Many thanks to Modern Woodmen Fraternal Financial for their matching fund donation of $625 in conjunction with our October dinner at the Pasta House Restaurant. Pictured above on the left is Ed Raby, President of the Nature Center Board of Directors.
The Nature Center's first BioBlitz was somewhat hampered by rainy weather and subsequent low turnout, but that did not diminish the amount of species we identified! Among tree, shrub, flower, grass, and fungus species, we saw a Red-Backed Salamander, tree frogs, and Red-Eyed Vireos.
Kaley Genther (pictured below) and Lindsey Adams of the US Fish and Wildlife Service assisted our small group as we made our way along the trails. Many thanks to them for sharing their time and expertise. A full list of the group's findings will be made available on this site in the near future.
The recent rainy weather in the Saginaw Bay area has produced a plethora of mushrooms and other fungus in the Center - pictured below are just a small sample of the varieties now in absolute abundance in the park.
Just a note: No plant or animal specimens, living or dead, are allowed to be removed from the Nature Center. Please do not remove the mushrooms from the park, even for identification. If you are interested in identifying these mushrooms please do so while in the park and leave the mushrooms where you found them. Please respect these rules - they are in place for a reason.
Also -to this writer's knowledge NONE of the mushrooms pictured below are edible and some may be dangerous!
All photos by Kathy Kent, copyright 2016
The Nature Center would like to thank our neighbors, Louise and Pinkney (pictured here on either side of Board Treasurer Caitlin Stone) for the donation of bone specimens to our collection. These deer and raccoon bones were collected from the woods and will be a valuable teaching tool for visitors to the Nature Center!
Take a look at the fun we had last Saturday during the Petting Zoo Saturday program!
It was an especially lovely Michigan spring weekend for the Lady's Slipper Festival - the sun was shining in a bright blue sky and a cool breeze off Saginaw Bay kept the day comfortable. Warmer temperatures in the previous week ensured that the Lady's Slippers would be up for the Festival held in its honor, and several of our visitors counted more than 100 orchids in the arboretum.
Of special significance this year was the opening of our new Amphitheater, made possible by the patronage of Martha Thuemmel, a former President of the Nature Center Board and continuing supporter. Martha and her late husband Bob donated the funds to construct the amphitheater; a plaque on the theater dedicates the building to one of their favorite flowering plants growing in the park, the Trailing Arbutus. This rare and fragrant plant is one of the first signs of spring in the Thumb of Michigan, often appearing before the snows of winter have melted away, and is dear to the hearts of many in the community.
Our Board President, Ed Raby, spoke at the dedication of the Amphitheater, giving voice to the sincere gratitude of the Board and Members for Martha's generosity in donating the funds that made the Amphitheater a reality, and allowed us to complete the extensive renovations needed inside the Visitors Center. The musical acts put the new stage and sound system to good use during the festival, and hundreds of visitors walked through the renovated lobby area, which was enlarged over the winter. The Lobby is a work in progress - please visit often this summer to see new displays!
Once again, we wish to thank Martha for her selfless dedication to the Nature Center and to her community.
A collection of images beginning in February and ending this month - all taken in the Huron County Nature Center.
All photos by Kathy Kent, copyright 2015.
And now for a treat - we have muskrats! :)
Take your time
The Nature Center is a nice place for a run, but walking has it's rewards.
Aside from the occasional sounds of fireworks, it was a quiet day in the park on July 4th - a great day for a walk. While rounding a bend on the unpaved path I spied this beauty, resting in the daytime on the underside of a fern. The Cecropia moth is one of the largest moths in North America. As I got closer to take this photo the moth began to move its wings, apparently trying to scare me off with the movement of it's 'eye spots'. I got a couple of frames and then backed away quietly, leaving the moth to it's rest.
So, walk and look around the next time you are visiting the Nature Center - there is a lot to see.
Found: Old truck tire
Where: Parking lot of the Huron County Nature Center, Port Austin, MI
When: Thursday, June 5, 2014
This sad tire was found lying in the parking lot of the Huron County Nature Center; apparently it has lost its vehicle (and rim). How did it get here? Did it jump off the vehicle (and rim) because it caught the scent of a deer and then bounded off into the woods, its owners unable to find it even though they searched and searched? Did it wander away from its vehicle (and rim), just curious as to what was beyond its own driveway? Or is it the unthinkable - did the owner drop off this old tire at the Nature Center, not caring what happened to the poor thing, and then drive off on a new set of tires?
Whatever the case – curiosity, neglect, or just plain pollution - this old tire needs to be cared for. It needs to be turned into a swing for children, or a rustic planter for a yard, or it needs to be taken to a proper recycling facility. After all, it is the law in Michigan.
If you happen to know where this sad old tire belongs, please contact the Nature Center so that we may reunite this tire with its rightful owners. Thank you
What a difference the rain makes -- after recent rains in the Thumb, and a prolonged dry period, new life sprang up from the very ground.
A profusion of rare (and a protected species in Michigan) Indian Pipe plants appeared near the mushrooms, poking up out of the leaf layer of the forest floor.
First a ghostly shade of white, then, as they are exposed to air and sunlight, the Pipes turn a pinkish hue.
Plants and animals alike were enjoying and seeking out the water - three deer walked through the underbrush as I stood silently watching them. This doe's keen senses alerted her and she finally saw me. One click of the shutter and she was gone.
It was dusk as I made my way back toward the Visitor's Center and my car. Two juvenile raccoons were eating huckleberries to the left of the trail - intent on the berries, they didn't see me. I couldn't get a photo either, but it was comical to watch them pull down the low-growing plants and gobble the small dark berries.
As I got back to my car there was an unpleasant surprise in the lot. A pile of cigarette butts, probably fifty of them, lay on the ground. I find it hard to believe that a patron of the Nature Center would be so callous and dump their litter here, especially litter that is so toxic to wildlife (and people).
Not a pretty picture, but then ignorance is an ugly thing. I'm not sure if posting this will make any kind of difference or stop anyone from committing another callous act like this again, but I have to give it a try.
The Nature Center is a precious resource for the residents of and visitors to Huron County. It will only remain a center of nature if we work to keep it that way. I hope on your next visit to the Nature Center you will find only beauty and wonder along it's trails.
Nature Discovery's Jim McGrath and his son Reed were at the Nature Center on Saturday to present their 'Snakes Alive!' program. A crowd of about 75 nature-lovers gathered to learn about snake behavior, habitat, and safety in our Community Room. On hand were a variety of Michigan snakes: Black Rat snakes, a Hog-Nosed snakes, a beautiful Blue Racer, and a tangled-up bunch of different Garter snakes species. To learn more about Nature Discovery and their work please visit their website at http://naturediscovery.net.