Spring 2011
Vol. 19 No. 1

Spring is a natural resurrection, an experience in immortality -Henry David Thoreau

In this issue...

Reflections from the President

Habitat for Learning

Celebration for the Gibraltar Bay Unit of the Detroit River International Refuge

Gibraltar Bay Fish Survey

Colina Grant

2010 GI Conservationist of the Year Award

Second Sundays at the Wildlife Refuge/Nature Area

Sunday at the Wildlife Refuge

Freshwater Futures Grant

Michigan Amphibians and Mudpuppies Survey

Annual Meeting

Honors & Recognitions

Lifetime Achievement Award

Stewardship Corner

Land Acquisition

Memorials & Honorariums


Small Machines - Big Polluters

Did you know?

Upcoming Events...

May 1
Earth Day

1PM to 4PM
Centennial Farm
Contact Liz Hugel

May 13
Habitat for Learning Workday
8AM to 4PM
Parke Lane Elementary
Contact Courtney Solenberger-McNeill

Nature Area Open
Every Sunday
1-4PM, May 8 to Oct. 30

May 15
Interpretive Nature Walk
1PM to 4PM
Nature Area
Contact Courtney Solenberger-McNeill

November 5
Annual Meeting
10AM to 11:30AM
Centennial Farm


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Second Sundays at the Wildlife Refuge/Nature Area

Also using funds from the Colina Foundation, a “get outdoors” wildlife program for children, families and the community was held on three Second Sundays this year at the Gibraltar Bay Unit of the Detroit River International Wildlife Refuge at the Grosse Ile Nature Area. Natalie Ray, a UM-Dearborn graduate in Environmental Studies hosted interpretive walks which varied with the changes in the seasons.

In March, visitors were able to view how Mother Nature was preparing for spring. Natalie emphasized that spring had already started for many of our local animals, even though, officially not spring yet. The most obvious sign—at least 30 majestic, graceful and beautiful Great Blue Herons gathering in their rookery site (nowhere to be seen in February).

The children could hear some of the returning migrants. Red-winged Blackbirds were calling and claiming their nesting territories. Though sighting robins is often thought a sign of spring, robins are not real migrants. Not all fly south. We don’t see them in the winter because they move to places nearby that have their main winter food — wild berries.

With the thaw, the birds return to our neighborhoods to start searching for summer food — worms. A Redwinged Blackbird or a Common Grackle, both indicate spring, spending the winter in the southern U.S. and returning late winter.

When the weather warms we expect that things get easier for the animals, which have already made it through the coldest, harshest time of year. However, early spring is the most challenging time for them because their winter food resources are almost gone, but no new food is available yet (greens, fruits, insects). We saw evidence of a hungry squirrel that was digging to look for buried nuts.