City Of Ann Arbor 2013 Sustainable Ann Arbor Forums: Planning for Change in Our Community

Wednesday January 9, 2013: 7:00 pm to 8:30 pm -- Downtown Library: Multi-Purpose Room

This first in a series of four discussions (held monthly and ending in April) centers on Sustainable Systems, including the impacts of current and predicted weather changes in the community and on the City's constructed and natural infrastructure. Building on the public forums from last year, the 2013 forums will focus on planning for change in the community.

A think tank of local stakeholders, including University of Michigan faculty, representatives from community organizations, and city commissioners, join City of Ann Arbor staff and the public to discuss local sustainability concepts and efforts--past, present and future.

Teen Stuff: Young Naturalist Awards Offer Cash Prizes

The Young Naturalist Awards is an annual contest put on by the American Museum of Natural History that encourages scientists in grades 7 - 12 to explore a natural science question by making observations and reporting their findings. It is an essay contest that is designed like a scientific study, focusing on the fields of Biology, Ecology, Earth Science and/or Astronomy.

Entries may be submitted on the AMNH website from December 1, 2012 to March 1, 2013. Twelve cash awards, two for each grade level, will be awarded to the authors of the winning essays. The winning entries will be published on the Museum's website. Up to 36 finalists will receive a cash award of $50 and a certificate of recognition. Up to 200 semifinalists will receive a non-cash award and a certificate of recognition. The teachers of the top twelve winners will receive classroom resources and a free Seminars on Science course.

The AADL has many resources for those looking to enter the contest, including books on studying nature and exploring space and astronomy. We also have the Academic OneFile database available at all of our branches and available remotely to AADL cardholders, where you can find articles from many peer-reviewed journals in science, social science, and the arts for in-depth, scholarly research. The Stapp Nature Area is a great place to observe nature and it is adjacent to our Traverwood Branch.

For more information about the Young Naturalist Awards, including Rules & Regulations, How to Get Started and much more, please visit their website.

Controlled Burns in Ann Arbor’s Natural Areas

Wednesday, October 10 | 7:00-8:30 PM | Downtown Library | Multipurpose Rom

Prescribed or controlled burning is a technique sometimes used in forest management, farming, or prairie restoration. Fire is a natural part of both forest and grassland ecology and controlled fire can be a tool for foresters. Controlled burning also stimulates the germination of some desirable forest trees, thus renewing the forest.

The Autumn 2012 Burn Season is upon us! Join us as the City of Ann Arbor's Natural Area Preservation staff discusses what controlled burns are and why they are used in Ann Arbor's natural areas. This presentation is recommended for anyone interested in helping with burns, as well as anyone simply interested in learning more about why and how they are conducted.

Research Scientists From the United States Geological Survey: Wednesday, September 19th at 7pm

Join us at our downtown location on Wednesday, September 19th at 7pm when four members of the United States Geological Survey will talk about their latest research on the Great Lakes.

Dr. David Warner, a Research Fishery Biologist, will discuss the USGS Deepwater Science Program spanning Great Lakes ecology, ecology of invasive species and remote sensing in ecology.

Dr. Bruce Manny, a Research Fishery Biologist, will speak about his work designing, researching and monitoring activities to restore spawning and nursery habitat for valued native fish species in the Huron-Erie Corridor.

Joseph Baustian, a Research Analyst, will discuss his work in the GLSC Coastal Ecosystems Branch currently focused on restoring coastal marshes in the Great Lakes basin.

David Galbraith, a Geographic Information Systems Specialist, working in the GLSC Coastal Ecosystems Branch, will speak about his work investigating the landscape ecology of invasive wetland flora.

Grown in Detroit

Detroit is a city that has been reviving itself for decades, as new generations bring new life to the city. With the city’s growth has also come growth in urban agriculture, as people are turning vacant lots into fertile land. Some call it the greening of a gray city.

The documentary film Grown in Detroit focuses on a group of students at Detroit’s Ferguson Academy for Young Women, a high school for pregnant teens, as they work in the school's urban garden and learn how to grow nutritious food for their children. One of only three schools in the country for this population, the curriculum focuses on helping these teens care for themselves and their children, and uses urban farming as a means to teach them.

The students featured in Grown in Detroit are at first underwhelmed by the amount of physical labor required for farming. The teen moms eventually realize that they can profit from the food they are growing, as well as provide nutritious food for their children and themselves, all stemming from the fruits of their labor. It’s a beautiful film that places an eye on this unique opportunity happening for these girls -- right here in Detroit.

In addition to being available on DVD at AADL, the film is also available for instant online streaming to logged-in AADL cardholders here! You can also watch it on the Grown in Detroit website, where you pay whatever denomination you want in order to view it.

Composting

The comforting reality is: you cannot fail at composting. Nature’s whole impulse is to break down organic substances and in her service are gazillions of bacteria, fungi and crawly critters. It will happen slowly without any intervention. For the purposes of a gardener, or just your average recycler, it is very useful to speed up the process and that is where this lovely book comes in to tell you how.

I have read all the books in our collection on compost and more besides (ok, I love the stuff) but, though they all individually have merits, all you need is Composting by Bob Flowerdew. With a name like that you’ve got to trust this guy. A small, handsome book, in this case less is more, and he says it all succinctly and clearly and gets it right.

Everyone can compost. Initially it takes some effort to get set up, but then it is painless. You can take your yard scraps and weeds, your kitchen scraps and garbage, that inedible zucchini you overlooked in the garden which grew to baseball-bat length, your leaves in the fall and, if you are lucky enough to find a source, manure from animals that eat grass, and turn it all into rich, ‘black gold’, which will enrich your soil and actually inoculate it against pests which like to attack what grows in your garden. It will make your vegetables and bushes and flowers grow beyond belief and give you a rich medium for your houseplants and seedlings. Add to that the fact that you keep all of those things out of the waste cycle. Everything wins! Besides it is magical to watch and participate in the life cycle of nature.

The best apologist for compost turns out to be Walt Whitman. His poem, “This Compost” is a beautiful statement about the efficiency with which the Earth will transform waste to fertility.
“Now I am terrified at the Earth, it is that calm and patient, It grows such sweet things out of such corruptions.”

"Tales of the New World"

From time to time, the desire or the time to commit to a full length novel just isn't there; this is where short stories come in. The best selling point of short stories is that if you are not particularly interested in one story, you can move on the the next without the guilt that can come with putting an entire book to rest without consideration.

Tales of the New World is a collection of ten short stories by PEN/Faulkner Award winner Sabina Murray. Some of the stories are firsthand accounts and others outside perspectives of exploring new lands around the world. Murray delves into the complex world of writing historical fiction focused on recognized historical figures. A few well-known explorers are represented in this compilation, including Magellan and Balboa, as well as lesser known explorers, such as English-born Mary Kingsley.

While there is a definite tone of bleakness and isolation, Tales of the New World offers a fascinating glimpse into the perspective of world explorers, with fictional tales of adventure tinged with strife.

Orion Book Awards: Sacred & Subversive Literature

Orion blends ethics, opinion, literature, nature, economy, travel and art into the most thoughtful and beautiful environmental magazine available. Its writers are intelligent, brave, eloquent and informed. It examines the most urgent and complex cultural and environmental issues of our time, while offering inspiration and optimism. Hope for the future echoes in its pages, without glossing over its belief that we have work to do.

Every year in April, Orion rewards the five books published the previous year which they feel best deepen our connection to the themes of the magazine. One winner and four finalists receive the honors for how they engage the reader with a fresh and thought-provoking awareness of the human relationship with the natural world. Orion also publishes an extended list of recommended fiction and non-fiction titles in 2011 Books We Really Liked.

The five finalists for the award this year are all owned at your Ann Arbor District Library:
Fire Season by Philip Connors. Read more about it here.
Oil on Water by Helon Habila. Read more here.
Swamplandia by Karen Russell. Read more here.
The View from Lazy Point by Carl Safina. Read more here.
Raising Elijah by Sandra Steingraber. Read more here.

Sustainable Ann Arbor Forums 2012: Community

Thursday April 12, 2012: 7:00 pm to 8:30 pm -- Downtown Library: Multi-Purpose Room

This final in a series of four monthly discussions co-sponsored by the City of Ann Arbor focuses on Community and includes discussion on housing, economic development, public safety, recreation, outreach, civic engagement, and stewardship of community resources. The presentation will examine past successes and challenges, and feature a think tank of local stakeholders. The ensuing discussions will help guide the city's sustainability planning efforts.

View Ann Arbor's current environmental goals.

Sustainable Ann Arbor Forums 2012: Public Discussion

Thursday March 29, 2012: 6:00 pm to 8:00 pm -- Downtown Library: 4th Floor Meeting Room

On March 29th from 6pm to 8pm, the City of Ann Arbor will hold a public meeting to discuss a set of draft overarching sustainability goals developed from existing plans and goals by commissioners from each of the key sustainability commissions and a team of city staff. These goals are an important step in developing Ann Arbor's sustainability framework.

The sustainability goals build on goals already developed through a variety of public processes - from city plans, council resolutions, and the council-approved ten environmental goals. These draft sustainability goals include the three key aspects of sustainability - environment, economy, and equity.

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