Take a Hike @ Mary Beth Doyle Nature Area

Thursday September 4, 2014: 7:00 pm to 8:30 pm -- Mary Beth Doyle Nature Area

This event is intended for all ages.

Celebrate National Wilderness Month with a hike along Malletts Creek, through the woods and wetlands of this 81.4-acre park. A staff naturalist from Natural Area Preservation (City of Ann Arbor) will lead the hike.

Meet at the park entrance parking lot off Packard Road, across from Easy Street and just southeast of Cobblestone Farm, or park at the Malletts Creek Branch (3090 E. Eisenhower) and walk a half mile east along Eisenhower and Packard to the park entrance.

Let it Snow!

Snow is on its way, and with it comes plenty of cold-whether fun. From building snowmen to sledding down giant hills, there are lots of great winter activities that can only be done while snow is on the ground. Since the season of snow is almost upon us, I was very excited to stumble upon this book, Snow Play: How to Make Forts & Slides & Winter Campfires, Plus the Coolest Loch Ness Monster and 23 Other Brrrilliant Projects in the Snow by Birgitta Ralston.

If you’re looking for some creative new ways to play in the snow this winter, then this is the book for you. Learn how to make snow ghosts with glowing eyes, marble runs made out of snow, glisten ice charms, and much more. While some of the projects will work great with young children, others require lots of time and special techniques to complete. Fortunately, each project comes with a description of the project’s time frame, difficulty, the type of snow required (fresh, sticky, deep, compressed), the types of tools required, and the number of people needed to complete it.

Floral Bouquet Workshop

Tuesday February 4, 2014: 7:00 pm to 8:30 pm -- Malletts Creek Branch: Program Room

This event is intended for adults and teens (grades 6 and up).

Tracy Swinburn, of Ann Arbor's Red Poppy Floral Design, returns for this hands-on flower workshop.

Learn to make a small hand-tied bouquet for your sweetie, yourself or just for fun. Pretend it's not winter and enjoy a hands-on opportunity to play with flowers!

Primates: The Fearless Science of Jane Goodall, Dian Fossey and Birute Galdikas

From author Jim Ottaviani’s boundless curiosity and research springs another fascinating graphic historical science comic. Primates relates the stories of three female scientists and how their life experiences brought them to discovery in the world of primates. All three women are protégés of anthropologist Louis Leakey and each find their niche of study – Jane Goodall researches chimpanzee behavior, Dian Fossey becomes a leading expert on mountain gorillas, and Birute Galdikas builds world awareness and understanding of orangutans.

The adventures of these three women who would come to know one another are ably illustrated by Maris Wicks who employs a cartoon style that infuses the energy and passion of each woman. Though cartoony the earth green/brown colors lend a realism that help the reader imagine the habitats in which these women live and work.

Take a Hike@ Barton Nature Area

Thursday May 8, 2014: 7:00 pm to 8:30 pm -- Barton Nature Area

This event is intended for all ages

The City of Ann Arbor Natural Area Preservation staff will lead a Spring nature walk in Barton Nature Area, a 102 acre park with wonderfully diverse natural features.

The park is in two sections: the larger is known locally as the oxbow, and connects to Argo Nature Area; the smaller is known as Foster, and is accessible only by boat from Barton Pond. The main trail in the oxbow is wood-chipped, and connects the two bridges that lead to the parking area. Most of this area is open field, but some areas are shrubby, and lower wet areas support sedges and marsh plants. Foster has a small trail through a relatively open woodland on its eastern side.

We'll meet in the parking lot off of Huron Drive just north of the intersection with Bird Road.

The Hidden Life of Wolves

From The Three Little Pigs to Little Red Riding Hood, the wolf has often been portrayed in European culture as a monster that is crafty and vicious, being viewed as either dangerous predators or rivals for food. However, other perceptions of the wolf include viewing the animal as a spirit animal, attributing human inner qualities to the creature or seeing the wolf as a source of scientific data. These concepts are challenged in The Hidden Life of Wolves, a fascinating book written by wildlife filmmakers Jim and Jamie Dutcher who argue that the wolf is not "the wolf of nightmares," "the spirit wolf," or "the managed wolf." Instead they favor the idea of "the social wolf."

The Dutchers chronicle the story of the Sawtooth Pack and the wolves’ reintroduction to their natural habitat in the Sawtooth Mountains in Idaho. The Dutchers lived in a tent alongside the pack for years witnessing the social behaviors of the wolf pack and drawing conclusions based on little before seen wolf actions. Throughout the Dutchers’ experience with the Sawtooth wolf pack, they were able to shed light on illusive habits of wolf packs in general, revealing the social lives of wolves. They observe the joy of the pack when pups are born as well as the mourning that occurs when the pack loses a member. Witnessing such events allows the Dutchers to conclude that wolves are more than the mythical creatures that are read about in fairy tales but instead are highly social creatures.

Not only is the information within the book detailed, but the photographs are beautiful and captivating. The Dutchers make a compelling case for the preservation of the wolf packs and their habitats. I would recommend this book for anyone who is interested in the social behaviors of animals and environmental issues.

Yardscaping

Have a corner in your backyard that needs some sprucing up? Have some unused objects hanging around that you just don't want to get rid of like an old, unused metal toolbox or some scraps of copper or aluminum tubing? Well, there are several books recently published that will give the outdoor artist in you some ideas for repurposing them. The Revolutionary Yardscape is every dumpster diver, scrap hound, or flea market enthusiast's dream, providing plenty of ideas for found items like plastic pallet strapping, wine bottle corks, reclaimed lumber, pipes, empty window frames, broken concrete slabs, and scrap stone, just for starters. It includes where to find specific items like at scrapyards or surplus sales. I love the reuse of an old oxygen tank from a hospital surplus sale as a planter! I also learned about items I never knew the name of like the reuse of a bollard as a garden hose guide. Projects range from very intensive to easy and he provides the info to get you through: like how to cut difficult materials including stone, steel, or acrylic sheets, or what to use to bend metal pipes. Another great book on this same subject is Handmade Garden Projects. I found the projects easier to accomplish in this book but just as creative. The easiest project was for garden lighting called: 'Canning Jar Lanterns', a great day project to do with kids. So whether you want an outdoor project to do in a day or over the course of many, these two books should give you plenty of ideas! For even more ideas click here.

Take a Hike @ Dolph and Lakewood Nature Areas

Thursday, August 15 | 7:00-8:30 PM | Dolph Nature Area | All Ages

Go on a nature walk with a staff naturalist from Natural Area Preservation (City of Ann Arbor) that will loop through both Dolph Nature Area and Lakewood.

Learn about native plants and trees, invasive plants, ecological restoration, and volunteer activities in Ann Arbor Parks.

Dress comfortably to walk and enjoy nature! Meet in the parking lot off Wagner Road, between Jackson Road and Liberty Street. This event is for all ages.

A Little Book of Sloth: A great book if you startle easily

Have you ever come across something so hideous it is adorable? That is how I feel about sloths. I love them. I love everything from their quiet and reserved nature to their fabulous hair (just look here to see what I’m talking about). So, when I stumbled across A Little Book of Sloth in the AADL catalog, I immediately knew I had to get my hands on it and once I did, it did not disappoint me. This book chronicles the efforts of the Sloth Sanctuary in Costa Rica, but mainly focuses on its inhabitants and their varying personalities. Highlighting the two different species of sloths, this book contains many fun little facts about these very, very slow creatures. For example, did you know that no one really knows how long a sloth can live? Or that the sloth has extra neck vertebrae so they can turn their heads up to 270 degrees? Amazing!

The author of this book is the zoologist Lucy Cooke who has a passion for those creatures that most people would not think of as cute or lovable. You can check out some of Lucy Cooke’s older blog posts at The Amphibian Avenger, which highlight some unlovable creatures she has worked with in the past, but be advised that she is writing for an adult audience so some of the content might not be appropriate for younger readers. If you want to follow her current adventures you can check out her Facebook page.

Michigan Wildlife Exhibits From The Leslie Science And Nature Center

This summer we welcome back three live animal exhibits from the Leslie Science and Nature Center.

Visit the Malletts Creek Branch to see an eastern newt in an aquatic enclosure along with some little pond bug friends (at least until he eats them all). Drop in to the Pittsfield Branch to visit a grey tree frog who may even sing to you if you’re lucky. And be sure to stop by the Traverwood Branch for a lifecycle exhibit of the cecropia moth, currently housing last year’s cocoons, that will hatch into North America’s largest native moth over the next 3-5 days. The moths only live for about one week, and we release them after a few days, so you’ll need to hurry if you want to see them before they’re gone. The moths reproduce by laying eggs that hatch into caterpillars, who will spend the summer growing through several impressive phases before building cocoons for the winter. You’ll get to witness multiple caterpillar instars simultaneously at any given time in the enclosure, try to identify them all!

Be sure to watch for this Friday's badge drop at play.aadl.org for a chance to earn Summer Game badges and points for visiting the critters, and read on for some sneak preview video!

Syndicate content