Spring 2005
Vol. 13 No. 1
"Vision without action is only a dream. Action without vision only passes time. Vision with action can change the world." - Joel Baker

In this issue...

Reflections from the President

Annual Meeting Features Community Participation

Conservation Donations in Peril

Nature Area

Looking for Deer Resistant Plants?

More Than Just a Snappy Name

Red-Winged Blackbird

Did you know?

Upcoming Events...

March 18
Work Day
BASF Lot (To cut down phragmites)

March 24
Environmental Achievement Award Presented
Detroit Athletic Club

April 2
Nature Area Reopens

April 7
Emerald Ash Borer Conference
7:00 PM
Township Hall
Merle Solomon Room

March 24
Earth Day Celebration
10:00 AM to 2:00 PM
Nature Area

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Annual Meeting Features Community Participation
by Geri Tank and Jim Conley

Bruce Jones delivers his president's message

In a well-timed annual meeting of the Grosse Ile Nature and Land Conservancy on Saturday, November 11, 2004, at Centennial Farm, members and distinguished guests were shown the comprehensive outreach of the local group.

Moved along smartly by Bruce Jones, a number of projects and interests were reviewed that showed a community development focus, not just a land-acquisition one. Board member Laura Plischke talked about Eagle Scout projects being accomplished at the GIPC Nature Area.

Board member Liz Hugel reviewed the "Landscape for Learning" project and progress being made on the "outdoor learning center" project. The process has started at the high school and middle school. Conceptual drawings have been completed and boulders necessary for the projects have been delivered to the elementary schools. A number of community citizens have assisted with these projects, Hugel said, but even more involvement would be needed to make these projects/programs fully successful.

Board member Armando Sardanopoli spoke about the Nature Area-specifically that there is a planned increase in the time it will be open to the public, and how the area has been utilized by nature education groups. He also called attention to the numerous new plantings that have been put into place. Along the same line, board president Bruce Jones described the shoreline restoration project in cooperation with Nativescape. New plantings there have increased the abundance of wildlife by improving the available habitat of the area.

Later in the meeting, Bruce Jones, in his president's report, told of canoe/kayak groups which intended to make use of off-shore areas from the nature area.

Members attending the annual meeting heard about exciting developments and growth in the Conservancy

Not all the news at the meeting was as promising. Member Cliff St. Pierre, Chairman of the Grosse Ile Open Space/Greenways Committee, spoke about the emerald ash borer problem, and expressed some doubt about the predictable success of efforts to eradicate this destructive pest. He stated that there is no known remedy for the Emerald Ash Borer invasion, but that the Grosse Ile Open Space/Greenways Committee directs that sick trees adjacent to private property be taken down.

At this point Bob Burns the Grosse Ile area's resident "River Keeper" was introduced to describe the projects Burns has helped initiate in the area, especially noting the wood duck boxes that are in the process of installation.

Also in the annual president's presentation, Jones reported on how the Humbug Marsh Complex will be pre-served and used for outdoor learning projects. He called attention to the need for controlling invasive species at the site. State Representative Kathleen Law added that the state is implementing a program to help.

Attention was focused on the GINLC's centralconcern of land acquisition and enhancement. Board member Adam Bickel described the acquisition during the past year of the Jones, Finazzo, and Taylor properties. Doug Thiel then told of the care needs of some of the properties the Conservancy is already responsible for. He pointed out that all the properties are inspected annually.

He specifically noted that the Rider lot on Grays Drive has considerable invasive Buckthorn. The Cleaver lot has experienced some change: while formerly filled with thick vegetation, after the town-ship sewer project went through it is now covered with grass. The Morris property has a small ecological system of its own and also contains a rare pin-oak tree. The Kobiljak property has received some necessary attention and some native red oaks were planted there.

On the matter of board membership, Fred Pepper nominated Jim Conley and Bob Johnson for three-year terms on the board. Pepper also nominated John Bissig and Greg Roginski for board member-ship. All the nominations were received and the motion approved. Thiel pointed out that Bruce Jones was stepping away from the presidents office, but would remain a member of the Conservancy board. Jones was profusely thanked by one and all for his splendid work. Thiel will assume the position of president of the Conservancy.

State Representative Kathleen Law offers support from the State

Distinguished guests in attendance at the meeting were: Blair McGowan of "Friends of the Detroit River"; Township Clerk Ute O'Conner, who especially praised the leadership of Bruce Jones in his role as president; and State Representative Kathleen Law, who expressed her enthusiasm for the mission and accomplishments of GINLC. She asked "How can I help?" and declared her willingness to sign on for any appropriate grant and aid requests put forward by the Conservancy.

Throughout the meeting there was a prevailing need expressed for more membership and citizen participation, both from those who can bring professional and intellectual skills to bear on the function of the Conservancy, and from those who simply wish to be on-call for the occasional labor-type jobs that arise. A recent, and urgent plea has gone out for someone familiar with grant agency investigation and the preparation and submission of grant proposals.