Graduated from UM Magna Cum Laude/High Distinction; earned the Angell Scholar Award (All A grades for 5 consecutive semesters); won the Nanette LaCross Prize; earned the William J. Branstrom Prize; awarded UM Excellence in Sustainability; received the Circle K Distinguished Editor & Distinguished Newsletter Awards.
Kellee Byard graduated Magna Cum Laude - with High Distinction - for her 3.94 GPA from the University of Michigan-Ann Arbor and earned the James Angell Scholar Award for five consecutive semesters of all A grades. She also won the UM Matthaei Garden's Nanette LaCross Prize her senior year: "The LaCross Prize honors the student who best exemplifies the spirit of Nanette LaCross who as a lawyer worked tirelessly for women’s rights, animal welfare, and many other environmental concerns." She earned the William J. Branstrom Freshman Prize for being in the top five percent academically of the freshman class. Kellee majored in Program in the Environment, specializing in Conservation Biology. She is employed by the City of Ann Arbor as its Urban Forester, managing the city's forests, planning events for Earth Day, and publishing information for the public. She worked as an Academic Peer Advisor in the UM PiTe Advising Office. Kellee was the elected Public Relations Chair on the Executive Board for UM’s Circle K International Service Organization. As the Circle K Bulletin Editor/graphic designer at UM, she earned the Distinguished Editor Award and Distinguished Newsletter Award for the Michigan District as well as the Bronze Presidential Service Award. During her time at UM, she studied at its Rocky Mountain Field Station Camp Davis in Wyoming, interned at the Natural Areas Academy at UM Matthaei Botanical Gardens and Nichols Arboretum, and volunteered at the James River State Park in Virginia and the Ndkinna Native American Education Center in New York. She was recognized her senior year by UM for Excellence In Sustainability. In her spare time, she is a personal and professional artist. With her degree, she plans on working in the environmental field - as a Botanist/Arborist, Community Environmental Educator, or for the U.S. Forestry Service, U.S. Wildlife Service, or a state DNR.
I have an enduring passion for the outdoors and its health, and that is why I am an environmentalist, dedicating myself to fieldwork, conservation, and stewardship.
Currently, I am an Urban Forestry Technician for the city of Ann Arbor. In this role, I focus on urban woodlands for environmental factors but also for the enjoyment of the city residents. Further, effective woodlands can reduce energy costs as they cool areas throughout the city. Also, woodlands provide ample habitats for various wildlife. Some of my responsibilities include prepping planting and removal sites for trees. I also inspect trees and natural areas for insects, diseases, and any damage that might diminish the quality of tree health. I look for safety issues trees may cause to residents. I also must educate the public. To that end, I develop activities and publish materials for Arbor Day as as well as other needed information. I also coordinate with private landowners throughout Ann Arbor who nominate trees on their property for the city's Champion Tree program. My course work in woody plants and restoration ecology, among others, have proved quite useful as well as my experience with invasive species at UM's Matthaei Botanical Gardens.
I graduated with High Distinction from the University of Michigan with a Bachelor of Science in the Program in the Environment (PitE ). Over my college career, I have been devoted to gaining environment-related knowledge and experience. I interned at the UM Matthaei Botanical Garden’s Nature Academy, immersing myself in meaningful work in its Natural Areas. It recently awarded me its Nanette LaCross Student Prize. I spent another summer at UM’s life-changing Camp Davis in Wyoming. This past summer was devoted to Brines’s Farm, a diversified vegetable, fruit, and nut farm operation, and tree & shrub nursery. At UM, I was employed as a peer advisor for PitE, assisting new and prospective students. Further, I was the elected Public Relations Committee Chair for the service group Circle K as well as its Bulletin Editor. In this position, I designed various event and marketing materials, branding materials, published its online newsletter, created podcasts, and oversaw its social media. These experiences have developed within me devotion, curiosity, a strong work ethic, knowledge, and a diversity of skills.
As a PitE student, I grew intellectually. I completed a course at the UM Rocky Mountain Field Station, Camp Davis, conducting fieldwork in Wyoming’s Grand Tetons, Yellowstone Park, and surrounding areas. I also completed a Restoration Ecology course that exposed me to more field techniques, such as macroinvertebrate monitoring in native Michigan ecosystems and developing management plans. The course taught me the important multidisciplinary approaches between environmental science and the social implications involved with conservation and restoration. Further, I completed a GIS course and gained incredibly useful knowledge and skills in manipulating spatial data and using it for georeferencing, using LiDAR data, and much more. Additionally, as an intern for the Nature Academy at MBGNA, I spent hundreds of hours in the field conducting invasive species removal, identifying native and non-native plants, and completing restoration projects. I worked eight hours each day in the spring and summer with my team members, ultimately developing the most efficient and effective methods to eradicate invasive species through collaboration. I also am adept at identifying different species of plants and always endeavoring to learn more. My internship led to my proficiency in many skill areas like the use of power tools, spraying of pesticides, and maneuvering off-road vehicles.
Further, I gained experience in data collection from an independent project. For years, Matthaei has had an indigenous seed garden. I was curious as to their viability. So, for my study, I measured seed viability and vigor of a rare Native American corn variety, gaining skills and developing useful knowledge about the future uses of this seed.
As a PitE peer advisor and Public Relations committee chair for Circle K, I was an effective and enthusiastic communicator, leader, and planner. I conveyed information to PitE students requiring assistance in building schedules and knowledge of opportunities and resources. In both positions, I employed my considerable art and writing skills to create email campaigns, weekly newsletters, advertisements, and various communications, including social media. I have advanced skill in Microsoft suite as well as Photoshop. For Circle K, I also assisted in planning numerous events.
All of these experiences have shaped me into a passionate, dedicated, hard working, and skilled team member and enthusiastic leader who looks forward to a fulfilling environmental career in which I can care for the planet.
To get a fuller idea of Kellee's experiences and accomplishments, please click on the box below. Thank you.
Kellee graduated Summa Cum Laude -High Distinction - from UM for earning a 3.95 GPA.
With a 3.94 GPA, Kellee graduated UM with High Distinction/Magna Cum Laude with a Bachelor of Science December 2020
Kellee received the James Angell Scholar Award for achieving an “A” record for two or more consecutive terms at UM
She earned the William J. Branstrom Freshman Prize for being in the top five percent academically freshman year at UM
The Nanette LaCross prize recognizes past, current, or proposed work by students in SEAS or PitE who link their studies with the Matthaei Botanical Gardens and Nichols Arboretum in some way. The LaCross Prize honors the student who best exemplifies the spirit of Nanette LaCross, who as a lawyer worked tirelessly for women's rights, animal welfare, and many other environmental concerns.
As the UM Circle K Bulletin Editor, Kellee earned the Distinguished Editor Award for the Michigan District
Kellee earned the UM Circle K Distinguished Newsletter Award for the Michigan District
Interned at UM's Natural Areas at Matthaei Botanical Gardens and Nichols Arboretum, continuing to develop knowledge of the environment and conservation.
Kellee studied at UM's Rocky Mountain Field Station Camp Davis In Wyoming: Biology, Ecology, Wildlife, and more
She is the academic Peer Advisor for UM Program in the Environment Advising Office
Worked for Brines Farm, a vegetable, fruit, and nut growing operation and tree and shrub nursery
Kellee volunteered at James River State Park in Virginia maintaining trails, eradicating invasive species, and more
Kellee studied and volunteered at Native American Justice and Education at the Ndakinna Educational Center in New York
She conducted research at the Indigenous Seed Garden at UM's Matthaei Botanical Gardens; evaluated seed viability and vigor; and managed social media group to update indigenous people across North America
Elected Public Relations Chair for International Service Organization Circle K at UM
Elected Executive Board Member of UM's Circle K club
Environmental Committee Member at Circle K at UM. Received the Distinguished Committee Chair Award
Kellee was the Bulletin Editor of Circle K at UM. She won Distinguished Bulletin Editor and Distinguished Newsletter. She is highly skilled in Photoshop and Microsoft Suite.
Earned Varsity Academic Award and Scholar of Highest Distinction (4.0 GPA or Higher) Award. Scholar Athlete Award for four years. Saginaw Valley Conference All Academic Team. AP Scholar of Honor. Artwork featured in MI Youth Arts Festival. School record in track and field. District-winning softball team. United Nations Pilgrimage: https://thecountypress.mihomepaper.com/articles/local-students-compete-in-odd-fellows-program-for-opportunity-to-go-on-pilgrimage-to-un-in-nyc/.
Attorney Kevin Sutton of Lusk & Albertson in Detroit awarded Kellee the firm’s LAunch Scholarship for the 2016-17 school year. Winners of the LAunch Scholarship demonstrate high academic achievement, significant community involvement, and a personal commitment to excellence. Among others, Kellee earned a generous award from the Surfers' Environmental Alliance: https://www.seasurfer.org/