Vol. 18 No. 2
"Nature will bear the closest inspection. She invites us to lay our eye level with her smallest leaf, and take an insect view of its plain." - Henry David Thoreau
In this issue...
Reflections from the President
Fall Property Clean-Up / Dump the Junk
Nature Area Reopens & Refuge-Gibraltar Bay Unit Ceremony
from the President
Autumn arrived and I was not too unhappy to kiss summer goodbye. The chill in the air has been invigorating and wow!, look at the calendar - there's so much still to be done before frost and winter. Although we made a lot of progress on some of our projects this year, there are others we still need to work on this fall including preparations for next spring. The newsletter is our attempt to bring you up-to-date on some of our activities. We hope to see you at our annual membership meeting on November 6th to learn more.
In April we were notified that we would receive a $3000 grant and 16 volunteer workers for a day in May from the Ford Motor Company as, part of their Better World community outreach and volunteer program. Since one of the grant stipulations was that the volunteers could not work in or at the water, we postponed our plans for both the kayak launch at the canal and the Hennepin Marsh observation deck, so that we could quickly take full advantage of the Ford generosity. We moved our focus back to intrepid Pond at Commerce Park and purchased trees, bushes, perennials and all the supplies necessary to meet the grant objectives. On top of that, our volunteer members committed their efforts through the summer to ensure that all of the plants were sufficiently watered and protected from damage. It was a substantial gift and, as with every donation, we conscientiously strive to maximize the long-term benefit. That means we don't plant trees and then leave them on their own to survive; we take responsibility for nurturing them for several years until they are sufficiently established.
Although the construction of our Hennepin Marsh observation deck was postponed to 201 1, we are happy to report that BASF Corporation, one of our corporate sponsors this year, has pledged financial support for this project. The company, which has approximately 60 employees living on Grosse Ile supports local community projects and back in 1995 donated the Hennepin marshland north of the toll bridge to the Conservancy. From the establishment of the Conservancy in 1993, many BASF employees have served on the Conservancy board. This year BASF donated funds that are being used to remove the phragmites from its property on the north end of Meridian. The strategy is to treat the phragmites with herbicide this fall, cut and remove them over the winter and construct the observation deck in the spring or summer. Since the phragmites may need some follow-up treatment next year we will plan to replant with native species in spring of 2012.
Plans for the kayak launch on the Thorofare Canal were postponed, although local residents have already been using the site. Be cautious if you do, since it is currently rocky. Note that our 501 c(3) status means that all of our owned properties are for the benefit of the general public; there are no restrictions of activities that are consistent with preservation of the natural features. Thank you to the member who already donated for this project; we're committed to this for 201 1. Currently, a high school biology teacher with an MS in Environmental Science, Ryan Robinson, is working with his students on a natural landscaping plan for the property. Ryan also runs Lakefront Lawn Services, so we look forward to a property design that we can implement in phases over several years.
Wonderful Member Support
The Conservancy board thanks each and every member, at every contribution level, for the strong support received this year. We especially appreciate the words of encouragement and are touched by the memorial donations, like the recent one from Michael Sultan in memory of his sister, Mary Joan Sultan who passed away in March. He wrote that "she so treasured the natural beauty of the island" and "so often expressed concern that not enough undeveloped land would be preserved." in her memory, we planted two additional trees this spring at our Thorofare property.