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Water, the Root of the Solution: Exploring water’s role in the health of the environment

  • July 31, 2020

Written by: Jessica Getschman, C.I.G. – Indian Springs Metropark Interpreter Michigan is known for its fresh water, and that includes more than just the Great Lakes.  Swamps, fens, marshes, rivers, and so many more types of wetlands are found scattered throughout our state. This makes water quality a great place to start the conversation about a healthy environment in Michigan.  An important thing to remember when thinking about a healthy environment, is that we’re really talking about supporting healthy ecosystems.…

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Wasps: Heroines for the Lazy Home Gardener

  • July 29, 2020

Written by: Victoria Taylor Sluder, Western District Interpretive Services Supervisor D.I.Y. In my grandmother’s time self-sufficiency was more of a requirement than an option.  My generation hasn’t needed to know how to make bread when every grocery store always has racks of bagged loaves waiting for purchase whenever one wants a slice.  Why bother with yeast and flour? Sure, hobby baking is fun and maybe bread machines were a fad for a short while a few years ago.  But really, as…

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A Different Kind of Essential Worker

  • June 15, 2020

We hear a lot about pollinators these days. So, who are these pollinators? With a few clicks of my mouse and some fast typing, I can pull up pictures of bees, wasps, butterflies, hummingbirds, moths (even hummingbird moths!), bats, beetles, wasps, and flies. I’ve been doing a lot of computer-based learning lately, and perhaps you have too. But the great thing about living pollinators is that you aren’t limited to going online to see them, these animals can be found…

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“Field of Bees”

  • May 18, 2020

When I mention "field of bees," what image comes to mind? Do you see a spring field bursting with clover and daisies, the hum of fuzzy, industrious honey bees filling the air? It's a beautiful image, but it's decidedly… new. All of these wonderful flowers and honeybees, though mostly naturalized now, came to North America in the last several hundred years, brought by farmers from overseas. If you want to experience a native Michigan field of bees, head down to…

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Mothers’ Day for the Poopers

  • May 10, 2020

When I think of Mothers' Day, I'll admit that Canada geese aren't the first thing that pops to mind. Around my house they're affectionately known as "the Poopers." As in, when you spot Canada geese in the yard, you call out, "Hey, look, the Poopers are in the yard!" Later on, when you're running across the same yard to grab a frisbee during an early spring game, you might exclaim, "Aw, man!!! I just stepped in something left by the…

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Ode to the Skunk Cabbage

  • May 5, 2020

As through my window daylight spread and birds broke out in song, I forced my eyes to open and thought, I’ve been inside too long. I cannot go to work today, T.V. has no fascination, I cannot endure this solitude, I need some recreation. Alas! I cry where shall I go? What place has what I seek? It’s over there not far, I swear, the drive to Stony Creek! Its lake, its trails they call to me, I need only…

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Hello Fence

  • April 30, 2020

“Hello Fence, (hello)(hello) How’d things go for you today? Don’t you miss them Since they had to go home and stay? And I’ll bet you dread to spend Another lonely day with me But lonely fence, I’ll keep you company” I may not have the good looks and silvery voice of Faron Young, (ok, maybe not the most relevant reference but work with me) but I hope I’ve caught your attention for the next few minutes. Then, you can get…

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Singin’ About Survival

  • April 29, 2020

I can never decide which I like more in the spring, the dawn chorus of songbirds or the twilight symphony of frogs. We’ve been hearing the trill of American toads these last few days and the spring peepers, eastern chorus frogs and wood frogs are still going strong. And as beautiful as they sound to my ears, they must sound even sweeter to the tympanum (that’s frog-speak for “ears”) of the females. And as much as I love frog calls,…

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In the Home of the Snake

  • April 27, 2020

When your job involves exploring a trail through the woods with a group of elementary school students, a day when you catch a snake is a good day. As a park Interpreter, sharing the right story or insight about trees or squirrels brings a gleam to the eyes or a giggle to the lips of many a kid. But find a snake sunning itself at the edge of the trail, and the gasps and shrieks and shouts come quite on…

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A Violet by any Other Name

  • April 24, 2020

When you’re out for a walk and discover a flower that looks like a violet… and smells like a violet… and even tastes like a violet… but isn’t, well, violet-colored… can it still be a violet? Why, of course! We have seventy-seven species of violets growing in North America, with closer to 900 species across the globe. Most people recognize their heart-shaped leaves and their colorful, irregular flowers. Many violets are the familiar bluish-purple color, but they also come in…

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