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 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

Huron River Day

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The 30th Annual Huron River Day is this Sunday, July 11 at Gallup Park from 12 to 4 pm. There will be lots of great activities for the whole family, including:

•$5 Canoeing & Kayaking
•Children's Activity Tent with National Wildlife Federation
•Storytelling 12:30 and 3:00 p.m. by Tricia Travis
•Butterfly House with LIVE butterflies!
•Fun River Exhibits
•Music & Drumming by Laz of Gemini and Lori of Drummunitiy
•Shakespeare Theater Performances
•Geochaching
•Classic Small Boat Show
Fly Fishing Demonstrations

Sounds like fun! See you on the river!

Join us as WeeRecycle!

WeeRecycleWeeRecycle

You are never too young to protect the environment! On Monday, July 12 from 10:30-11a, the Ecology Center of Ann Arbor will be at the Traverwood Branch for WeeRecycle, sharing stories, songs, and experimenting with playdough to teach preschoolers and kindergarteners about the importance of recycling, and how they can participate in the process.

Are You Going to the Mayor's Green Fair . . .

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This Friday, June 11, 6 ~ 9 p.m. on Main Street in beautiful Downtown Ann Arbor the Mayor will be hosting the 10th annual Green Fair. Live music, hands-on activities, BikeFest2010, organic "light fare" foods, cool zippy cars and more. There will be walking tours of retrofitted downtown buildings and 826 Michigan -- the Robot people -- will be doing great activities for kids. Hey, someone may even be selling parsley, sage, rosemary and thyme.

The Urban Homestead

The urban homestead: your guide to self-sufficient living in the heart of the city, by Kelly Coyne & Erik Knutzen, features a wealth of information for eco-conscious city dwellers looking to do their own food harvesting and preserving and get involved in urban homesteading. Recently released is also a revised and expanded edition of the book that features new projects. For further information, the authors also maintain an excellent blog (The Homegrown Evolution) for those interested in this topic.

The Urban Homestead focuses on how to depend less on big box living and features ways of living a more self-sufficient life by growing your own food, saving energy or producing your own, preserving food, all while living in an urban area with limited land.

No Impact Man, on DVD

New York City resident Colin Beavan and his wife and toddler daughter fight the “consumerism coma” and go a year of having “no impact” on the environment. For them this means, among other things, no Starbucks lattes, no toilet paper, no cars, buying nothing new, and eventually going without electricity. His wife has a hard time at first, but she continues to support her husband’s passion and plans for writing his book, No impact man: the adventures of a guilty liberal who attempts to save the planet. The documentary No Impact Man chronicles their life during this period.

I did cringe at the no refrigerator factor, and the potty training a two year old with no toilet paper, but it is a very interesting look/ reminder at what humans rely on, and the impact some of our consumption has on the world. His blog is an extension of the book and his mission- check it out.

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

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Ann Arbor Area Earth Day Festival

Ann Arbor Area Earth Day TreeAnn Arbor Area Earth Day Tree

The Ann Arbor District Library will be at the Ann Arbor Area Earth Day Festival on Sunday, April 25th from noon to 4 p.m. at Washtenaw Community College - Morris Lawrence Building. Visit our booth to make a greeting card using recycled materials.

Check out these great library materials about Earth Day:
Stories To Go: Our Earth
Celebrating Earth Day: A Sourcebook Of Activities And Experiments
The Man From Clear Lake : Earth Day Founder Senator Gaylord Nelson
Every Day is Earth Day

Free e-Waste Recycling

Do you have an computer, monitor, or other type of e-Waste that you want to get rid of but don't know how to? The Office of Campus Sustainability along with Ann Arbor Public Schools are sponsoring a free event to recycle unwanted electronics in a responsible, earth friendly way. This event is a part of U-M's month long celebration of the 40th anniversary of Earth Day. On Saturday, April 24 between 9am and 2pm you can bring any unwanted computer systems, A/V equipment, hand held devices, and other types of e-Waste to Pioneer High School for safe and environmentally conscious recycling. e-Waste is the fastest growing waste stream and distributes hazardous chemicals into the environment. By recycling your e-Waste in this way, you will be protecting the environment, conserving natural resources, acting responsibly, and providing raw materials for more products to be made.

There is also an institutional e-Waste event on Thursday April 22 and Friday April 23 between 9am and 2pm at Washtenaw Intermediate School District. Registration is required for this event.

For more information on this event and how to spread the word, visit their website.recyclerecycle

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