Author:Justin Heslinga, Stewardship Director

4 Eerie parasitic plants and where to find them

Happy Halloween! It’s that special time of year when we spend unusual amounts of time thinking about ghosts, goblins, skeletons, spiders, and creepy things in general.  We here at the Land Conservancy are no exception: Lately I’ve been thinking about parasites.  What’s a parasite, exactly?  In short, it’s a creature that lives on or in another organism, on which it feeds.  Lampreys, leeches,...

Habitat Profile: Oak Savanna

Oak savannas (sometimes called oak barrens or oak openings) are transitional habitats between tallgrass prairies and oak forests. They tend to be very diverse because they contain both forest and prairie species. Oak savannas are maintained by periodic fire, which encourages oak regeneration but keeps...

Overcoming Oak Wilt

It was confirmed: oak wilt had claimed the lives almost all the red and black oaks across this section of woods. Oak wilt is a disease caused by the non-native fungus Ceratocystis fagacearum, and is lethal to oak trees. But as devastating as oak wilt...

A Day on the Burn Crew

Long before the state of Michigan was made up of a patchwork of geometric farm fields, sprawling cities, meandering highways, and stretches of forest, the state was made up mostly of a dynamic mixture of three landscapes--prairie, oak savanna, and oak forest. Those habitats shifted...

Planting a Prairie

Restoring Land, Restoring Hope. On Black Friday, 23 people came out to Saul Lake Bog Nature Preserve and planted a prairie. While the rest of America was out fighting crowds, standing in line, and getting into altercations over parking spots, 23 people were outside, breathing fresh...

The Surprising Legacy of Suzie

As a young boy I lived in central Illinois, a region better known for its endless seas of windswept corn than any magnificent natural wonders. So I was lucky, perhaps, that my parents’ house backed up to one of the largest oak forests in the...

Cutting Trees to Protect Rare Oak Barrens [Update]

[caption id="attachment_6834" align="alignright" width="421"] A Karner blue butterfly spotted during this summer's butterfly survey[/caption] Post Update: This week, a crew will be working at Maas Family Nature Preserve to remove trees from six acres of forest that is encroaching on rare oak barrens. Some may wonder, "why...

A Wetland Come to Life

When it comes to restoring natural areas, instant gratification is hard to come by. Most ecological stewardship projects take a long time to unfold. Progress is marked in increments of years, decades, or even longer. If you plant a forest, for example, don’t plan on...

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