Join us for a nature walk at Mary Beth Doyle Park Thursday evening!

Some of you Summer Gamers might be familiar with Mary Beth Doyle Park after earning the Park Explorer badge that took you there! This final installment in our summer nature walk series is an opportunity to revisit this lovely wetland area, or see it for the first time if you've never visited before. The nature walk will take place this Thursday, September 4, from 7:00 to 8:30pm. The approximately 80-acre park has a long, unpaved trail that runs along Mallets Creek, which we will be exploring. The creek and surrounding ponds and wetland make for great wildlife viewing. A representative from Ann Arbor's Natural Area Preservation will lead the hike and provide interesting information as we explore the area.

We will meet in the parking area off of Packard Road. You can also park at the Mallets Creek branch of the AADL and walk half a mile east along Packard to the entrance of the park. Bring water and dress comfortably. Arrive a few minutes early to make sure that you don't miss the group before we set out on the walk!

Bat Festival: Stellaluna author is coming!

Mark your calendars for Sept. 27, when the 13th annual Great Lakes Bat Festival will happen 10 am - 5 pm at Washtenaw Community College. This festival is presented by the Organization for Bat Conservation and Ann Arbor Hands-On Museum. Among authors and speakers will be Janell Cannon, who wrote and illustrated the classic picture book Stellaluna. The festival offers families a chance to learn about the fascinating world of bats. Check it out!

The End of Night

"To go in the dark with a light is to know the light. To know the dark, go dark.
Go without sight, and find that the dark, too, blooms and sings, and is traveled by dark feet and dark wings.
" Wendell Berry

The End of Night: Searching for Natural Darkness in an Age of Artificial Light by Paul Bogard reminds us of the primal experience we are mostly living without these days: a dark night. Complete darkness enhances the health and vitality of humans through hormonal balance, improved sleep, reduced incidence of cancer and, most importantly to Bogard, by the wondrous, magical connection it enables to stars and the night sky. When was the last time you saw the Milky Way, shooting stars, or a constellation besides Orion? Think of the relationship our ancestors had with stars and darkness and you can sense what we are missing. Bogard’s book is enthralling and passionate.

Did you know that here in Michigan we have a rare and beautiful park where a completely dark night sky is protected, a sanctuary for darkness, where your eyes can actually switch to night vision? You can visit the Headlands International Dark Sky Park on the shores of Lake Michigan 365 days a year for free. The sixth park of its kind to be established in this country and the ninth in the world, you can find programs, trails and….stars.

Here’s a little test. When looking from space, where do you think is the brightest, most illuminated spot on the planet? Check here for the answer.

Hike @ Argo Nature Area tonight!

Join us and a representative from Ann Arbor's Natural Area Preservation on an informative nature walk tonight at 7:00pm at Argo Nature Area. This lovely 22-acre park runs along the Huron River offering beautiful views of the water through the oak, hickory and willow trees. The event will be a mixture of hiking the unpaved trail that runs along the river and learning about ecological restoration and native plants and animals from the NAP representative. Remember to wear comfortable clothing and bring water!

We will meet in the parking lot by the Argo Canoe Livery, just off of Longshore Drive.

Tonight!: Hike @ Barton Nature Area

The first of our nature walks this season will be this tonight, May 8 at 7:00pm at Barton Nature area! The nature walks that AADL hosts throughout the summer are made possible by our partnership with Natural Area Preservation and are lead by a representative from NAP.

Barton Nature Area is a 102-acre park in northwest Ann Arbor. The part that we will be hiking in is known as the oxbow, and connects to Argo Nature Area. There is a lovely smaller part of Barton Nature Area as well, the Foster area, which is only accessible by boat via crossing Barton Pond. On our hike we will see lots of beautiful spring vegetation as well as a variety of landscapes. The oxbow area, where we will hike, includes wet meadow and shrubland, prairie and old field, mesic forest and emergent marsh.

We will meet at the parking lot off Huron Drive just north of the intersection with Bird Road. Make sure to dress for walking and bring water if needed! Arrive a few minutes early to make sure you don't miss the beginning of the hike. It's a beautiful warm day out, so come join us!

Tonight: Gardening with Gusto with Karleen Shafer!

Now that the weather is finally beginning to warm up, many of us are thinking about getting our gardens started. Local landscape designer, author and Master Gardener Karleen Shafer will be at the Mallets Creek branch of the Ann Arbor District Library this evening to discuss various gardening topics. She will touch on pruning techniques, planting issues, building healthy ecological communities with plants, and creating a sense of space in your garden, no matter how large or small it may be. She will also be available for questions about more specific topics at the end of her talk.

Useful handouts on local invasive species and how to combat them will also be provided at the event. Karleen’s talk will begin at 7:00 tonight (Tuesday, May 6) in the large meeting room at Mallets Creek. Read more about Gardening with Gusto and about Karleen here!

AADL at the Earth Day Festival this Sunday

Come visit the Ann Arbor Distrct Library table at the 43rd Annual Ann Arbor Area Earth Day Festival this Sunday, April 27th from 12:00 to 4:00pm! Coordinated by the Environmental Education Network of Washtenaw and hosted at the Leslie Science and Nature Center, the Earth Day Festival is a fun-filled afternoon of exploration, activities and education for all ages. Over 40 local environmental, governmental and nonprofit organizations will have tables at the festival covering a wide range of topics including live animal demonstrations, sustainable agriculture, environmental quality testing and more. There will also be local food vendors at the festival.The AADL table will have a number of our science tools available for people to try out, including our portable digital microscope.

Admission to the festival is free, and the festival is a zero waste event. Lots of recycling bins will be available and patrons are encouraged to bring their own refillable water bottles. You can read more about the festival here.

Peter Seeger, iconic folksinger and political activist, has died

Pete Seeger, as beloved for his enduring folk songs as for his principled political activism for six decades, has died.

Seeger began his singing career as part of the Weavers in 1948, performing tunes of peace. Just seven years later, McCarthyism caught up with Seeger. The singer refused to testify. After years of legal wrangling, Seeger was convicted of contempt in 1961. A year later that conviction was overturned on a technicality.

For years, Seeger was blacklisted and banned from performing in schools and concert venues. He refused to be silent, writing and demonstrating whenever he could.

He was the inspiration for many folksinging giants, including Joan Baez who said of Seeger: "We all owe our careers to Pete Seeger." and Peter, Paul, and Mary who made famous Seeger's If I Had a Hammer. Other long-enduring Seeger classics are Where Have All the Flowers Gone and Turn! Turn! Turn!.

In 1994, the National Endowment of the Arts bestowed on Seeger the National Medal of Arts. In 1996, he won his first Grammy and was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. Twelve years later, he won his second Grammy. And just one year later, in a stunning moment of political validation, he performed at a celebratory concert in Washington, D.C. two days before President Barack Obama's first inauguration.

Seeger stayed politically active until the end of his life. In 2011, he marched in New York City with the Occupy Movement. He performed in last year's FarmAid concert and, as a lifelong environmentalist, this past November he asked Russian President Vladimir Putin to release the Arctic 30 who were granted their freedom the following month.

In 2012, Seeger published Pete Seeger: In His Own Words.

Seeger, who was 94, died of natural causes.

Pete Seeger is no stranger to area music lovers. He made several trips to perform here. His benefit concert for the Ark is fondly remembered. Check out these Old News articles on this beloved muscian.

Film & Discussion: We Can't Eat Gold

Thursday November 14, 2013: 6:00 pm to 8:30 pm -- Downtown Library: 4th Floor Meeting Room

This event is intended for adults and teens (grade 9 and up).

“How does it feel when your ancestors have been surviving off the same land for thousands of years and then that land is threatened?” Residing about 250 miles southwest of Anchorage the people of Dillingham, Alaska have lived off of caribou and the world’s largest, most spectacular sockeye salmon fishery located in Bristol Bay. But now the proposed Pebble Mine that seeks to extract valuable deposits of gold, copper, and molybdenum threatens that way of life.

The documentary We Can’t Eat Gold, casts light on the sustainable living the people have made off the land and sea. It also gives voice to the concern of the Alaska Native elders and youths not only about the future but also the impacts the exploration of Pebble Mine has already had on the Bristol Bay region’s King Salmon and Caribou populations. With government approval pending will the people’s voice be heard?

Film director Joshua Tucker and producer Giovanna Marcantonio will be on hand to lead the discussion following the viewing of the film.

This event is cosponsored by the University of Michigan Community Scholars' Program.

Take an Autumn Prairie Plant Hike! @Furstenberg Nature Area

Sunday September 22, 2013: 1:00 pm to 3:00 pm -- Furstenberg Nature Area

Natural Area Preservation (City of Ann Arbor) volunteer and Master Gardener Aunita Erskine lead a nature walk through Furstenberg's Native Garden.

Learn about the ecology of the park, how to identify many of the autumn prairie plants and how people have historically used some of the plants for food and medicine.

Furstenberg is off Fuller, across from Huron High School. Meet in the parking lot near the Native Plant Garden.

This event is intended for all ages.

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