Lisa’s Letter to the Governor of Michigan — Will you sign?

Fellow resident Lisa Lenzo has a great plan, and she would like your help reaching out to Governor Whitmer. She has posted this letter on her Facebook wall. If you’d like to add your name as a signee on the letter, place your name(s) in the comments below. Thank you!

Photos below:  Lisa’s granddaughter Cialyn holding the caterpillar she raised, named Oscar.

Dear Governor Whitmer,

I have a suggestion that would benefit Michigan’s environment–specifically, monarch butterflies but also other pollinators–and it might also save the state some money.

On a recent trip home to Michigan through Indiana on Highway 31, I noticed that the highway median in Indiana was not mowed, and that one of the main plants growing in that median was milkweed–miles and miles of milkweed, which is the main host plant for monarch caterpillars. But as soon as we crossed over the Michigan border, the U.S. 31 median was mowed in its entirety and very close to the ground.

My suggestion is to refrain from mowing the medians of Michigan highways except for once a year, which would prevent the growth of saplings. This mowing should take place at the end of October, since both butterflies and bees count on nectar and pollen throughout Michigan’s growing season and monarchs especially need fuel in the fall for their long migration to Mexico. Because some milkweed grows along the sides of Michigan highways and milkweed naturally spread their seed, the unmowed medians would soon sprout milkweed as well as other native wildflowers. Naturalizing the medians would also benefit honeybees, native wild bees, and other pollinators, which would in turn benefit Michigan’s cultivated crops as well as our natural world.

Creating more habitat for monarchs and other pollinators is in line with Michigan’s approach to conservation, as stated on the DNR’s website page devoted to monarch butterflies: “Grasslands, vitally important to many species, including monarchs and other pollinators, have become increasingly rare. . . (and) . . . making sure pollinators have habitat that supports milkweed and other native, flowering plants is important to preserving these key species.”

Please consider my simple plan to increase grassland and wildflower habitat by naturalizing Michigan’s highway medians. This would benefit us all, and I believe it would be fairly easy to implement. We don’t want our children and grandchildren to ask, Where have all the flowers gone? And we also don’t want them to ask, What happened to all the butterflies?

I have asked my friends, family, and anyone else who agrees with this letter to add their names to it. Thank you for considering my suggestion, as well as for all the work you do for our great state.

Sincerely,

Lisa Lenzo

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Help Us Clean the Highway?

adopt a highway

Douglas UCC’s Creation Justice team invites any of our neighbors who would like to help clean up the stretch of US196 that hugs our cities and township to join us in our Adopt-A-Highway project to clear the trash along the highway.

We have scheduled two cleanup periods for the spring, July 13 from 9am to noon and July 16 from 4 to 7pm.

You will review a training video, receive safety vests and cleaning equipment. Bring gloves and dress to protect yourself from sun and bugs. For each event, we ask that you follow one of the links below to grab a free “ticket,” so that we may get a good count of volunteers and easily communicate with you in case of rescheduling for weather.

To sign up for Saturday, July 13 from 9am to 12pm, click here:

https://www.eventbrite.com/e/ducc-adopt-a-highway-cleanup-saturday-july-13-tickets-64533885589

To sign up for Tuesday, July 16 from 4 to 7pm, click here:

https://www.eventbrite.com/e/ducc-adopt-a-highway-cleanup-tuesday-july-16-tickets-64533980874

 

 

Community Read: Braiding Sweetgrass

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It’s hard to imagine the Autumn right now, isn’t it? We only want you to imagine it enough to sign up and save the date for our next Community-wide read of Robin Wall Kimmerer’s amazing book, Braiding Sweetgrass. It’s the perfect book to read over the summer months, we promise. And discussing it together, sharing in the community wisdom and concern for our environment promises to make for a moving and movment-making evening.

But first, if you are game to join us, please sign up for a spot. We filled the house with the last discussion, and we cap out at 55 participants. We will start a waiting list, and if it gets long enough, we will repeat the discussion on the following night.

SIGN UP HERE. TICKETS ARE FREE:

http://bit.ly/duccbraidingsweetgrass

Bee Informed: Honey Bee Science and How to Help

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On Tuesday, May 7, from 6:30 to 8:30 pm, at the Douglas UCC Friendship Hall, 56 Wall Street in Douglas, Michigan, Anne Marie Fauvel, Tech Team Coordinator for the Bee Informed Partnership based at the University of Maryland, will share the latest data on Honey Bee populations in Michigan, and how we can manage our own landscapes to help these important populations thrive.

Grand Haven-based Fauvel is charged with the logistics of five mobile regional technical-transfer teams working directly with commercial beekeepers, to bridge the gap between industry and academic research.

The Tech-Teams lead the sampling effort to collect copious amount of data on colony health, management and treatment data and act as consultant with their regional and national perspectives. Fauvel also teaches at Grand Valley State University and is the apiarist on campus managing the small GVSU Meijer Campus Apiary in Holland Michigan.

She will build the case for the importance of the honey bee and their current population state in the United States and Michigan.

Are honey bee populations declining? And are pesticides to blame? Fauvel will discuss the many causes of colony losses and give example of local and national programs, and research efforts to better understand colony health and improve colony survivorship through best management practices.

Learn more about Fauvel and the Bee Informed Partnership at https://beeinformed.org/.

This program is free and open to the public.

Road and Beach Clean Up Events — We Need YOU!

Ah Spring in Michigan! The rains and the snowmelt, all revealing the detritus of the long winter. It’s time to clean up our roads and beaches, friends!

Will you help?

Three events coming up:

Adopt-a-Highway Road Cleanup

The DUCC Creation Justice Team has organized two cleanups of our stretch of highway in April. We will clean on

April 13, 9am to Noon

and

April 16, 4 to 7pm

If you can join us, please sign up on the sheets in the Friendship Hall, or write to us using the contact form, linked above.

Adopt-a-Beach, Alliance for the Great Lakes  Beach Cleanup, Saugatuck

Saturday, April 20 from 1-3:30, Beach cleanup day. Find details on the event and register here:

http://greatlakesadopt.org/Secure/Event/14875

Thanks so much for any and all help you can give in cleaning up and in sharing these events ahead in your communities!

The Reluctant Radical: Movie and Discussion

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GreenMichigan.org‘s Macatawa Creation Care in partnership with the CRC’s Climate Witness Project has scheduled a showing of The Reluctant Radical for…

Thursday, April 11, 2019

at 7:00 pm
at the Park Theater, in Holland, MI.

They are gathering a panel discussion following the film.

The film raises challenging questions around the issue of climate change:  Sanity vs Insanity–is it insane not to respond to climate change?  What’s my role if I’m not an activist? Is it civil disobedience–or maybe you’re just a nag?

You can explore the film further at:

https://www.thereluctantradicalmovie.com/

Please join in the discussion. And perhaps the action, too?

Kudos for Our Mentors

https://whtc.com/news/articles/2019/mar/15/birkholz-freestone-headed-for-michigan-environmental-hall-of-fame/

Please follow the link to learn about two of the 2019 Michigan Environmental Hall of Fame inductees, our own Creation Justice Team mentors Ken Freestone and the late Patty Birkholz.

They are both so deserving.

The induction ceremony is set for 6:30 p.m., May 15, 2019, at the Gerald R. Ford Presidential Museum in Grand Rapids. People who want to attend should email the event chairman, Ron Brown, at rnbrown227@gmail.com.

New Ways to Love Trees — Follow Up

 

On Saturday, February 23, 2019, Drs. Greg Murray and Kathy Winnett-Murray presented A New Way to Love Trees at Douglas Congregational United Church of Christ. It was standing-room only, informative, fascinating, and so very useful.

These zoologist-biologists taught us all the ways trees help our homes and communities, clean and manage our water, save energy, house wildlife, impact our health, and yes, how they communicate with one another. They also discussed their latest research on the threats to our local Hemlock populations.

Drs. Greg and Kathy like to say, ”Even trees standing outside your window in the dead of winter are providing you with ecological, economic, and health benefits that most folks take for granted.” All while “just standing there.”

They also showed us how to plan for new trees on our properties, using i-Tree Design, linked below, and how the City of Holland is working with the Murrays and other Hope Professors and students to identify and evaluate the contribution of trees to the City. We can take their lessons home with us, using these links:

i-Tree Design, Determine the best spot to plant your new trees!

My Tree (by i-Tree), Learn about your tree benefits

National Tree Benefit Calculator

PlantSnap, Plant Identification App

TreeSap, Android Phone App for Holland Area by Mike Jipping

Energy Saving Trees Program

Save Michigan Hemlocks

Holland-Hope College Sustainability Institute

City of Holland Sustainability

 

EmpowerU! Advocating Invasive Species Management 

Do you work to combat invasive species in Michigan but feel compelled to do more? Learn how to work with decision makers, influence management decisions and stop the spread of invasive species.

 

In conjunction with National Invasive Species Awareness Week, Michigan State University Extension is launching an online course called, “Empower U! Advocating for Invasive Species Management” to move your invasive species work to the next level.  

 

Woodland and shoreline owners, master volunteers, and natural resources professionals can grow their skills to meaningfully engage decision makers about invasive species. Through the course you will learn how to craft your own argument to persuade decision makers about the importance of invasive species (aquatic and terrestrial) management or removal in your area.  

 

The course begins on March 2, 2019 and consists of 5 weeks of online sessions (around 1 hour/week), concluding with an in-person workshop on Friday, March 29, 2019 in Okemos (attendance required).

 

Through this 5-week course, which consists of a series of self-paced online learning activities and one in-person workshop, participants will: 

  • Gain understanding of the roles and levels of government and whom to contact regarding invasive species management.
  • Learn to use skills such as influence, power, persuasion, framing, questioning and listening in interactions with decision makers. 
  • Know where to find reputable information on the status of invasive species in your area.
  • Create an engagement plan and experience practicing it in a safe, peer-learning environment.
  • See yourself as a resource to decision makers on invasive species management.
  • View engagement with decision makers as a norm and encourage others to do it, too.
  • Network with other people passionate to make a difference around invasive species. 

 

The cost is $30/person and includes access to the online course, handouts and lunch on the 29th.

Click here to register today! Deadline for registration is Friday, March 1st.

  

Questions? Contact Julie R. Crick, Natural Resources Educator, Michigan State University Extension

(989) 275-7179; crickjul@msu.edu