Saturday April 26 at 9 am: “The Natural History of Michigan's Beech-Maple Forests and their Future”

“The Natural History of Michigan's Beech-Maple Forests and their Future”

Saturday, April 26 at 9:00 AM

Matt Dykstra at Pierce Cedar Creek Institute

 This combination of presentation and hike will begin with discussing how Beech-Maple forests formed in Michigan after the retreat of the glaciers and how they fit into the landscape utilized by American Indians. The history of these forests will be continued with how they were exploited by European-American settlers and what their condition is today. We will conclude the talk looking at contemporary and future challenges to the integrity of this natural community. During the hike participants will have the opportunity to see several Beech-Maple and other forest communities and further discuss their ecology, management, and preservation with Institute staff.

A very brief bio:

 

Matt Dykstra has been at Pierce Cedar Creek Institute for the past seven years as both Education Directory and Program Manager, helping to plan and lead educational programs at the Institute. His favorite programs involve taking people outside and helping them understand the amazing life and natural features found there. Matt has a particular interest in plants that began with a Field Botany course back in 1995, and continued through graduate school with a project focused on garlic mustard. Originally from Chicago, Matt is a graduate of both University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign and Trinity Christian College.

We will meet at the Visitors Center at Pierce Cedar Creek Institute at 9:00 AM.  Address is 701 W. Cloverdale Rd, Hastings, MI 49058.

Tree Diseases of Michigan: Monday, March 17, 2014 at 6:30 p.m.

Michigan is widely known for its serene forests, natural areas, and beautiful and productive orchards.  However, a changing environment and invasive organisms are leading to transformations throughout Michigan forests and landscape trees.  Widely publicized examples include oak wilt and beech bark diseases in the upper peninsula and northern lower peninsula, Dutch elm disease statewide, and the spread of the Emerald Ash borer infestation that began radiating from around Detroit.  Continuous economic challenges to Michigan orchards in the productive west and northwestern parts of the state include Fire Blight, Cherry knot, bacterial wilt and leaf curl diseases—and can lead to steep economic losses by farmers and orchardists. A significant epidemic that got its start around 1900 in the United States is a persistent threat to American and hybrid chestnut in both natural and nascent chestnut orchards throughout Michigan (and in the tree’s native range) is the destructive chestnut blight pathogen.  In addition to this historic and continuous disease in Michigan, a new epidemic called spruce decline is progressing throughout the state. 

Michigan Forest Communities: Today and Tomorrow; Monday, January 20, 2014 at 6:30 p.m.

 

 "Michigan Forest Communities: Today and Tomorrow"

Monday, January 20, 2014 at 6:30 p.m.

People's Church, 1758 N. 10th St., Kalamazoo, MI

 

DONALD I. DICKMANN

Professor Emeritus

Michigan State University

 

What a better way to start our 2014 theme “Michigan Trees: Their Past and Future” than to have Donald Dickmann speak to us.  Regarding his topic “Michigan Forest Communities: Today and Tomorrow” He states “The forests that blanket the state of Michigan have evolved through recurrent cycles of disturbance and recovery.  Today they constitute a fascinating array of distinct forest communities that is more diverse than any other state in the region. We’ll take a tour of some of these communities. How will these forests react as they face future forces of change? We may not like what happens but we can be assured that the inherent resiliency of natural ecosystems—along with our help—will assure that forests always will be a defining feature of our state”.    

He will bring copies of his book “Michigan Forest Communities: A Field Guide and Reference”.  They will be for sale at a discounted price of $12.

 

Biographical Sketch

 

  • B.S. in Forest Management, University of Washington, 1964
  • Ph.D. in Plant Physiology, University of Wisconsin, 1969.
  • Faculty member of Department of Forestry at MSU since 1973.
  • Acting Chair of Department of Forestry, 2010-11.
  • Taught undergraduate and graduate courses in silviculture, tree physiology, and forest ecology.
  • Author of over 120 scientific papers and bulletins
  • Principal author of five books. These include Michigan Forest Communities and The Forests of Michigan.

 

 

Annual December Potluck! Big Trees! Monday December 2!

Annual December Potluck – Bring a Dish to Pass!

 

Big Trees of Michigan

 

December 2, 2013 (Monday), 6:00 p.m. for potluck, 6:45 p.m. for talk

Speaker: Andy Sawyer, Michigan Big Tree Coordinator

People’s Church 1758 N 10th St., Oshtemo Township

 

Andy will provide an overview on Michigan’s Big Tree Program (http://michbotclub.org/registry/), which tracks the most impressive examples of over 300 species of trees found growing in Michigan. He will describe how to measure and nominate a tree, and how the database of Big Trees is managed. Big trees are exciting in that they are impressive specimens, but they are also clues to both natural and human history. Come prepared to be impressed and to learn a little bit about where you live.

 

Andy is an exemplary amateur botanist living in St Joseph, and the coordinator of Michigan’s Big Tree Program. A former science teacher, he now works as a baker, and teaches home school baking classes. Those are just two of his many skills – be sure to ask him about his project documenting plant specimens found pressed in the pages of old biology textbooks!

November 18, 2013 @ 6:30 p.m. Plants in a Changing World: A Citizen Science Project on Plant Evolution

Plants in a Changing World: A Citizen Science Project on Plant Evolution

Dr. Jennifer Lau, Kellogg Biological Station, Michigan State University

Monday, November 18, 2013; 6:30 p.m.

People’s Church 1758 N 10th St., Oshtemo Township

 

We live in a changing world. Native plants are faced with many new challenges from invasive species to climate change. Species threatened by these changes have three options: they can migrate, adapt, or go extinct. Dr. Lau’s research investigates how plants respond to these types of environmental change. She asks questions such as: How do environmental changes affect plant populations? Is evolution an option for dealing with these new challenges? 

 

Even though scientists now know that evolution occurs and can occur rapidly, we still do not know the main environmental factors driving the evolution of our favorite plants. Answering these questions requires understanding the environmental factors that affect plant evolution, which requires large scale studies that include many populations across multiple years. Dr. Lau will speak about the science behind how plants respond to environmental change and will solicit your input on ideas for a new citizen science project to answer these questions.

 

Dr. Lau is an Associate Professor in the Department of Plant Biology and Kellogg Biological Station at Michigan State University. She received her PhD from the University of California, Davis in 2005. You can learn more about her lab’s research at www.msu.edu/~jenlau/, and read about exciting advances in ecology and evolution as summarized by her lab at www.bigsciencelittlesummaries.com.

Saturday September 7 2013: Urban Restoration and its Challenges: Bow-in-the-Clouds

September 7 @ 10:00 AM to 1:00 PM

Urban Restoration and its Challenges:  Bow-in-the-Clouds

Nate Fuller

Our field trip to Bow-in-the-Clouds will feature an exploration into an urban treasure of rich wetlands.  We’ll follow the boardwalks into the wetlands to experience the sometimes subtle but always significant differences between several wetland types: southern wet meadow, prairie fen, southern shrub carr, and southern hardwood swamp.  We will also venture off trail a bit to take a peek into a large spring/seep that features floating mats of interesting plants interspersed with sedge hummocks. 

Nate will be highlighting the effects of habitat restoration efforts that have been going on for the last few years in the wetlands and adjoining upland oak savanna remnant.  Native plants have bounced back after the removal of glossy buckthorn, hybrid cattails, and other invasive species.  Visitors can expect to see some scattered showing of lovely flowers like blue lobelia, shrubby cinquefoil and turtlehead as well as wide expanses of joe-pye weed and swamp aster.

We’ll meet behind the Nazareth College complex at 10:00 a.m.  You enter from Gull Road and go north past the Transformation Center to use the parking lot west of the main building (see map below)

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Saturday August 10: Lynn Steil and Dave Wendling, mosses, ferns, and orchids at West Lake Bog

Orchids, Sphagnum, and More at West Lake Bog

August 10th at 9:00 AM till Noon with Lynn Steil and Dave Wendling.  (Please note that the field trip starts at 9:00 AM instead of the usual 10:00 AM)

West Lake Bog is located in the 110-acre West Lake Nature Preserve in Portage.  It is a high quality bog with a great diversity of vascular plants and sphagnum.   A well kep

t boardwalk makes it easy to visit however wear water proof boots since there is water over the boardwalk in a few places.  At the end of the board walk you will get a great panoramic view of West Lake.

This is a great time of the year to visit the bog since you will see a great variety of vascular plants plus a diversity of sphagnum that are unique to bogs.  Lynn will focus on the vascular plants including orchids, ferns, sedges, and carnivorous plants.  Dave, a novice at bryophytes, will teach you about some of the sphagnum species and other bryophytes that are important in forming the bog mat.

We will not visit Bishop’s Bog since the water table is very high and obscures many of the smaller plants.

Lynn Steil is a retired biology teacher who still gives workshops on plant and fern identification.  She is very active in the South West Michigan Land Conservancy and has performed plant surveys for them.  Dave is a retired physician who has a special interest in bryophytes.  He is very active in the Kalamazoo Area Wild Ones and is a sanctuary steward for the Michigan Nature Association.

Directions are easy from the corner of W Centre Ave and S Westnedge Ave:  Take Westnedge south from Centre St for 1.2 miles to S. Shore Dr.  Turn left on South Shore Dr and drive a few hundred feet to the entrance to West Lake Nature Preserve on the left.  There is plenty of parking there.  If you use map quest or get directions on line you may get confused since the directions that I found were not very accurate.

 

Field Trip Saturday July 20, 10:00 a.m. - Gourdneck State Game Area

Gourdneck State Game Area                                

July 20 from 10:00 AM to 1:00 PM

Led by Chad Hughson

We will be visiting a power line cut which is adjacent to Hampton Creek in the Gourdneck State Game Area.  A vast majority of the uplands of the game area were formerly oak savanna prior to European settlement, but, due to fire suppression, only corridors such as this continue to support savanna flora.  Some uncommon and even rare upland plant species we should see are Frasera caroliniensis, Eryngium yuccifolium, Amorpha canescens, Aureolaria flava, and Aureolaria pedicularia.  

Although the main trail is dry and sandy, wetlands are observable and accessible at many points along the power line cut and include a range of communities. Given the time or inclination we can explore these areas further. 

The field trip will be guided by Chad Hughson, owner of Hidden Savanna Nursery.  Chad spent the first half of his childhood living adjacent to the Gourdneck State Area and is very familiar with it.

Parking will be at the carpool lot at the corner of Centre Street and US-131.  You will need to head south onto Angling Rd from Centre St to reach the carpool lot.  We will be departing on foot from the parking lot at 10:00am.   

Deer flies will likely be out in full force.  Dress accordingly and bring your preferred bug repellant.  Waterproof boots are not required unless you wish to trudge around in the wetland areas.  There are many spots where you can approach quite closely to the creek while staying high and dry.

 

Saturday June 15: Dan Keto leads trip along Kalamazoo River Valley Trail in the Floodplain Forest of the Kalamazoo River

Floodplain Forests: Kalamazoo Valley River Trail

Saturday June 15, 9:00 to 11:00 AM

The esteemed Dan Keto will be leading us along the Kalamazoo River Trail. He will show us some of the typical floodplain trees and forbs, as well as the wildlife associated with the riverine habitat. We will also learn some of the history of the trail.

Daniel X. Keto is the Lead Interpretive Naturalist at the Kalamazoo Nature Center for 16 years and has received national and regional awards from the National Association of Interpretation, and when he is not doing that he is out in the yard digging and gardening.

We will start at Mosel Road in Parchment. Park along the river near the Parchment post office, meet at the corner across from Parchment post office on Mosel bridge (near the intersection of Mosel and Riverview).

Directions:  From downtown Kalamazoo: North on Park Street (Business US-131). Continue on Bus. 131 around curve,  and take immediate right on Westnedge Ave. Take next right (east) on Mosel Ave. Go about 1 mile, cross Kalamazoo River, and turn left on Commerce Lane. Park along Commerce Lane. You'll see us.

To downtown Kalamazoo from elsewhere: 1-94 to US-131 to exit 36A (Stadium Dr. to East). Follow Business-131 through Park St.

 

May 18 Celebration at Asylum Lake! 2:00 pm Plant Walk!

Join the Michigan Botanical Club on Saturday, May 18 as we continue to explore our urban natural areas by joining the Asylum Lake Preserve Celebration and a tour of the Preserve. Western Michigan University’s Asylum Lake Preserve is 274 beautiful acres on the West fork of the Portage Creek Watershed. This passive-use recreation area has miles of hiking trails, lakes, and even a small river. Steve Keto and Tyler Basset will lead our tour from 2:00-3:00 PM.  Steve will focus on the history of WMU’s natural areas and in particular Asylum Lake while Tyler will show us the plants and explain the ongoing management activities.

You can come just for the tour or spend the afternoon from 1:00 to 5:00 PM for the entire celebration.  There will be refreshments, blue grass music, and a display tent at the Gibbs house across the road from the preserve.  An Audubon tour is scheduled for 1:30 PM, the Botanical tour for 2:00 PM, and a brief ceremony at 3:00 to dedicate a memorial plaque to Renay and Monte Piercy, founders of the Asylum Lake Preserve Association.  There may be another tour at 3:45 PM yet unanounced.

Parking will be across the road from the Preserve at the Gibbs House on Parkview Ave between Drake Rd and Oakland Dr.  The address is 3403 Parkview Ave, Kalamazoo 49008.