Tuesday, November 4, 2008

The GINLC Annual Membership Meeting will be Saturday November 8th starting at 10AM at Centennial Farm. All members are invited to come to enjoy a continental breakfast and learn firsthand about the organization's activities over the last year. The Conservationist of the Year Award will be announced at this time.

We are delighted to have Kristi Thiel join us for the meeting. She is the Park Ranger for the Detroit River International Wildlife Refuge and she will tell us more about its programs and activities.

Meeting Agenda:
10:00 - Introductions
10:05 - State of the Conservancy (Liz Hugel / President)
10:15 - Election of Board of Directors (Pete Rock / Chair)
10:20 - Guest Presentation (Kristi Thiel)
10:45 - Committee Reports & Informal Discussions (All)

Members will be given a complimentary reusable shopping bag with the GINLC logo. Additional bags will be available for a $5 suggested donation.

Non-members are welcome to attend this meeting, learn more about the GINLC and sign up for membership.

We look forward to seeing you there!

Saturday, June 21, 2008

Nature Area - June Photos

Here are some photos from last week taken by Margarete Hasserodt at the Nature Area. She joined the Grosse Ile Wildlife Photography club led by Karen Skrocki and she's getting lots of practice. This tree in full bloom at the Nature Area is a Flowering Dogwood (Cornus florida).

MH notes that this tree was donated by Al Schweickart as a Memorial tree for his wife Eleanor in 1995. He was the father of John Schweickart and a great supporter of the Nature Area. Al arrived for every workday and brought his grandsons along. He lived in Dearborn and also built bird houses for our annual meetings' raffle. Margarete says she has an old picture of Al from their first bird walk at the Nature Area and remembers fondly how "We were all so young!"

In late summer the dogwood tree is loaded with fruit. Although the fruit is poisonous to humans, it is very good for wildlife. It doesn't last long on the branches at the Nature Area.

Julie Craves at UM-Dearborn helped to identify this tiny creature
observed resting on a limestone rock. It's a Common Whitetail Dragonfly. Can you see that the ends of the forewings and hindwings look like little flags. Julie wrote that they started emerging in early June and are one of our most abundant summer dragonflies around ponds and shorelines. Interestingly, MH read that dragonflies rest with wings outstretched while the "more delicate" damselfly rests with wings folded. Hmm, makes me wonder: who came up with these names?
In case you're wondering, dragonflies come in both sexes, as do damselflies. Here's a neat photo of a common damselfly (from Wikipedia). The females both lay eggs in water where the nymphs develop, feeding on other aquatic insects. They leave the water after several growing stages; the skin splits and the adult emerges. You'll be happy to learn that they don't sting or bite and they eat small insects like mosquitoes. MH knew that Julie was a good reference for her question because Julie performed a dragonfly and damselfly survey at the Nature Area a few years ago. Julie is also author of the book Birds of Southeast Michigan and we appreciate her interest in our area.

Saturday, June 7, 2008

Intrepid Pond Study

Over the last few weeks we've spent several hours at the Intrepid Pond with the AP Biology students from Grosse Ile High School. Their teacher, Ms. Jean Alred, and some of the students donned waders to collect water samples as part of a pre-assessment of the water quality. Their first visit was focused on physical and chemical determinations: pH, turbidity, temperature and dissolved oxygen. On their second visit they were excited to observe tadpoles and several bullfrogs. Now we know why an egret has been spending a lot of time there....good feeding grounds.

The purpose of the visit was to determine the diversity of macroinvertebrates present. They are the little animals without backbones that are visible without magnification. This assessment was important since macroinvertebrates are excellent indicators of overall water quality, especially over a period of time. Chemical analyses are snapshots of present conditions, while a macroinvertebrate assessment provides information over a longer period of time. Some of those critters are very sensitive to pollution while others are not.

So, simply put, if you find lots of different types of these critters, e.g. mayflies, stoneflies, damselflies you have a pretty healthy system. If you only find aquatic snails, worms, and leeches, it may be an indication of past and/or present pollution.
If you want to learn more about macroinvertebrates, click here: The Stream Study.

Thursday, June 5, 2008

Geology Rocks! at Parke Lane

Our first Geology Rocks! sign was officially installed at Parke Lane on Wednesday. We had a few minutes to meet with Principal Pat Nordstrom and our donors before the fire drill alarms went off at the school and Pat went rushing to oversee the process.

Rosie Meyer, our major Landscape for Learning donor represented the Richard & Rosalind Meyer Family Foundation. Bob Lawrence represented the Grosse Ile Rotary and their district office, both of which provided funds. We are grateful for the long-standing and patient support of both of these organizations. Over the summer we will be completing and installing the Geology Rocks! signs at the other Grosse Ile schools.

After unveiling the sign & having a photo shoot with E.L. Conley from the Ile Camera, our Bruce Jones gave us a short "Grosse Ile Geology" lesson. We have worked closely with John Zawiskie, staff geologist at the Cranbrook Institute of Science to learn as much as we could about this topic, to identify the boulders and the many fossils present in the limestone. I will admit that I wasn't particularly interested in this topic when we first started this project, but it's one of those subjects that gets fascinating as you learn more about it. The movement and re-arrangements of the continents over the ages, i.e. plate tectonics is pretty amazing.

One of the best things about this project is seeing the excitement in the children when they start finding the different types of fossils in the rocks.

This photo was taken at the Nature Area during one of the Delray summer camp visits.

Below are a couple of photos from the fossils on some of the boulders at the schools. Although the photos don;t really do them justice, they're still pretty impressive, don't you agree?

Go take a look at them in person & see what else you can find.

Wednesday, June 4, 2008

Islandfest 2008

Our own Margarete Hasserodt was Grand Marshal of the Islandfest Parade! She was recently honored as the Grosse Ile Rotary Citizen of the Year for 2008. The 6/6 edition of the Ile Camera has the touching presentation by Bill Swayze that highlights her contributions. Pete Rock one of our board members and local Rotarians drove the convertible. Since the Rotarians couldn't find the "Grand Marshal" sign, Margarete told the parade watchers she was the "Senior Prom Queen".

Further back in the parade a few of us marched along with the float pulled by Bruce Jones. Ellen Murphy and Monika Egerer volunteered to carry the banner, but we decided to let them distribute candy for the kids instead. We saw lots of our GINLC members watching the parade. Several offered the organization words of affirmation & encouragement. Our Treasurer, Ken Tilp, was pleased with the accolades. Next year he promises to distribute membership envelopes.

Till later....
P.S. Hope you enjoy this new format for communication. Bear with us as we learn the ropes to make it reader-friendly.