Autumn 2005
Vol. 13 No. 3
"In all things of nature there is something of the marvelous." - Aristotle

In this issue...

Reflections from the President

DelRay Visits the Nature Area

2004 Raptor Banding in the Grosse Ile Nature Area

A College Student's Survey of Bugs in Our Nature Area

Your Conservancy Quietly in Action

13th Annual Meeting Saturday, November 5 10AM

Upcoming Events...

November 5
Annual Meeting
10:00AM - Noon
Centennial Farm

Fall Hours
Nature Area Open
Saturday 10:00AM - 2:00PM
Thursday 5:30PM - Dusk
Closed when raining
Last Day Open - October 29

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Your Conservancy Quietly in Action
by Bruce Jones

September 30 marked a milestone for our Conservancy and our community. Working with Chris Lehr, restoration biologist with Nativescape, Inc., and using techniques never before used in the Great Lakes, we completed the rehabilitation of about 1200’ of badly degraded shoreline at the Nature Area. This shoreline was never a natural one; it was created in the 1950’s when the Defense Department filled about 4 acres of shallow river for the Nike Missile site. With over 97% of the original river shoreline destroyed, this is a major step in creating and saving a healthy river ecosystem.

It has been a great success already. Virtually all of the alien plants that had invaded the shoreline have been destroyed. Over 5000 native plants have been planted along the new shoreline by volunteers including many high school students. Native creatures have rapidly returned to the area. These creatures include everything from insects to fish to mink and wildfowl.

Shoreline rehabilitation project
(Above) BEFORE                                     (Below) AFTER

Photos by Bruce Jones

Equally exciting is the fact that our shoreline work has provided a model for industries along the river for the revitalization of their own shorelines. US Steel recently completed a major renovation of waterfront and DTE, Marathon Oil and others are in the process of redesigning their shorelines.

The last phase of construction will be the addition of observation platforms to allow for viewing the marsh without disturbing wildlife and tramping on new plants. Accompanying this is the creation of an environmental education program that will reach from preschool to adults.

This leads to our “Land-scape for Learning” initiative Grosse Ile Schools. This project involves the creation of outdoor learning centers around each school and the Nature Area for hands-on learning experiences. This summer the first learning centers were created with several boulders placed at each school to help explain the geology of our river. One boulder is estimated to be 3 to 3.5 billion years old.

Many have forgotten that our Conservancy brought the highly successful school ship program to the lower river in 1998. We are very grateful to the Grosse Ile Educational Foundation for a substantial grant for materials used in this program. The grant provided water and soil testing kits, dip nets, insect cages and other items. Our interest in education has also generated outstate interest. We are co-sponsors with the Michigan Department of Environmental Quality in their environmental education program. We were recently asked by the Michigan Sea Grant program to help with their new environmental education program.

All this activity earned our Conservancy the Environmental Management Association’s “Achievement of the Year” award. In addition, we were presented the Michigan Parks and Recreation Association’s annual achievement award at a recent Township Board meeting.

GINLC also sent a long letter to about 30 individuals involved in the International Bridge controversy. Our letter explained the positive, 12 year effort to improve the quality of life of our region, our economic sustainability and our efforts to provide future generations with the enjoyment of the natural resources which we have treasured.

The result was several phone calls and a 2-1/2 hour private meeting in early September with Joseph Corradino, chairman of the committee investigating the bridge and Mike Nurse, their wetland consultant. Nurse also visited our Nature Area. We left this meeting with a very optimistic feeling about the demise of the southern river crossing.

GINLC’s quiet activities — all for the betterment of our community — for us today and for those generations who will follow.