Plants In The News

Pulp Tree

So when you bring the green indoors this winter the plants may say "thank you".

Maybe you heard about Midori the blogging houseplant. Midori lives in Donburi Cafe in Kamakura Japan.

Just as plants are finding a voice in Japan the government of Switzerland has placed a ban on the humiliation of plants.

Read about the botanical interface that makes plant blogging possible and check out a product that will help you listen to your own plant.

Interested in this topic, check out these books: Plantwatching: how plants remember, tell time, form partnerships, and more / Malcolm Wilkins and Natural affairs: a botanist looks at the attachments between plants and people / Peter Bernhardt

The Chicken Ordinance

Interested in raising your own chickens? If you live in Ann Arbor you can keep up to four hens...with the consent of your adjacent neighbors.

Check out these library materials for more information about raising chickens...
How to Raise Chickens
The Complete Handbook of Poultry Keeping
and for the kids,
From Chick to Chicken
and The Joy of Chickens

Check out the cool chicken coops at Back Yard Chickens and My Pet Chicken.

Bandemer Park -- More Than Just Trees

Bandemer ParkBandemer Park

Bandemer Park, on the north side of town, is a hidden gem of Ann Arbor. This forty acre park borders a beautiful turn of the Huron River and provides access to a paved bike path on the west side of the river, and a wooden bridge on the east side of the river. With ample parking and convenient access off Route 14 or Barton Road, getting there is easy. Once you've arrived, take advantage of the opportunities for adventure, including a dirt bike jump course, a nine hole disc golf course, the Ann Arbor Rowing Club, and canoeing and kayaking on the river. Canoe and kayak rentals are available at the Argo livery, just a mile away. For a relaxing afternoon, there are picnic benches, pavilions (must be reserved), fishing spots, scenic walking paths, and pleasant vistas for observing wildlife. For more activities on the river, check out the Huron River Report, and The Fly Fisher's Huron available at the AADL.

Rowing on the River

paddlepaddle

What a great way to spend a fall day: paddling down the Huron at the River Ecology Paddle this Saturday, Sept. 27, 12:30 p.m. ~ 4 p.m. The tour starts at Dexter-Huron Metropark and includes a stop at the Dexter Cider Mill, home of the greatest donuts in the world and the oldest continuously operating Cider Mill in Michigan. To register for the paddle call 1-800-477-3191 or 734-426-8211.

Autumn

If you have looked at the woods next to the Traverwood branch parking lot lately, you can't help but notice that some of the leaves are already changing color. These are highly motivated trees, as the autumnal equinox is not until September 22nd. If you enjoy the season, you may be interested in planning some activities to celebrate the official start of Fall. The library carries books on fun fall activities, such as gourd crafts, fall gardening, pumpkin decorating, and how to make your own scarecrows.

Chronic Wasting Found in Michigan Deer

The Michigan Department of Agriculture and DNR confirmed the first known case of chronic wasting in deer in Michigan at a private deer facility. There is no evidence that it has spread to the wild population yet but DNR is asking hunters this fall to take their deer to check stations for sampling so the wild population can be better studied.

Chronic Wasting Disease affects deer, elk and moose and is believed to be caused by prions. You may have heard of prions before as the cause of Mad Cow Disease. Unlike Mad Cow Disease which has been shown to carry over into humans, there are no known human infections of chronic wasting. For more information about prion diseases you may be interested in the book The pathological protein : Mad Cow, Chronic Wasting, and other deadly prion diseases

For those interested in the Michigan side of things, the Michigan government has a site devoted to chronic wasting disease in Michigan along with information on other emerging diseases such as Bovine TB.

I'm Thirsty

oaktreeoaktree

If your trees could talk, they'd tell you they need a lot of watering right now. The bright sunny days and lack of rain are testing the timber of Tree Town trees ~ even mature trees will nees some help this year. The city's Tree Planting Guide has a good review on watering trees. When you mulch, remember to keep the mulch from touching the tree trunk or piling too high.

Suburban Wildlife with a South American Twist

When school ended, the 10-year-old classroom degu (South American rat) came home with us. The teacher told us that Cedar, named for her reddish fur, might not survive the summer, given her advanced age, in which case we should freeze her (near the cool-pops?) until fall, when she would get a proper school funeral. I did not fall immediately in love with this creature, despite her being cute, caged, fairly clean, and friendly. Instead, I clicked into the Oxford English Dictionary, to learn that a degu is “a rat-like animal, rather smaller than the Water Vole, the head and body measuring from seven and a half to eight inches in length.” A definition often makes me fonder. Now I like Cedar, sort of, and having her around has made me curious about the new book Central Park in the Dark: More mysteries of urban wildlife. Who knows, maybe Cedar has dozens of cousins in New York City.

Finally! It IS easy to be green!

If you are like me, you are interested in being more socially responsible, like going beyond simple recycling and doing your part to help save our planet for future generations, but you don't have lots of money and time to devote to "going green". Sound familiar? If so, then you need to get yourself a copy of Renee Loux's Easy green living : the ultimate guide to simple, eco-friendly choices for you and your home. This lifestyle guide is PACKED with information about the simple, affordable choices we can make to avoid toxins, conserve natural resources and generally be more eco-smart. Whether you choose to take tiny baby steps or completely overhaul your wasteful self, you will find the answers you need. One of my favorite easy eco-tips is the following: "About 100 million trees and 28 billion gallons of water are used annually to produce the 5.8 million tons of catalogs and unsolicited wads of preapproved credit card offers and other junk that arrive at our homes - 44 percent of which are thrown away unopened....Stop credit card offers. Go to www.optoutprescreen.com, where the consumer credit report industry lets you opt out of receiving preapproved and prescreened credit card offers." Now imagine if we all did that!

American Earth: Environmental Writing Since Thoreau

American Earth, a hefty collection of essays and poetry, reads like a who's who of the shining stars of the environmental movement. Such literary environmentalists as Wendell Berry and John Burroughs; contemporary foodies Barbara Kingsolver and Michael Pollan; poets Mary Oliver and Gary Snyder and activists John Muir, Julia Butterfly Hill and Cesar Chavez are represented, and join the voices of 92 other advocates for protecting and preserving the natural heritage of our planet. Edited by Bill McKibben, a prolific author and activist himself, this timely and thought-provoking book gives a picture of the long history and creativity of the environmental imagination. The range of material and diversity of authors - farmers, scientists, university professors, economists, singers, two presidents and one vice-president - means there is something here for everyone.

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