Summer 2007
Vol. 15 No. 2
"In all things of nature there is something of the marvelous" - Aristotle

In this issue...

Reflections from the President

Earth Day

Spotted Gar Pike

Reflections on the Spring Chill


Nature Area Happenings

With Appreciation

From the Family Butterfly Book


Mark Your Calendar

Newletter Sponsor

Upcoming Events...

October 6
Bird Walk
Nature Area

October 20
Nature Hike

Bird Sanctuary

Nature Area Open
Saturday 10:00AM - 2:00PM
Thursday 6PM - 8PM until Oct 1
After Oct 1, the Nature Area is open only on Saturdays

Closed during inclement weather
Last Day Open - October 28

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Reflections from the President
by Liz Hugel

photo by Manfred Egerer

Summer Greetings! We hope this newsletter finds you well and enjoying these sunny summer days. Your conservancy board has been kept busy over the months since our last newsletter. Here's a brief round-up of some of our different projects.

Earth Day!
On Sunday, April 22nd we celebrated Earth Day with the community at Centennial Farm. There were fun and interesting activities for all ages. We were fortunate to have volunteers from Riverside Academy join us to lead some of the activities. These science students drove from Dearborn for the event, to assist their teacher, Terry Laesser, our Education Chair. Children participated in an interactive game called "Who Polluted the Detroit River?", planted seeds, and learned about recycling. The children listened with captive attention to Jake Adkins, who presented "Prey and Predators." Formerly with the DNR in the UP, Jake spoke about wildlife and habitats while showing the audience some very impressive skins and skulls. Afterward, we had a very informative presentation by Professor David Susko from UM-Dearborn. We appreciated his drive over to Grosse Ile from Windsor to join us to speak about non-native species and strategies for their control.

Interpretive Trail
Our Earth Day program also included a nature hike through the woods on the west side of the farm, led by Doug Thiel and Bruce Jones. The hikers learned about the wonderful diversity of the trees and the peacefulness that can be gained from a quiet walk in the woods. In the spring, we cooperated with members of the Garden Club who were interested in making the Centennial Farm trail an "interpretive" one, with a sign to commemorate the Garden Club's 80th anniversary. A plan to convert the trail into an educational experience was presented to the Open Space Committee, who, in turn, solicited comments from adjacent landowners. As reported recently in the Ile Camera, the neighborhood reaction was not positive. It seems that there are a fair amount of detrimental activities in the woods that need to be curtailed. We agree that the township needs to make an effort to keep the trails free from vehicles and destructive use. However, any plans for the woods at the farm should not curtail "passive" use by the full community. Passive use includes nature trails for educational purposes. The Open Space on Grosse Ile is designated for this purpose in the township's Master Plan.

Soon we will be digging the holes to install the geology interpretive signs at each of the township schools. We finally have an impressive array of boulders and rocks at each school. This Landscape for Learning project, sponsored by the local and district Rotary along with the Richard & Rosalind Meyer Family Foundation is nearing completion. Our next education project is expected to forge stronger bonds with our local teachers. In the spring, we received funds from the Grosse Ile Educational Foundation for a study grant to develop creative ways to incorporate more environmental educational activities into the K-12 curriculum using an interdisciplinary format. This effort is starting up this month so that we can include programming for the coming school year. We're also working with the Recreation Department to include several classes and activities in the coming year, so look for some new programming in the next Channels.

Forshee Memorial
The memorial to Will "Sonny" Forshee was recently dedicated. With township approval we planted a RED OAK ( Quercus rubra) tree in front of the Public Safety Building and a plaque was set in stone at the site on August 11th. We thank the family and friends who contributed to make this memorial possible.

Land Trust Alliance Assessment
Early one Saturday in March your board members gathered to perform a guided organizational assessment of GINLC. We worked with facilitators from the Land Trust Alliance, a national umbrella organization of conservancies that provides management support and the sharing of best practices (see The four hour retreat gave us the opportunity to discuss our own organizational strengths and weaknesses that will need to be improved if we would like to one day be an officially accredited land trust organization. The results will be reviewed in detail at our annual meeting.

Fundraising & Membership
We are seeking more corporate sponsors this year as well as newsletter sponsors. Please contact me if your business is interested in this opportunity to let our members know that you support our newsletter and our efforts in the community. The space allotted to sponsors will be limited, but it does appear to be necessary to absorb expenses associated with the newsletter. So, drop me a note at or give me a call at 734-552-8950.