Monarch Magic

The World Wildlife Fund has put out a list of Ten Species to Watch in 2010. On the list with tigers, polar bears, mountain gorillas, and giant pandas, among others, are monarch butterflies. Their fate is tied to their habitat being destroyed by natural disasters and industrial development, affecting breeding patterns.

Every year millions of monarchs leave their locations and travel thousands of miles to Mexico or California to the overwintering site where they will reside until the following Spring. (Envision a forest of pine trees that are completely covered in monarchs!) How do they know how to get from Michigan or Kansas down to the same spot in Mexico every year? That is THE question, and it has been well studied for years. Not only is their migration fascinating, but their complete life cycle is as well.

To read up on the monarch butterfly, AADL has you all set with a list of books. For the younger set I recommend Monarchs, and The Monarch's Progress: Poems With Wings. For the adults, a real winner is Chasing Monarchs: Migrating with the butterflies of passage, by Robert Michael Pyle. For more info, MonarchWatch.org is an excellent source for all things monarch, whether you’re a student, a teacher, or a life long learner.

When you see those orange beauties flying in the sky this Summer, or perhaps perched on some milkweed, give them a second look.

Take a Hike @ Dolph Nature Area

Dolph Nature AreaDolph Nature Area

Join Natural Area Preservation staff for a free hike through Dolph Nature Area. This is the only nature area to have naturally formed lakes, First and Second Sister Lakes. A staff naturalist will point out wildflowers, trees, and shrubs and talk about ecological restoration, as well as volunteer activities in Ann Arbor Parks, recreation opportunities, and responsible use of public lands. Plenty of time will be available for questions. Meet in the main lot off Wagner Road between Jackson Road and Liberty Street.

Dolph Nature Area Hike | Thursday, July 29 | 7:00-8:30 PM | All Ages

Take a nature walk at Wurster Nature Area

Wurster Nature AreaWurster Nature Area

Join Natural Area Preservation staff for a free nature walk through Wurster Nature Area. A staff naturalist will point out wildflowers, trees, and shrubs and talk about ecological restoration, as well as volunteer activities in Ann Arbor Parks, recreation opportunities, and responsible use of public lands. Plenty of time will be available for questions. Meet at the Edgewood Place cul-de-sac just off of West Davis Avenue. Parking available on the outer ring of the cul-de-sac.

Wurster Nature Area Hike | Thursday, July 15 | 7:00-8:00 PM | All Ages

A River Runs Through It

A River Runs Through It

Having loved the movie, A River Runs Through It, when the book recently crossed my path I decided to give it a try. In the forward, it is praised to the skies by Annie Proulx and I can see why. It is a perfectly beautiful, evocative, autobiograhical tribute to the three things that Norman Maclean loved: being raised in Montana near the Big Blackfoot river, fly fishing, and his brother, Paul, the one who raised fly fishing to an art, and who lived wild and free and died young.

Now I am not that interested in fly fishing. Nevertheless, the descriptions of Norman and Paul wading through the shadowy pools of the Big Blackfoot, luring the trout with imitations of various flies, are so lyrical and beautiful that I could see and feel and hear the river and their total artistry in fishing it.

Ultimately, the novella is about trying to love the people who are in our lives but we who we don’t completely understand. “It is those we live with and love and should know, who elude us”, says Norman at the end. “Now nearly all those I loved and did not understand when I was young are dead, but I still reach out to them… I am haunted by waters.” Maclean wrote the book when he was 72 years old, looking back on his memories of the brother and the river he loved.

It's Contest Time @ the Library! Lego & Photo Contest Guidelines!

totoroinlego

If it's summer it must be time for our annual contests! This year is our 5th annual Lego Contest & we're inviting ADULTS in on the fun!! We're also pleased to announce our Make It Happen in Ann Arbor Photo Contest! Use your leisurely summer time to focus your creativity and take a chance on winning! In order to enter either contest participants must read and follow the rules and guidelines.

Children, teens and adults are invited to enter the 5th Annual Lego Contest & the Make It Happen Photo Contest. Winners of both contests will receive gift cards to Target. Once again the Lego contest will take place at Weber's Inn (3050 Jackson Ave) on Thursday, August 5. The Make It Happen Photo Contest Award's Ceremony will be on Wednesday, July 28 @ the Downtown Library. For complete rules & submission guidelines for the Lego contest click here. For the Make It Happen photo contest rules & guidelines click here.

Your Guide to Avoiding Summer Boredom

I don’t know about you, but I’m counting down the days until summer vacation! Summer is the perfect time to explore, build, create, imagine, and discover. Here some books and websites to get you started, whatever your interests or age:

Howtoons.com is a comic-style website of directions for making some crazy new toys. How about a Speed Blaster or Robofingers? There is something for everyone here and all the projects can be made with common household items like pop bottles, paper plates, and straws.

If you’re planning a campout or a hike, Camp Out! and Follow the Trail have all sorts of information about what to bring, what to do, and how to prepare for emergencies. Another fun book is Cooking in a Can, full of recipes for cooking over a campfire, from vegetables to grilled sandwiches to cake.

Even from your backyard or a park you can get up close with nature. 101 Nature Experiments includes how to grow various types of gardens, make your own compost, and discover all sorts of things about critters, bugs, and plants up close.

More into art than science? How to Draw What You See and Illustrating Nature will get you ready to draw and paint plants, animals, and landscapes 'en plein air'. There are also tons of crafts to make using stuff from nature: check out Organic Crafts, Ecology Crafts for Kids, and Nature’s Art Box for inspiration.

Summer is also a great time to update your wardrobe. How about making your own purse from fabric and embellishments, jewelry from beads and fiber, or perhaps a wallet or tool belt made from duct tape? These books give step-by-step instructions for creating one-of-a-kind accessories to keep or give as gifts. The Hip Handbag Book, Ductigami, Hemp Masters, and Creative Beading will get you started and you can let your creativity do the rest.

Finally, don't forget about the AADL Summer Reading program! Our theme this year is "Make it Happen," and events include art workshops, games, and all sorts of activities. Check out the Summer Reading events page to make sure you don't miss out!

Thursday: Fabulous Documentary!

The remarkable Oscar award nominated documentary Encounters At The End Of The World will be screened 7-8:45 p.m. Thursday at the downtown library. Directed by Werner Herzog, the film reflects life in very cramped quarters of 1,000 men and women pursuing advanced science in Antarctica. This 2008 Oscar-nominated documentary is rated G for general audiences. Bring a friend and learn about science, human nature, and Antarctica.

Take an Earth Day Hike @Bird Hills Nature Area

Celebrate Earth Day by taking a spring nature walk, led by the City of Ann Arbor Natural Area Preservation staff. View native plants and trees, and learn about the ecological restoration going on at this site. Keep your eyes open for some spring wildflowers.

Thursday, April 22 | 7-8:30 PM | Bird Hills parking lot off Newport Road, just north of M-14

Bird Hills trailBird Hills trail

AADL Productions Podcast: AA/Ypsi Reads Author Jerry Dennis

In this episode, 2010 Ann Arbor Ypsilanti Reads author Jerry Dennis stops by to talk about Reads title The Living Great Lakes: Searching for the Heart of the Inland Seas. Apart from being an award-winning nature writer, Jerry is also a lifelong Michigander whose experience of the Great Lakes reaches back to boyhood fishing trips. In this interview we learn about his life as a writer and what he has learned about the lakes through his research and many conversations with the people who live along them. We also get to hear his feelings about what makes the lakes so important to Michigan and Michigan so important to the fight to keep the lakes healthy. You can also watch the video of Jerry's presentation at Washtenaw Community College in the AADL Video Collection.

Attachment Size
AADL_Productions_Podcast-AA_Ypsi_Reads_Jerry_Dennis.mp3 38.1 MB

Winter Adventures -- Youth Magazine Update

winterwinter

There's no denying it, winter has definitely arrived -- and with snow predicted for some time this week, it's time to plan how to keep yourself entertained when the weather turns icy.

If you're an outdoorsy type, Boy's Life Magazine has all the information you will ever need, with articles on ice fishing, making emergency shelters out of snow, and ice climbing -- on frozen grain silos. (Strange, but true.)

For those of us who prefer to stay indoors with a hot cup of cocoa, Nintendo Power Magazine provides the latest information on the best new games -- like Legend of Zelda Spirit Tracks, the first Legend of Zelda game where Zelda gets to go adventuring herself! My personal favorite, for the name alone, is Zombie Panic in Wonderland in which your favorite fairy tale characters fight...you guessed it ...zombies.

Bridging the gap between outdoor adventure and vegging out is National Geographic Kids, with an article on the return of the lynx to Colorado, and a review of upcoming Disney original The Princess and the Frog.Owl Magazine and its sister publication ChickaDee get in on the act with articles on arctic animals, gifts you can make yourself, and, in ChickaDee, an up-close look at Quebec's Hotel de Glace, a hotel made entirely of ice.

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