Elk Rapids Almanac-July 2023
Canadian pediatrician Dr. Robert Zarr, founder and medical director of Park Rx America, promotes the health aspects of nature by prescribing Nature through the routine delivery of healthcare. The mental and physical health benefits of nature, especially for children, became widely recognized through the work of Richard Louv, best-selling author of Last Child in the Woods, 2005. Michigan details at mparks.org
In Dearborn, Michigan, students are enjoying the local school grounds in a slightly different way this summer: by gardening. On June 20, the community gathered to celebrate the play-learn Green Schoolyards project, a Salina Elementary and Intermediate schools project which is part of Dearborn’s Cities Connecting Children to Nature Green Schoolyard Initiative. As a result of the project, part of the playground is now a working garden and butterfly habitat so children can enjoy the wonders of nature. The Green Schoolyards program is a joint initiative of the city of Dearborn, Dearborn Public Schools, Children & Nature Network (a Richard Louv-founded organization), and other partners including ACCESS, Dearborn Education Foundation, and Friends of the Rouge. The idea is to promote healthy living, environmental conservation, and social and play opportunities in communities using trees, plants, rain gardens, and other resources. _Press &Guide.org
One of the more urgent issues facing our migratory songbirds is glass windows. When a thrush, flycatcher or warbler flies toward a window, they don’t perceive the glass, rather the reflection of the habitat they are in and thus fly right into the window-usually to their death. An estimated two billion birds die annually in this way. My favorite national bird conservation organization, the American Bird Conservancy, has worked with Congress passing legislation that mandates all new Federal buildings be constructed with specially designed glass that prevents such crashes. _Kay Charter, Saving Birds.org; ABCbirds.org
Here are some friendly reminders for tree pest mitigation and best management practices: This is the time of year where red oaks may show signs of oak wilt infection. It is a fungal disease that impacts the vascular tissues of a tree and is fatal to those in the red oak group. Learn more at MichiganOakWilt.org Burn firewood where you buy it! Invasive pests are great at hitchhiking. More at DontMoveFirewood.org. There is a great invasive species presence at southern latitudes, so encourage folks to wash their cars on the way home from road trips downstate and across state lines. Learn more at Michigan.gov/invasives/education. _Ellie Johnson, CCF, District Forester, Leelanau, Benzie, and Grand Traverse Conservation Districts.
A pollinator garden can be added to even a small space in a yard. This bed is only two feet wide x 40 feet long, but in this small section you will find over a dozen different native flowers. _Kim Ranger.
Note: “In the past, we asked one thing of our gardens: that they be pretty. Now they have to support life, sequester carbon, feed pollinators, and manage water”. Doug Tallamy, Nature’s Best Hope: How you Can Save the World in Your Own Yard. Young Reader’s Edition, 2023
Coming in August
The Perseid meteor shower 2023 will be active from July 17 to August 24, producing its peak at around 4:00 a.m. EDT, just before dawn on August 13, 2023. There is a chance of seeing Perseid meteors whenever the shower’s radiant point-in constellation Perseus-is above the horizon. In Detroit the radiant is circumpolar, which means it is always above the horizon and the shower will be active throughout the night. From Detroit, the radiant of the shower will appear at a peak altitude of 71 degrees above our horizon, and on this basis we estimate that you may be able to see up to 141 meteors per hour at the shower’s peak. Being close to new moon, moonlight will present minimal interference. _In-The-Sky.org