YOU can make the CHANGE

With the weather, Rains and Mother Nature all pounding the delicate Heronry of over 10 years, at Holland Ponds Park, Shelby Twp., this unique and wonderful place will soon be taking more abuse and facing challenges it just may not be able to withstand.

After extensive ground cover cuttings and plant removal all along many of the Heron and Egret feeding ponds, by Shelby Twp Parks & Recreation this past late Winter, many of the Turtles and Frogs have died off or not returned to their natural habitats. Ground cover around the edges of any natural healthy Pond is extremely important. Yet still, Parks & Recreation has removed much of it around the Ponds closest to the Parking area. For what appears to be, NO apparent reasons, or again, without understanding the importance of interconnections of a healthy ecosystem.

This is puzzling, especially since on staff in Shelby Twp. is one of the states most educated and knowledgeable Naturalist at the Shadbush Nature Center, Dan Farmer. Someone Parks & Recreation employs and who could very well tell those in charge, what a healthy habitat and ecosystem needs in attention and nurturing. It is not like maintaining a Baseball diamond, or Picnic shelter.

So……with a number of the feeding ponds at Holland Ponds now almost dead, bad weather and heavy rains undermining the Nesting Trees the Great Blue Herons use, they will be facing the biggest challenge thus far. MAN.

Parks & Recreation in Shelby Twp. along with the money backing of some $300,000 from our own state DNR, will be building a paved BIKE PATHWAY down the center of the Park. This exact same thing was attempted a few years ago at the them largest Great Blue Heron nesting site in West Bloomfield. That Heronry had almost 200 nests. They vanished almost overnight after the Parks system there built their BIKE PATHWAY along side the Heronry there.

Yet, with all this info, damage caused to the environment at Holland Ponds, Parks & Recreation of Shelby Twp. will begin constructing their BIKE PATHWAY down the center of Holland Ponds Park.

Did they talk with any experts? NOPE   Did they get a report from our own Department of Natural Resources along with the money? NOPE  Did they confer with the Naturalist, on staff with the Township? NOPE   Have they even contacted the people at Hiking Michigan, who have studied and video taped this Heronry for the last 10 years now? NOPE

So apparently there are no questions to be asked or answered at Holland Ponds. All is right and ripe, for a new BIKE PATHWAY to NOWHERE. GREAT. This sounds like a very logical and smart way to deal with the largest Great Blue Heron nesting site in S.E. Michigan. Does not seem to be much concern about anyone or anything but?  Think about this as you watch the video. See who cares about what. ME?

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Great Blue Herons under Great pressure!!!!!!

OneheronIt seems that over the last week or so, during or right after all the rains, the front heronry at Holland Ponds received some severe damage. Two of the largest nesting trees fell to the ground, as well as a couple of branches from still standing nesting trees, also cracked off and fell. This destroyed at least 8 active nests to our accounting. This is a major catastrophe to the Heronry, especially since all of these lost nests where active ones, with either hatchlings or eggs in each of them. In youngsters alone there is a loss of some 40-50 new young Herons.

Apparently in the cases of the two full Trees that came down, they where undermined by water and the shallow root system gave way, toppling these two nesting trees. There were also some decayed branches that let loose, cracking free from the main nesting tree and bringing additional nests with them, to the ground.

On closer examinations, it appears that a number of other branches and nests are in jeopardy of not withstanding to much more punishment from Mother Nature and any further high winds or pelting rains.

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The picture on the left was taken in March. The picture on the right is just a small sampling of how many nests where lost in just this small area of the front Heronry at the Park

This is just a small example of the destruction in the front Heronry section of this Heron Colony. It is a perfect example of how delicate the balance between Nature, Weather and outside influences can be on such a unique and special place as a Great Blue Heronery nesting site.
A positive note here, is that a couple of years back, the Herons decided to start to build more nests a little further southwest of what was the original front area nesting sites. These nests are on higher ground with Trees more deeply rooted in the soil and not being undermined by some much standing water as with much of the front nesting sites. But this is not the only answer or fix to this delicate balance here at the Holland Ponds Colony.

HeronPairLook how quickly some many nests and future Heron youngsters where instantly wiped out. There are even mated herons that appear to be wandering the Colony in disbelief, with no available nests and no where to go at the moment. These are not resilient Birds. They had already bonded with a mate, mated, set up a nest, had eggs, and some some cases those eggs had already started to hatch. Then…..out of no where, they have NOTHING. Like many humans, they are lost, with no place to go, The common sense understanding that these mating pairs of Herons would just re-mate, rebuild a new nest and start all over, is not something we can expect to take place with Great Blue Herons. Through studies, this does not seem to be their way. That is why if chased off of an existing nest or bothered by man enough, these Birds will also just abandon their young and nests and leave.

The pressures being placed on these beautiful creatures by the weather, Mother Nature and Shelby Parks & Recreation is starting to become to much for this well established Colony. Soon…..they will be forced to endour a new Bike Pathway down the center of the Park, with the constant moving Bike traffic, up and down this new Pathway. This is what destroyed the 200 nest Heronry in West Bloomfield, many years ago. Just how much can this unique setting withstand? The massive cuttings around the many ponds at the Park have destroyed or eliminated many of the Turtles and most of the frogs in these ponds. The raw stripping of ground cover close along the banks of these feeding ponds have eliminated major food sources for the nesting Herons as well. Just how much pressure can this Colony withstand?

PondsSIGNwideDoes Shelby Twp. Parks & Recreation even care about this very unique environment they are lucky enough to have for their residents and guests in their own Community? The largest Great Blue Heron nesting site in Southeastern Michigan is not special enough to want to take care of such a place? Instead……they add to the pressure that Nature and the weather already put on these beautiful birds and their 10 year nesting Colony.

I am ashamed that people would knowingly do such things. I am ashamed that after even being told by others who know so much more then they do about these great Birds, they ignore the advice and facts and just continue to do the worst possible things they could do to help in the pre-destruction of this Great Blue Heronry. Their blind focused vision of a silly Bike Pathway to nowhere, except right through a Nature wonder, and considering this Bike Pathway to nowhere, more important then this unique Great Blue Heron nesting site, borders on criminal.

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Ask Shelby Twp. Parks & Recreation why their Bike Pathway plans are more important then these 10 year nesting Herons, producing over 100 youngsters each year to be help maintain the Heron populations in Michigan. They can build as many new Bikes as the factory can pump out. How about new baby herons. What’s the plans there?

There is a scheduled HERON FESTIVAL coming up soon, sponsored by Parks & Recreation. REALLY??????? celebrating what? The death of these magnificent Birds. They are not only fighting the normal battles of weather and what nature throws at them, but here at Holland Ponds these herons have to withstand the destructive and manipulative forces of a Parks & Recreation that refuses to understand, seek knowledge or bother to do anything but move forward on the Bike Pathway to Nowhere, while they blindly destroy the habitat and natural environments around the feeding Ponds at the Heronry.

Bikers are Nature lovers too, and I know of no Bike riders who would want this kind of sacrifices of such a unique and special place as these heron nesting sites, for just another Bike Pathway to Nowhere. And what about our own state DNR donating $300,000 of OUR money, to Shelby Twp. to match, to get all of this destruction completed. Can you believe that one? The Department of Natural Resources, spending money to destroy the largest Great Blue heronry in Southeastern Michigan without any research or investigation into the matter what so ever. Just the lone word of a Shelby Twp. Parks official who states……No Problem.


So Many Special Michigan Places

When asked what are my favorite places to visit in Michigan, I usually hesitate and then respond with…….Everywhere. There are just so many beautiful, mysterious and special places through out the entire state, it is impossible to start to even list them.

There are places I have been hundreds of times and will continue to return to them. There are places that when ever I am within 50 miles of them, I will stop there, if not just for an hour or so, to reconnect with that place. I gets hard traveling around the state sometimes. 🙂 Pick a destination and by the time we stop at a half dozen places for just a quick stop, it took us 3 times the projected time to get there.

I was going through some vacation pictures recently, and just selected a few shots that brought back some nice memories and places I thought everyone should visit at some point in their Michigan lives. GO GET OUTDOORS anywhere in Michigan. It is all Wonderful!

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Mother Earth Day

TheGatheringMany Moons ago, all over our planet lived peoples who’s only goals, in modern day terms, were….NOTHING. They only wanted to live in harmony with Mother Earth. They understood that this harmony produced the best lives for their families & people. Their focus was on the Truth, Integrity, Honesty, Values strong and solid enough to be passed down from generation to generation. They lived all over the planet, on every continent. Yet we have almost no evidence of their existences. That is because they left few scares on Earth for future generations to discover.

Then came the Modern Man. As his building and Monuments rose to the sky, the Trees came down to the ground. He believed he could do it better then Nature could. That HIS ways were better then the Natural Ways. So they built, dug deep into the ground, tossed their unwanted things out of sight, and out of mind. They believed THEY could fix any of the damages they caused. THEY could remold the Natural world to their liking and it would be Good.

Every one of these so called Modern Man Civilisations have gone away now. Our own modern civilisations are here for only a short period compared to many of the previous civilisations. Yet we believe it is all invincible. That it will be here forever. Our lack of understanding our own planets History causes us to make the same mistakes that every Civilisation have made prior to our own existence here on the Planet.

The original peoples of the World did not have the answers to every question, nor did they live perfect lives. But they did understand the very important rudimentary things needed to live “Along With Mother Earth”, and not egotistically believe they could control Mother Earth. Those basic understandings were their most significant accomplishments and what allowed them to survive so much longer then any so called Modern civilisation ever has.

There must be something to this. These original peoples did not survive and flourish as they did, just out of pure luck. All over the world they lived in harmony with the Earth. And it worked. Do we learn from this?

Monday, April 22nd is the official holiday called EARTH DAY. What will YOU do for that one single Day? Will you read of our ancestors? Our History here on the Planet? Try and clean up some of the messes we have made almost everywhere? What ever you do, Honor Mother Earth. A healthy Earth means a healthy Mankind. It really is that simple.


VEGFEST 4/21/2013

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VEGFEST  2013
Suburban collection showplace 46100 Grand River, Novi, MI. 48374

Event Details:

April 21, 2013      11 a.m.– 5 p.m.
Suburban Collection Showplace, Novi, Michigan
$7 prepaid / $10 admission at event (under six free)

Join the Group on FACEBOOK: Sunday, April 21, 2013

  • Michigan’s largest vegetarian organization will present VegFest 2013 annual vegan tastefest, health, and environmental expo at Suburban Collection Showplace in Novi on April 21. VegFest brings a variety of experts, innovative products, and activities
  • Ticket 10 $ at the Door, 7 $ online http://vegmichigan.org/activities/vegfest/preorder/
  • The online ticket sale ends few days before the event. Buy Now!
  • Children under 6 are free!
  • The event will feature talks by some of the nation’s foremost experts on plant-based nutrition, cooking demonstrations, children’s activities, and a food court featuring delicious options from local restaurants, bakeries, caterers, and food companies. Also included will be national brand samples, eco-friendly products, cruelty-free fashion, door prizes, literature, cookbooks and more. All vegan, of course!

Free bite-sized food samples from the following Restaurants :http://vegmichigan.org/activities/vegfest/restaurants/

  • Schedule of Events and Speakers
  • Room 1
  • 11:45 – Jim Corcoran
  • 12:00 – Scott Jurek
  • 1:00 – Carol Leifer
  • 2:00 – John Salley
  • 3:00 – Dr. Neal Barnard – “Power Foods for the Brain”
  • Room 2
  • 12:00 – Ruby Roth
  • 1:00 – Tina Miller of Meijer
  • 2:00 – Jan Kemp of Whole Foods Market
  • 3:00 – Thomas Lahser of Inn Season Café
  • Food Demonstration Schedule:
  • 1:00 p.m. – Tina Miller of Meijer
  • Savory mushroom rice bowl
  • Caramelized pineapple crumble
  • 2:00 p.m – Jan Kemp of Whole Foods Market
  • Tangy bean salad with carrots and green onions
  • Chocolate ganache
  • 3:00 p.m. Thomas Lasher of Inn Season Café
  • SouthWestern Black Bean Quinoa Salad
  • Exhibitor at VegFest:
  • 93.9 The River Radio
  • A-1 Organic Lawns, L.L.C.
  • All Species Kinship
  • Animal & Society Institute
  • Animals Asia Michigan Volunteer Group
  • Arbonne International
  • Be Natural Organics
  • Birmingham Royal Oak Medical Group
  • Beijo Bags
  • Castle Wellness
  • Country Life Natural Foods
  • Committee to Ban Fracking
  • Design Specimen, LLC
  • Detroit Vegan Soul
  • Door to Door Organics
  • Dr. Kracker
  • Erin Renee Soaps
  • For Animals
  • Friends of Fisher Mansion
  • Green Daffodil
  • Herbal SereniTea LLC
  • The Herbivore Clothing Company
  • The Humane Society of the United States
  • Integrative Oral Medicine, Douglas Thompson, DDS
  • International Society of Krishna Consciousness
  • Irene’s Myomassology Institute
  • Joshua Tree Investments
  • Mercy for Animals
  • Miessence-Certified Organics
  • Motor City Greyhound Rescue
  • Metropolitan Health Services
  • Monkey Bar Gym Detroit
  • Nurtured By Mother Nature, LLC
  • Organic Buying Club
  • PETA
  • PETfection
  • Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine
  • Plant Peace Daily
  • Poochie Koo: Stylish collars, leads and more for the modern pet lover
  • Project Grow Community Gardens
  • Puppy Mill Awareness of SE Michigan
  • Rallis Raw Icepressed Olive Oil
  • Renewal by Andersen
  • Salt Sensations
  • SanareLife, Inc.
  • SASHA Farm
  • Sierra Club Southeast Michigan
  • Smile: Sell More with Amazing Customer Service book
  • Southeastern Michigan Animal Rights Team
  • Subtle Verse
  • Sweet Sweat, LLC
  • TAP in Tune – The Matchmaker of Exercise Music
  • Tower Garden by NSA/Juice Plus
  • Vegan Outreach
  • Vitamix
  • Wildtree Herbs

– See more at: http://vegmichigan.org/activities/vegfest/

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Birds & Brews Meetings

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A quick reminder that Birds & Brews is coming up next week!We are featuring Michigan Audubon’s Conservation Director, Tom Funke.  Tom will be presenting on MAS bird sanctuaries. These 19 sanctuaries protect more than 5,000 acres of important wildlife habitat. Rivers, lakes, marshes, bogs, fens, grasslands, hardwoods and northern conifer communities are found in these habitats, many protecting endangered species of animals and plants.

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Event Details:

Wednesday, April 10th
  • 6:00 – 6:45 p.m. – Social hour
  • 6:45 p.m. – Presentation by Tom Funke
  • Place – Bailey’s Pub, 22091 Michigan Ave, Dearborn
  • RSVP’s are required for this event / shelleyupnorth@gmail.com

In May, we will not have a Birds & Brews, but I highly encourage you to consider attending the Tawas Birding Festival. Registration is now open for the 2013 Tawas Point Birding Festival, which takes place May 16-19 in Iosco County, Michigan. The event will feature guided birding walks at the area’s best hotspots, programs and talks by some of Michigan’s leading wildlife experts, the Michigan Audubon bookstore, and, of course, the opportunity to enjoy the company of hundreds of your fellow birders. http://tawasbirdfest.com/

On June 12th, Birds & Brews will be meeting at the Wildbirds Unlimited Store in Canton. Birds & Brews members Brian & Michele Hintz were kind enough to offer their store as well as provide a 20% discount to any bird supply purchases you may want to make.  There will be some light refreshments provided. More details will be provided as the date gets closer.

Until then, happy spring birding!

Shelley Martinez

www.michiganbirdsandbrews.blogspot.com


BE a healthy Outdoors….BE Michigan

So many people want Michigan to BE something else. The “Trails State”, “The Automotive State”, “The Motor City”, etc. Our official State Tag is: The Great Lakes state. And it is this motto that does explain just what Michigan truly is. It is NOT, what us humans have created here. It is NOT what we want to sell to others. It IS what has been our heritage since we became a state in 1837. The Waters, Lakes, Rivers and Streams that all make up the largest collection of fresh water in the world, OUR Great Lakes.

Michigan is all the things that make up those Great Lakes. Healthy Forests and meadows are required to have these Great Lakes. The abundant wild life, Trees and Plants that go along with a healthy outdoor environment. These are the things that define our beautiful state of Michigan. Not the man made Bike Pathways, not the man made created outdoor Recreation. None of those things could exist of not for a healthy environment surrounding them.

There is nothing wrong with Outdoor Recreation. It is something every Michigander has participated in, in some way, for most of their lives. It is embedded into most of our lives. So should the protection of those Natural Resources that make everything else possible.

Think about something for a moment. Who would come to our state and ride our Bike Pathways all around the state, if most of them ran through a collection of Invasive Species, contaminated areas, unhealthy ecosystems and rotting old infrastructures in most of our Parks? Think about it for a moment. That kind of thinking is backwards. Get the state healthy once again, rebuild the infrastructure in our decaying Parks, and nurture the beauties we have had, until recently, with all we can muster.

Do not let Plant, Fish and insect Invaders destroy our Forests and Waterways while we are focused on building new Nature. We are not capable of building new Nature. Nor is leveling off the natural places we have to construct new Recreational joy rides, a logical replacement for a simple healthy Natural Resources based Michigan.

A healthy Michigan means EVERYONE wins. Not just the Critters, trees and Plants, but us humans that enjoy the outdoors. True outdoor Recreation requires a healthy Forest, a Clean Lake and a diverse ecosystem for everyone to have a great Outdoor experience. Not what man can create, build or adjust to suite his supposed needs and wants.


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