Tag Archives: Hiking Michigan

We all NEED Mother Nature

I have written about how a healthy environment leads to healthy living for everyone. I have also written about how important things like Clean Water and an ecosystem that is diverse and full of different species, all interconnected with one another. Including us humans.

This last year I have been very ill on and off and it has caused me alot of time indoors. I thought I could just wing-it and adapt for a bit while I recouped. Write about the critters, birds and environment. Make some new Maps, etc. But I discovered that this kind of adapting is not as easy as it is said.

My whole life, like many of you out there, has been various life adaptations. It is the way of life. All new things are not just easily encompassed into our lives. We must adapt, embrace and adjust to many new things. Some of which we do not choose for ourselves.

I have found the confinement indoors, just barely tolerable. I have adapted to everything that has entered my life, my whole life. But being confined indoors. or should I say, “Not being allowed into the Natural world”, has been almost unbearable.

I now have a completely different understanding of not getting connected with Mother Nature. I used to just think it meant an individual was missing out on some wonderful things by not experiencing the Natural world, critters, wildlife, Trees, flowers, birds, water and the whole thing. But I now see that it is way more then just missing out on those things.

As I have sat at times, for weeks, in the house, I have learned what Nature deprivation is truly all about. It is not just an inconvenience, or something bothersome. It is the total removal of such important input, that I now wonder how those who do not get at least some outdoor experiences can even survive and have a well rounded existence.

Yes……there are those with absolutely NO CHOICE in the matter, and I have and will continue to try and show them what I can, when I can, the beauties, wonders and growth Mother Nature has to offer all of us.

But for those who DO have a CHOICE, and do not use it, I now understand why there are so many problems in today’s world. Without input from the Natural world and Mom, there ends up being a huge hole in ones existence. How do you understand all aspects of what is happening in the world without understanding and experiencing Nature in some way?

I now see that there is a place in each of us that NEEDS to be filled with Natural things of some manner. Maybe something different for each of us, but still that experience is NEEDED by each of us.

GO GET OUTDOORS!  Do it now! It doesn’t matter what it is, just DO IT. Hike, Fish, Bird, Geocache, just sit by the lake. Do It with respect. Do not Conquer anything in Nature. Save that for the Sports field or Race course. DO NOT disrespect MOM. She keeps us all alive in so many different ways. And I now personally understand just how much she is needed in every ones life. A Healthy respected Mother Nature, is a healthy respectful Society. The connection is direct.



I just finished an article on what are the most important things needed for a healthy Planet and lives here in Michigan. It was a very informative research time to do this article. I just did not guess at what I personally thought should be done to have a better Michigan and Planet. I dug pretty deep, read quite a bit of Scientific studies and compared notes from many learned people who deal with these things on a daily basis.

A repeating fact kept ringing through my research. INTERCONNECTIVITY. The fact that Everything is interconnected in some way or another. Most of the Natural world is deeply interconnected to be able to survive and flourish. It all needs the other things that make up Nature to survive.

In fact……..I was impressed and a bit frightened by the fact on just how dependant almost every living thing was to everything else. A Flower needs the sunlight and rain to grow. It needs the help of the Bees and insects to pollinate and reproduce. The other plants and trees around it die and produce the nutrients to help feed that flower and help it flourish. And these are just the surface things that Flower needs to survive, grow and multiple.

Removing almost any one of even those basic things will disrupt the Flowers world completely. May even cause the death of that Flower. The death of that Flower will then affect the other plants, insects and life growing around that flower. This INTERCONNECTIVITY is everywhere in the Natural world and life.

But is the most overlooked common denominator in the world! Nothing is an island upon itself. You cannot just say……I will take away these trees and this particular habitat will remain the same. IT WILL NOT.

During my research for the previous posting on what are the most important things for life on our planet, this fact kept returning over and over again. I wasn’t looking for it, nor was I trying to make this observation a theme for anything. But through my research, it would always end up being the prime fact on the destruction of a species, the needs for another species to flourish, or the reason why our Grandiose Plans as mear mortals, would many times fail. We disregard the most common and needed fact in life and the Natural world. The Interconnectivity of all that is there. It takes many things to produce one in Nature. Remove one of those things and you maybe removing not only that one thing (a Flower) but you maybe destroying an entire ecosystem, or special habitat.

The prime reason we have a Department of Natural Resources here in Michigan and every other state in the USA is to look after these intrigue inner connections a healthy and flourishing habitat needs to grow, reproduce and remain healthy. Our Department of Natural Resources jobs are not to find Fun things for us to do in the Natural World. It is not here to try and control the Natural world with an arrogance that Man can rebuild or reconstruct Nature in his own image, his own way, while disregarding the direct connections between all life in the Natural world.

I am not picking on our DNR. I am concerned that the main focus of an Agency we have hired and pay for, has lost it’s way and no longer truly understands the INTERCONNECTIVITY of the Natural World. That should be their only focus and understandings. We can always create a State Department of FUN if need be. Please return to your assignments at hand. They are far more important and needed then a new Water slide, Bike Path, Racing course or any other Nature entertainment. The health of our Natural Resources reflects on the health of our Society. They are all Interconnected.

The PERFECT Picture


I get many, many pictures sent to me or posted on the various Hiking Michigan sites On-line. BEAUTIFUL pictures! But what makes these pictures beautiful? Is it the details in each picture? Is it the perfection in the control of the Camera and it’s settings? Or even the placement of the things that make up the picture?

All of these things do play a certain part in that PERFECT picture, BUT……it is that undefined “THING” that truly makes a picture Beautiful to me. That undefined thing maybe something as simple as the Outdoor spot itself. Or a Bird that is doing more then just sitting there. The Birders seem to be the most critical of their work.

Yes……it is great to see every feather on that close-up shot of a particular bird. BUT….seeing that same bird landing on the edge of a Feeder, or grabbing that insect in mid-flight tells so much more. For me, those are the most beautiful shots.

A couple of local Birders who post regularly, many times, will capture a Bird image as I described, yet still have much criticism of their work. It is great to always be working for perfection in your Camera abilities, but many times, these two individuals have already done that. I am talking about Dr. Bob and new friend Kim.

osprey-in-flight-w-sigHere is a recent picture of an Osprey, flying overhead, carrying some fresh grass to line it’s nest for the evening sleep. It would be one thing to get the picture of the Osprey itself……but to capture an image of it carrying fresh grass for it’s nest, and what kind of grass it traveled almost 2 miles to get special for it’s nest, makes this one of those PERFECT images to me. Beautiful in it’s form, and informative in what it is doing. Kim did an excellent job at grabbing this picture in a moments notice, after spotting the Bird from a distance, Identifying it, setting her Camera up, and then getting the shot. PERFECT!

DrBobHere is one of my many favorites from Dr. Bob. He waited for that moment when the Egret was about to make his dive for the fish below. You can see the intense concentration, the beauty in the stance of this bird. No……we cannot count every feather in this bird, but the perfection in this picture is what the Dr. captured in that very moment of the Egrets hunt. This IS a perfect picture. I know Dr. Bob would disagree. He would have many reasons on what is wrong with his picture. I guess this is Bob striving for better Photography. But in the world of capturing a moment in time and teaching us all a little something about a hunting Egret, This is a PERFECT picture.



So what did Michael shoot here in this picture? I do not see anything specific here. No Dragons or anything specifically overwhelming going on. But there is a feel to this spot by the Lake. He Bushwhacked quite a distance to find this spot. Just the feel of the land and the Lake draws you into this place. And that is what makes this shot a PERFECT picture.

I can understand the goals that many Photographers have at getting better at their craft, or mastering their Camera equipment. But they should not forget that the beauty and perfection is not always in the details of what the Camera has captured, but in what the Photographers eye has seen and then put in the picture for all of us to experience. I consider each of the pictures above, to be an “Experience”. And that is a huge part of the PERFECT picture.

Dr. BOBs Bird Blog               KIMs Nature is My Therapy Blog





FestivalLOGOFor the last 46 years, the college town of Alma, Michigan, has sponsored the annual Highland Festival. Bagpipes, Scottish Dancers, Border Collies, The Highland Games, Tent Row or Scottish Crafts, the College Stadium Grand finale where every Pipe & drum core and Dancers all play and march together in the Stadium. It’s UNBELIEVABLE!

You do not have to be Scottish or Irish to have a FANTASTIC time at the HIGHLAND PipersTurn copyFESTIVAL. There is so much to do over the 2 1/2 days. Foods of all sorts. Scheduled activities morning til evening. Then there are smaller events through out town at local establishments. The College and the entire town play an active role in the entire festival. From the opening Parade, until the Grand Finale in the Huge open air Stadium. There is always something to do.

I have attended many of the annual Festivals, and NEVER get tired of the festivities, Music, Dancers, Crafts and everything else. A Picnic while you watch the Highlander Games outdoors. The telephone Pole toss is my favorite. 🙂

POLEToss copyThere are many places to stay at a reasonable price, either in Alma itself or in a couple of nearby towns, depending on the luxury and costs you wish to incur. Discounted Tickets are available right now only. Tickets can be bought for each individual day of the festival at the Festival itself. You CAN…..just show up at any day or time…..buy a ticket and have FUN!




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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.

Birds & Brews Meetings

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.







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


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