Category Archives: Plants and Plant Communities

Bird Lives! Three Birds Orchid Still in Michigan

Last August (2011), I wrote a post mentioning that late summer is the flowering time of a rare plant of beech-maple forest, the three birds orchid, Triphora trianthophora. It’s rare nearly everywhere and seemingly was gone from most or all of the few known Michigan stations. I invited Michigan field naturalists to go out and […]

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Trail Threat to Calhoun County’s Harvey Ott Preserve is Back

It appears that the more-or-less satisfactory resolution (as of about this time last year) to the proposed wide trail through the Ott Preserve has fallen through.  The issue is again before the Calhoun County Board of  Commissioners. Last year, the Board listened carefully to all sides and rejected the poorly conceived plan brought to it […]

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Field Trip To Beech-Sugar Maple Forest 7 April 2012, In A High CO2 World

I’m leading a field trip to a beech-sugar maple forest this spring.  We’ll look at the spring flowers and as we stroll around also talk about what mesophytic forests are like, why they are where they are, what the interactions among the organisms are, and other such natural history and ecology topics. The specific site […]

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Notes On A High CO2 Spring, March 2012

With temperatures in the 50s and 60s the last few days–and predicted as mid-70s today–spring is advancing fast.  Wood frogs were calling in the larger pond Monday, March 12.  By yesterday, they were in full chorus in both ponds and by last night, a few spring peepers had joined in. Among the bird arrivals I’ve […]

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L. A. Kenoyer on Saving Newton Woods

The essay that follows is a radio address by Leslie Alva Kenoyer, who served from 1922 to 1953 as Professor and Chairman of the Biology Department at Western Michigan University –at that time Western State Teachers College .  The piece is dated April 16, 1935.  It was written for Western’s Radio Hour, which was evidently a continuing feature […]

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Ozone, Obama, and the Deregulation Doo Dah Parade

[This post appeared in briefer form as a Letter to the Editor of the Kalamazoo Gazette 12 September 2011.] President Obama made two serious mistakes early this fall. First, he told the Environmental Protection Agency to withdraw new, stronger, standards for ozone levels in the lower atmosphere that were intended to replace the standards held over from […]

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Find the three birds orchid in Michigan beech-maple forest, please

Today is a good time to take a walk in the forest, but then any time is.  It’s a really good time for a walk in the beech-maple forest, because a very rare orchid blooms this time of year. The orchid is three birds orchid (Triphora trianthophora).  It’s known from Kalamazoo County and in fact […]

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What will happen to the sand dunes at Saugatuck?

At a time in southwest Michigan when protecting all our remaining natural lands and waters would make sense for human health and economic viability, threats continue. This morning I received the message copied in boldface below from the Saugatuck Dunes Coastal Alliance.  It is their updated look at the controversy involving the Lake Michigan sand dunes and […]

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Quote 3, John Eastman on Wetlands as Wilderness

And the fount of biodiversity is wilderness.  Today, American forest wilderness exists, when at all, in patches, “museum cases” of public lands, which give only pallid ideas of the large biodiversity our ancestors blithely relinquished. Wetland wilderness, however has not fallen quite so far…. Although many surviving wetlands have indeed suffered irreversible changes… it is […]

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Hazelnut, Fire, Oak Openings, Nostalgia

Early this April, I saw a tall skinny shrub without leaves but with catkins.  It reminded me that early last fall I had come across a clump of similar skinny trunks that bore pointed, toothed leaves.  The leaves were more or less like leaves of several groups of woody plants–birches, elms, hornbeams, and conceivably a […]

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