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Environmental conservation group to open office in Alpena

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Courtsey Molly Benson
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Huron Pines
Huron Pines three full-time employees at the new location in Alpena. Pictured (left to right) Emily Vogelgesang, Environmental Education Coordinator; Chris Engle, Communications Associate; and Amy Nowakowski, Coastal Project Manager

Huron Pines, an environmental conservation organization, is opening a coastal office in Alpena this month.  

The organization has helped northeast Michigan with restoration and protection projects out of their Gaylord office for over 45 years. 

Marketing and Development Director, Colby Chilcote said they’ve been discussing plans to open a coastal office for years, and in March 2019, a preserve in Alpena was donated to the group. She said this was one of that factors that prompted the establishment of a new location. 

“I think what we are most excited (for) having an Alpena office is the ability to meet with community members and to meet with partners to become a part of the community in a way that is difficult to do when we are not located there all the time,” Chilcote said. 

She added that recently, coastal communities have been showing a greater demand for help. 

“The quality of the water in Lake Huron is incredibly important to those communities but they don't always have the resources they need to make sure that they’re protecting that water quality," Chilcote said. "One of the things Huron Pines is doing is working with coastal communities to understand their stormwater management system.”

 

Before, group members would have to travel to coastal communinties to do on-the-ground projects. Chilcote said it's important for the group to be within those communities so they can develop relationships and prioritize the right projects. 

"The hope is that it will make us more front and center for the communities that need natural resource protection or restoration work," Chilcote said.

A ribbon cutting and open house for Huron Pines’ new Alpena location is scheduled for Feb. 19.

Tess DeGayner is a student reporter for WCMU News. She is a senior at Central Michigan University studying Journalism and Broadcasting. Her hometown is Fenton, Michigan.