For mountain bike riders in Southeast Michigan, one of the classic places to ride -- a favorite where many of us first learned to ride off road -- are the trails at Stony Creek Metropark. Since its inception, CRAMBA -- the Clinton River Area Mountain Bike Association -- has worked hand in hand with the Metroparks to maintain and enhance these trails, keeping them fun for everyone from mountain bikers to hikers, from trail runners to families out for a stroll.
The Huron-Clinton Metroparks was awarded a $7,500 grant from the Ford Motor Company Fund to construct three new raptor (hawk/owl) enclosures to replace the two existing mews and offer room for an additional injured, non-releasable bird at Oakwoods Metropark Nature Center.
During the month of November, volunteers from Ford Motor Company worked alongside Metroparks staff to construct the three updated, replacement mews in a newly designed space.
The new design was created with both visitors and birds in mind. Visitors will find it easier to observe the birds and new signs will facilitate learning about the birds and their habitat. The mews are set apart from the main walkway and designed with an unobtrusive barrier to help the birds feel safe and prevent unintended objects from entering the cages. The roof of the new structure is partially open and allows more natural light, rain and air movement into the enclosure. The concrete floor will assist with cleanup and maintenance inside the enclosure, improving cleanliness and helping preserve a healthy bird.
“The new mews are a wonderful introduction to the Oakwoods Nature Center and will be an excellent addition to our programs,” said Kevin Arnold, southern district interpretive supervisor. “Currently, we have two birds — a red-tailed hawk and a great horned owl — and we hope to receive a screech owl or American kestrel for the third mew. The birds that we keep are non-releasable due to their injuries, but they are great additions for our educational programs.”
The Oakwoods Metropark Nature Center hosts programs for school groups, homeschoolers, families, scouts, adults and community groups. It also offers Get Out and Learn Scholarships (GOALS), providing transportation and programming fees for students in southeast Michigan at qualifying low-income schools. It is also committed to improving the environmental and natural science literacy for students. Last year, the Oakwoods Metropark Nature Center had more than 160,000 visitors and conducted 290 educational programs. Nature Center interpreters conduct educational programming to the general public, students from local schools and community groups. The injured, non-releasable raptors are used to generate curiosity as interpreters teach about various aspects of the natural world.
Thank you, Ford Motor Company Fund, for your generous support! Check out the new mews the next time you visit Oakwoods Metropark, or click on the link for upcoming Nature Center programs: http://www.metroparks.com/events/month.