Category Archives: Uncategorized

Harris Sanctuary, Kalamazoo County, on a warm sunny Earth Day

Saturday, the day after the date of the original Earth Day, was the next to last stewardship work day scheduled for the spring at the Mildred Harris Audubon Sanctuary.  Katy and I started within the east edge of the beech-maple forest, that is, within the forest proper ignoring the border with briars and fallen wood […]

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Stewardship Work Days at Aububon’s Harris Preserve Sat 9 April AM and Tues 12 April early PM

Saturday 9 April 2011 is the first Harris Sanctuary (Audubon Society of Kalamazoo) stewardship day, or to be blunt, first work day.  Hours are 9-11 AM. The second work day is Tuesday, April 12, hours 5:30-7:30 PM. Anyone who has an interest in the sanctuary and its management is invited to join in the effort […]

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Wide Bike Trail Through the Preserve?: Speak Out to Save the Ott

Take Action on the Proposed Trail Through the Harvey Ott Biological Preserve The Calhoun County Commissioners will be the ones voting on the trail.  They may give more weight to messages from their constituents; nevertheless, it will be of value to them to know if the threat to the Ott Preserve is a matter of […]

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Trail through the Ott Preserve: Going out of its way to pave the esker

Last Saturday, I took a walk with about twenty other people at the Harvey Ott Biological Preserve. This is where the Calhoun County Trailway Alliance wants to put a 10-foot wide paved cycling trail. Tom Funke, Director of Conservation for the Michigan Audubon Society, led the excursion. MAS owns about 20 sanctuaries. Tom is a […]

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Darwin and the Tree of Life Vs. Science Illiteracy

I got an email message from Barack Obama today–well, maybe not from Barack personally.  The heading of the message was, “What does your T-shirt say?” The next message in my mail box was from the Center for Inquiry, Michigan chapter, reminding me not to forget Charles Darwin’s birthday, Saturday February 12th. The Obama T-shirt is […]

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Our Little House in an Unpredictable Habitat

When I taught ecology to biology majors and minors I would occasionally include a question on the final exam something like this:  Describe two ways in which the study of ecology could save your life. I was happy to accept answers at any level of the environment from “If I don’t build my house in […]

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The Plenteous Summer

When I go outside this summer I’m impressed by the amount of greenery.  I don’t have data, but it’s the greenest summer–the largest volume of foliage–I remember. This makes sense.  The limiting factors for photosynthesis, Biology 101 tells us, are temperature, light, and carbon dioxide.  Translating photosynthesis into plant growth–that is, new biomass–also involves availability […]

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Colony Farm Orchard: A Voter’s Guide

I sent the following to the Kalamazoo Gazette as a Letter to the Editor.  The Gazette’s automated response told me that publication could take up to 2 months, which would be a month after the primary elections on August 3rd.  So I’m posting it here, slightly modified. To what I say in the letter, I […]

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Getting Maps Right for the Color-blind Naturalist

The January 2010 issue of The Auk published my review of the Atlas of Breeding Birds of Ontario, 2001-2005.  It’s a fine book. It may be a little heavy for some readers–it weighs more than seven pounds. The next (April) issue of The Auk published a Letter to the Editor that made reference to the […]

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Senate Passes HB 5207; Governor next step

Friday night, 18 December 2009, between 10:30 and 11:00 PM, not long before adjournment, the Michigan Senate passed HB 5207, which would strip the open space/public use restrictions from the Colony Farm Orchard land, allowing Western Michigan University to put it to any use. Most of the senators voting yes probably bought WMU’s claim that […]

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