Trail plan for Saugatuck-Douglas

The Tri-Community Master Trail Plan for Saugatuck and Douglas is an effort spearheaded by local resident Jon Vanderbeek of Sweet Spot Studio. The plan proposes to conserve large tracts of greenspace in the Saugatuck-Douglas area and connect the tracts with a network of trails.

The video below and the two maps that follow provide an excellent overview of the project. You learn about this effort on their Facebook page or donate to the cause on their GoFundMe page.

A couple of related documents:

Energy Plan open house November 10

Consumers Energy, the electric utility that serves our area, has recently been touting its Clean Energy Plan. The graphic below provides a quick overview of the main ideas.

Our Clean Energy Plan [is] a road map for protecting the environment and embracing innovative, affordable energy solutions. By 2040, we plan to achieve net zero carbon emissions and meet 90 percent of Michigan’s energy needs with clean resources.

Consumers Energy website

The company has been holding a series of Zoom-based “open houses.” The next one will be November 10 from 1:30 to 2:15 pm. Customers are invited to learn more, provide input, and ask questions about the technologies, opportunities, and challenges involved in the plan.

Rain Garden Revival

Well a pandemic can throw a wrench into your environmental education plans! So we have revived our goal of learning together about Rain Gardens and how they can benefit our community — and how to build them — by taking the whole movement online. 

But wait! Why build rain gardens at all? 

A rain garden is designed and planted to collect and absorb stormwater runoff from a roof, driveway or other hard surfaces. By doing this, the garden can slow down water movement while filtering pollutants the rain gathers in its cycle, before the water can enter our rivers, lakes and groundwater. 

That’s pretty great, but they also reduce flooding, refresh the groundwater, and look nice too! 

Amazing fact: one inch of rain can capture and clean 600 gallons of water in a typical rain garden. They are so useful, cities and towns all over the world are encouraging rain gardening, especially in places where water resources are fragile. 

Our friends in Washtenaw County, where a wonderful and successful rain gardening movement has taken root (!), have made their amazing, self-paced, online Master Rain Gardener class free to anyone who registers before June 1, 2020. 

We are hoping to gather — working online, and of course in our gardens — a local group of folks interested in developing rain gardens at their homes and businesses. The idea is that we learn, do, and help each other with information, resources, advice, and encouragement. 

The online course includes five hour-long classes and time to do outdoor homework. It’s homework that involves planning a garden, so you know it’s not really homework at all, just fun for the inner gardener!

The online, free Washtenaw County class also has a wonderful Facebook group, where people from all over are sharing their homework, and where their Rain Gardener Masters and course alumni are present to help answer our questions. 

Here is the link to the online course, free as long as you register before June 1, 2020:

And here is a link to the Washtenaw County Facebook group:

And if you want to join the Saugatuck-Douglas local group of rain gardeners, learning and working together on the class and on homework, sign up here:

Movie Night, Paris to Pittsburgh, Nov 19, 6:30pm

Paris to Pittsburgh

Movie Night: Paris to Pittsburgh, November 19, 6:30pm, DUCC Friendship Hall, 56 Wall Street, Douglas, MI

On November 19, Douglas UCC Creation Justice team will host another Movie Night at the DUCC Friendship Hall, 56 Wall Street, Douglas.

This time we will be screening the Bloomberg Philanthropies documentary, “Paris to Pittsburgh.” Doors will open at 6:30 for popcorn. Bring your own Beverage. Movie starts promptly at 7pm.

Named Inc. Magazine’s best business documentary of 2018, PARIS TO PITTSBURGH focuses on the incredible action individuals, communities, businesses and local governments in the U.S. have undertaken to combat the threat of climate change in their own backyards in the wake of the US withdrawal from the Paris Climate Agreement.

The film explores the very real social and economic effects of climate change-fueled disasters – from America’s heartland to the nation’s coastlines and the island of Puerto Rico. The premise of the documentary is based on a Twitter response from Pittsburgh Mayor Bill Peduto to President Trump the moment he pulled out of the Paris Agreement.

With devastating fires and hurricanes occurring with more frequency as the planet warms; the new federal report in which 300 scientists warn of the financial devastation and innumerable lives at risk as a result of climate change if more isn’t done soon; and a national debate raging over the United States’ energy future, the film poignantly captures what’s at stake for communities around the country and their commitment to effecting real change in reducing carbon emissions.

DUCC welcomes Douglas and Saugatuck residents to screen the film and then talk about it and what awareness-building and actions we can accomplish in our own communities. This talk is part of the education series conducted by Douglas UCC’s Creation Justice Team. 


Help us Clean the Beaches this Weekend?

oval beach

Oval Beach! Douglas Beach! The pride of our towns! And they need your help. DUCC has taken on the Adopt-a-Beach cleanup for our beautiful beaches. We’ll be working this coming Saturday, September 21, from 9am to 12 pm.

Please come with gloves and good shoes, dressed for the weather. We will put you to work. If you think you can make it, please email us, letting us know how many in your party at

Oh! And include your phone number so we can reach out in case of rescheduling:

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


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:

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

Kudos for Our Mentors

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

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;