News & Blog

Prairie Meditations at Saul Lake Bog

A winter visit to Saul Lake Bog Nature Preserve There aren’t many bogs near Grand Rapids and Saul Lake Bog has everything a good bog needs. It has insectivorous plants, those fantastical species that lure insects with their sweetness and devour them for their nutrients. It...

Kayaking on thin ice

Growing up on one of the lower Grand River bayous, the day the ice went out in the spring was always an exciting event, with a riot of circling gulls fighting to scavenge pickings released from the ice. A sudden change in the wind direction...

How are Piping Plovers and petri dishes connected?

In the game “Six Degrees of Separation” players are challenged to find the links between two seemingly unrelated people or things with the fewest steps possible. [caption id="attachment_5140" align="alignright" width="225"] A piping plover at the mouth of the Kalamazoo River. (Photo credit: Rick Brigham)[/caption] In west Michigan,...

“Who cooks for you?” asks the Barred Owl

[caption id="attachment_5109" align="alignright" width="200"] Barred Owl (Source: www.outdoor-michigan.com)[/caption] “Who cooks for you?” This was the sound I heard last week when I was out in my backyard. (It was somewhat ironic since I was grilling at the time!) The question was actually coming from a Barred Owl. Of...

Another reason to add native plants to your West Michigan yard

[caption id="attachment_5105" align="alignright" width="450"] The root system of native plants are far deeper than usual turf grass. They provide stabilization of the soil from erosion and runoff, thus improving water quality. (Illustration source: www.vanburencd.org.)[/caption] The reasons to incorporate native plants into your yard are numerous: Supporting...

Cutting down oak trees to protect a rare oak-pine barren

Like a teenager who’s partied past curfew, nature preserves need tough love, too. [caption id="attachment_5097" align="alignright" width="300"] Pete, Dwight, Vaughn, and Justin pause while working to protect the oak-pine barren at Maas Family Nature Preserve near Rockford.[/caption] That’s why a group of us found ourselves in Rockford...

The job of protecting the places we love is never done

[caption id="attachment_3560" align="alignright" width="300"] Flower Creek Dunes Nature preserve along the Lake Michigan shoreline in Muskegon County.[/caption] One of Emily Dickinson’s poems begins: “I dreaded that first robin so…” That first robin cannot come soon enough for me. I love the four seasons, including winter, and love...

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