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Environment

Biology Students Improving Our Environment

Biology Students Improving  Our Environment

From: http://www.spartaschools.org

The biology students at Sparta High School have had many opportunities to learn and improve the environment in their own communities through a grant from Groundswell. The 10th grade students worked to upgrade the recycling program at the high school and were able to supply new recycling bins for paper and  plastic bottles for each student learning center and in the cafeteria for 2011-12. The bins not only look great but were effective from the first day.

Nature: Love it or Leave it

Nature: Love it or Leave it

Summer is the time of year when many “non-outdoorsy” people venture outside and are pleasantly surprised when they connect with nature! What summer sights and sounds do you enjoy? Frogs croaking, warm breezes blowing and colorful wildflowers bring smiles to faces of all ages. The Howard Christensen Nature Center (HCNC), located east of Kent City, is the perfect spot to discover the joy of nature in summer (and all year round).

Upcoming Friend of Sparta Trails workday

Upcoming Friend of Sparta Trails workday

Trail Enthusiasts! Grab a hand trimmer & bug spray and join the Friend of Sparta Trails on their next work day in creating a nature trail! Tues. July 26 at 6:30 accross from the Michigan Beer Cellar!

Lily’s Frog Pad Inc. Opens Doors to Public at Howard Christensen Nature Center

Lily’s Frog Pad Inc. Opens Doors to Public at Howard Christensen Nature Center

This month Lily’s Frog Pad Inc., the new non-profit that is managing the Howard Christensen Nature Center, invites everyone to come see the changes that have been made at the Red Pine Interpretive Center. Two events are scheduled to show the public what the nature center has to offer them.

On Thursday, July 14 from noon until 3:00 p.m. a Junior Naturalist Day is scheduled in conjunction with the Sparta Town & Country Fair. Families are invited to come hike the trails and try some hands-on activities for children in the Red Pine Interpretive Center. All of the activities are free. This open house and all of the summer day camps are sponsored by the Meijers Foundation with support from the Valley Ridge Community Foundation.

New Programs for Children offered at Howard Christensen Nature Center in July

New Programs for Children offered at Howard Christensen Nature Center in July

Two new half day workshops are being offered to area children at the Howard Christensen Nature Center (HCNC) this year. “Bugs Are Beautiful” lead by Ranger Steve, the former HCNC director and a nationally known butterfly expert, is scheduled for students ages 7-17 on July 11 from 1:30-4:00 p.m. Participants will learn how to find, identify and properly collect and mount insects. The $15 fee is a bargain with take-home insect collecting and mounting supplies included. Parents (or grandparents) may participate along with a child.

We trade our Urban Wildlife for a rare sighting -- The elusive badger

We trade our Urban Wildlife for a rare sighting -- The elusive badger

Meet Bella, Bucky and Barry:

We leave the urban wildlife in Forest Hills and head to our cabin in Wisconsin.  In Michigan, you would call our cabin a cottage.  In Wisconsin, they are known as cabins.  Anyway I digress - our cabin is on 10 hilly acres of grassland in the bluff country of southern Wisconsin. 

Wisconsin is known as the dairy state, but the “state animal” is not a cow.  It’s the badger.  Yes, Wisconsinites have seen Bucky the Badger, the University of Wisconsin’s mascot.  But very few of them have ever seen a real badger.  Our property in Wisconsin was invaded by three badgers last year!!!!

The first sign of a badger invasion:

The first sign of the badger invasion was the yard, which was dug up.  Badgers prefer to live in open grasslands, fields and pastures.  My husband mows about four acres of our property and lets the rest of the grasses grow wild.

A break from urban wildlife for a day at the beach

A break from urban wildlife for a day at the beach

LAKE MICHIGAN -  Even a dog has to take a break from all the excitement of his backyard kingdom.  On this sunny summer day, George, my husband, and I head to the beach.  Our friends, Nancy and Don, own a cottage on Lake Michigan, and they have invited the three of us to spend the day at the beach.

This is George’s first visit to Lake Michigan.  The waves were a little intimidating at first.  He would sniff the water, but he would not allow himself to get wet.  He wouldn’t even dip his paw into the water to check it out.  Then something caught his eye.  George noticed the beautiful white birds walking along the water’s edge.  He tried to get close to these interesting critters, but they would simply fly off.

Silly me, I thought seagulls only lived by the ocean, and then I moved to Michigan and discovered the Big Lake is home to a thriving population of seagulls.  I have since learned that seagulls or gulls will live al