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Free DNR programs make the best of a snowy situation

Free DNR programs make the best of a snowy situation

MUSKEGON, Mich.— The Michigan Department of Natural Resources is offering some free programs to help you make the best of the snow burying our area.

The DNR’s “Just Add Snow” programs include snowshoeing, cross-country skiing, ice fishing, dog sledding and other winter-themed activities at nine DNR visitor centers throughout February.  Each program is free of charge, but a Recreation Passport is needed for vehicles to enter state parks.

 “We’ve had a good snowfall this year and conditions are perfect for getting outdoors and enjoying the beauty of winter,” said Kevin Frailey, who oversees programs at the DNR visitor centers. “It doesn’t cost much. Most programs are free, the instruction is free and, in most cases, loaner equipment is available for those who don’t have their own.

Environmental group closer to funding new education center

Environmental group closer to funding new education center

NORTH MUSKEGON, Mich.—The Muskegon Environmental Research & Education Society (MERES)  is more than half way there to funding a new environmental education center.

 

So far, MERES has collected more than $415,000 for the new facility, which will be located at the Muskegon Lake Nature Preserve on Lake Avenue in North Muskegon.  The $750,000 LEED certified building will include a classroom, laboratory, general work area, exhibit area and the Michigan Environmental Hall of Fame.

 

The education center will compliment, not replace, the Muskegon Lake Nature Preserve’s current environmental laboratory, which is already used by thousands of area students.

 

If you’d like to contribute to the environmental education center, donations can be sent to:

 

Community Foundation for Muskegon County

MERES Building Fund

425 W. Western Ave.

Muskegon, MI 49440

Local businesses offering freebies for moms this Mother's Day

Local businesses offering freebies for moms this Mother's Day

West Michigan businesses are honoring moms this Mother’s Day by offering freebies.

In Grand Rapids, moms can get in free to the Grand Rapids Children Museum on Sunday, May 12.  Admission is also free for moms who visit the Binder Park Zoo in Battle Creek with children or grandchildren in tow.

When it comes to food, Hooters has moms covered Sunday, offering free entrees (up to $10)  for mothers who bring a kid along and buy any drink.  Hooters has 10 locations in Michigan, including a restaurant in Portage.

And don’t forget dessert!  TCBY is offering a free six ounce ‘Fro-Yo’ to mother’s this Mother’s Day weekend.  Muskegon has a TCBY stand at the K-Mart Shopping Center on Henry Street.

Wetland Wonders Challenge II Birding Event

Wetland Wonders Challenge II Birding Event

Saturday, April 20th, is the next Wetland Wonders Challenge II event at the Muskegon County Wastewater Facility. Interested parties are asked to meet at 10:00am at the Muskegon State Game Area Office, located at 7600 E. Messinger Road, Twin Lake, for an auto tour of some of the best birding in the Muskegon area. Staff at the game area and members of the Muskegon County Nature Club will share insights into the area’s natural history along with helping visitors find and identify locally breeding birds as well as the diversity of birds that migrate through the area annually.

Additional events will take place throughout the spring and summer. Information for future events can be obtained at www.michigan.gov/wetlandwonders. New information is added to this site as it becomes available.

December Outdoor Volunteer Opportunities

December Outdoor Volunteer Opportunities

If you are looking for an opportunity to volunteer along with getting some exercise and fresh air, the Department of Natural Resources would be happy to have your help during the month of December. They are looking for people to participate in their stewardship workday at different locations.

You do not need any experience because they will have people to show you the ropes for using any equipment, if needed.

Annual Christmas Bird Count begins on December 14

Annual Christmas Bird Count begins on December 14

Every year tens of thousands of volunteers throughout the Americas take part in an adventure that has become a family tradition among generations.  Families and students, birders and scientists, armed with binoculars, bird guides and checklists go out on an annual mission - often before dawn.  For over one hundred years, the desire to both make a difference and to experience the beauty of nature has driven dedicated people to leave the comfort of a warm house during the Holiday season.

Each of the citizen scientists who annually braves  the snow, wind, or rain, to take part in the Christmas Bird Count makes an enormous contribution to conservation.  Audubon and other organizations use data collected in this longest-running wildlife census to assess the health of bird populations - and to help guide conservation action.

From feeder-watchers and field observers to count compilers and regional editors, everyone who takes part in the Christmas Bird Co

We trade our Urban Wildlife for a rare sighting -- The elusive badger

We trade our Urban Wildlife for a rare sighting -- The elusive badger

Meet Bella, Bucky and Barry:

We leave the urban wildlife in Forest Hills and head to our cabin in Wisconsin.  In Michigan, you would call our cabin a cottage.  In Wisconsin, they are known as cabins.  Anyway I digress - our cabin is on 10 hilly acres of grassland in the bluff country of southern Wisconsin. 

Wisconsin is known as the dairy state, but the “state animal” is not a cow.  It’s the badger.  Yes, Wisconsinites have seen Bucky the Badger, the University of Wisconsin’s mascot.  But very few of them have ever seen a real badger.  Our property in Wisconsin was invaded by three badgers last year!!!!

The first sign of a badger invasion:

The first sign of the badger invasion was the yard, which was dug up.  Badgers prefer to live in open grasslands, fields and pastures.  My husband mows about four acres of our property and lets the rest of the grasses grow wild.