technology, engineering, forestry, business and economics, health professions, humanities, mathematics, and social sciences. Our campus in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula overlooks the Keweenaw Waterway and is just a few miles from Lake Superior.