CFAES Give Today
Environmental Professionals Network

School of Environment and Natural Resources


Resilient through Fire

Sep 14, 2021, 7:15am - 9:30am



A photo button with a collection of pictures of EPN September speakers at the podium and students at the registration table


Fire has the power to transform natural and human communities suddenly and overwhelmingly. Though historically suppressed in many ecosystems worldwide, fire is a natural part of the living landscape and advanced restoration programs utilize fire to enhance biodiversity, reduce invasive species, and improve overall ecosystem resiliency.  Increasing evidence shows that Ohio’s native ecosystems (oak-hickory forests, prairies, and peatland) are resilient through fire, though each community recovers and regenerates from fire differently.  

While attention has turned towards recent successes, such as fire treatments helping to restore the formerly endangered Kirtland’s Warbler to Michigan’s Jack Pine forests, some doubts remain among the broader public. Dr. Roger Williams and Jack Mcgowan-Stinksi will show how fire can be used to protect and restore Ohio’s diverse native ecosystems, and how collaboration strategies are expanding the application and adoption of controlled burns across the Great Lakes Region.  

Resiliency through Fire also addresses the transformations and adaptations we are making to continue to connect with one another as environmental and sustainability professionals. To open EPN’s first ever hybrid Breakfast Event (featuring both in-person and live streaming opportunities), Dr. Jeff Sharp and Dr. Elena Irwin will explore how our communities are growing more resilient through the “fire” from the Covid-19 pandemic’s recent health and social tolls and igniting efforts to better protect and enhance our human and natural resources.  

Join this program to reconnect to your network, feel inspired in your work and to grow your knowledge about this leading natural resource topic.  

Program Brochure

EPN September program



For in-person guests  

7:15 a.m. Doors open at Ohio State 4-H Center; Coffee served.  

7:40 a.m. Breakfast buffet served. 

For all program attendees  

8:10 a.m. Jeff Sharp, PhD. (director, School of Environment and Natural Resources) and Elena Irwin, PhD (distinguished professor of Food, Agricultural, and Environmental Sciences in Economics & Sustainability in the Department of Agricultural, Environmental, and Development Economics and faculty director of the Sustainability Institute at Ohio State) provide welcome remarks. 

8:30 a.m. Roger Williams (associate professor, Forest Ecosystem Analysis and Management and affiliated faculty, Sustainability Institute, and the Institute for Chinese Studies) presents innovative approaches to using prescriptive fires to restore Ohio’s native landscapes.  

8:55 a.m. Jack McGowan-Stinski (program manager for the Lake States Fire Science Consortium) presents strategies to take fire applications into communities and recent advances in the process for applying controlled burns during growing seasons, drawing upon collaborations facilitated by the Fire Science Exchange Network.  

9:10 a.m. Moderated Q & A session for both in-person and virtual audiences.  

9:25 a.m. Closing Comments by Dr. Sharp.  


Headshot of EPN September Speaker Elena Irwin

Elena Irwin, PhD is a distinguished professor of Food, Agricultural, and Environmental Sciences in Economics & Sustainability in the Department of Agricultural, Environmental, and Development Economics and faculty director of the Sustainability Institute at The Ohio State University. Her research addresses the sustainability of human-natural systems at local and regional scales, with a focus on land use, ecosystem services, and integrated models of land-water systems. She has been PI or Co-PI on multiple research projects totally over $16 million in funding, including funding from the National Science Foundation, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, and the U.S. Department of Agriculture, as well as private foundations. Dr. Irwin earned an undergraduate degree in German and History from Washington University in St. Louis and her PhD in agricultural and resource economics from the University of Maryland.  

Headshot of EPN September Speaker Roger Williams

Roger A. Williams, PhD is an associate professor of Forest Ecosystem Analysis and Management in the School of Environment and Natural Resources at The Ohio State University and affiliated faculty of the Sustainability Institute at Ohio State and the Institute for Chinese Studies, East Asian Studies Center. His research interests include the use of fire to manage oak forest systems; wildland fire behavior; forest carbon management for climate change mitigation; modeling of forest growth and yield and forest ecosystem processes; quantitative silviculture and forest ecology; forest density management and control; forest stand dynamics and their manipulation; and silviculture systems. He is a member of the North American Colleges and Teachers of Agriculture, Society of American Foresters, the Ohio Chapter of Society of American Foresters, and a former member of the Society of American Foresters, North Louisiana Group. 

Jack McGowan-Stinski

Jack McGowan-Stinski, MS is the Program Manager for the Lake States Fire Science Consortium funded by the Joint Fire Science Program and administered through The Ohio State University. Jack received a B.S. in Wildlife Biology from UW-Stevens Point, and a M.S. in Conservation Biology from Central Michigan University. Jack’s other professional experiences include Fire Manager and Land Steward for The Nature Conservancy, Consultant/ Contractor Burn Boss, and multiple seasonal positions with USFS and State DNR’s.

additional information

This event’s California Continental Breakfast features freshly baked bagels, muffins, cranberry bread, and gluten-free zucchini bread. Yogurt and a fresh fruit salad will also be provided. Fresh Colombian coffee (caffeinated and decaffeinated), hot tea, and assorted fruit juices will be served. Compostable plates, napkins and flatware utilized are made from renewable sources like corn, sugarcane, and potato starch. 

In-person attendance will be limited based upon capacity and current Ohio State safety guidelines. Registration is required for all participants. Please only register for in-person attendance if you fully expect to attend. Masks are required from all event attendees at this event, regardless of one’s vaccination status, in accordance with Ohio State’s Safe and Healthy Protocols as of this date. In-person attendees will be expected to follow Ohio State protocols regarding the prevention of COVID-19 transmission. More health and safety information available on this Personal Safety Practices page. All fees will be refunded if changes in COVID-19 restrictions prevent in-person attendance. 

We strive to host events that are inclusive and accessible to everyone. If you have a disability and require accommodations to fully participate in this activity, please reach out to Cecil Okotah ( Requests made five business days in advance will generally allow us to provide seamless access. However, we will make every effort to meet requests made after this time frame. You will be contacted by someone from our staff to discuss your specific needs. For the virtual audience, a closed captioning option via EPN’s YouTube live stream will be available, as well as other accommodations as requested on the registration.

This program will be recorded, edited, and posted to the EPN YouTube page by September 21, 2021.

Topic Areas: 

EPN Breakfast Series

The Environmental Professionals Network hosts a monthly breakfast series with compelling speakers on important innovative topics at the Nationwide and Ohio Farm Bureau 4-H Center on Ohio State’s campus - open to all!