Michigan Nature Magazine - Fall 2017

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Michigan Nature Association Fall 2017 Volume 65 Issue 2


michigan nature

Protecting “the Other Island” in the Straits of Mackinac

Dangerous Migration www.michigannature.org

Building Reserves for Michigan’s Rarest Wildflower

© Paul Mrozek

Your gift makes a difference. By protecting Michigan’s natural heritage, together we build a brighter future. How you can help: • Join or renew your membership • Become a monthly supporter • Honor a loved one with a memorial gift • Remember MNA in your will or estate plan Use the enclosed envelope, call (866) 223-2231 or visit www.michigannature.org to contribute.

Michigan Nature Association www.michigannature.org

Fall 2017



Feature Dangerous Migration One of nature’s most impressive migration phenomena is at risk.


MNA has opened my students’ eyes to a whole new aspect of science.

- Aaron Wesche page 33

Departments MNA 360 10

MNA Field Trip Grant Helps Kids Learn About Nature MNA Sanctuary is Home to Three Peregrine Falcon Chicks Our Commitment to Meeting the Highest Standards

MNA Online

Taking Action for Wildlife Join the Race for Michigan Nature Cougar Sighting in Michigan’s Lower Peninsula Nature News in Your Inbox






Membership Matters









MNA Acquires 234 Acres on “the Other Island” in the Straits of Mackinac MNA Working to Protect Rare Poweshiek Skipperling Habitat Community Embraces Dauner Martin Nature Sanctuary

Going Beyond Borders for the Karner Blue Butterfly BioBlitz for a New Nature Sanctuary Volunteer Opportunities Building Reserves for Michigan’s Rarest Wildflower

Upcoming Events Fall Hikes, Tours and Excursions

Recommended Reading From MNA

Aaron Wesche, Addison High School biology and botany teacher

Remembering Harry Elkin Memorials and Honoraria


29 On the Cover: Monarch butterfly on a purple coneflower by Wendy Caldwell, Monarch Joint Venture

Celebrate MNA’s Dedicated Volunteers!

Michigan Nature Association Join us for MNA’s 2017

Volunteer & Donor Recognition Dinner

2310 Science Parkway, Suite 100 Okemos, MI 48864 (866) 223-2231 www.michigannature.org

Our Mission The purpose of the MNA is to acquire, protect and maintain natural areas that contain examples of Michigan’s endangered and threatened flora, fauna and other components of the natural environment, including habitat for fish, wildlife and plants of the state of Michigan and to carry on a program of natural history study and conservation education.

Join as we honor the inspiring individuals who help make our success possible.

Friday, October 27 - 6:30 p.m. Kellogg Hotel & Conference Center Michigan State University - East Lansing

Board of Trustees


Aubrey Golden President

Garret Johnson Executive Director

Yu Man Lee Vice President Ruth Vail Secretary Kurt Brauer Treasurer Paul Messing Trustee-at-Large Bill Bobier David Cartwright

Silent Auction to benefit MNA’s Environmental Education Fund

Mary Ann Czechowski Kara Haas Steve Kelley Gisela Lendle King Stan Kuchta Don Reed David Sharpe Karen Weingarden Margaret Welsch

Paul Steiner Operations Director Julie Stoneman Director of Outreach and Education Andrew Bacon Conservation Director Jack Flakne Land Protection Specialist John Bagley Regional Stewardship Organizer, W.L.P. Natalie Kent-Norkowski Regional Stewardship Organizer, N.L.P. Rachel Maranto Regional Stewardship Organizer, E.L.P. Jess Foxen Outreach & Communications Coordinator Sherry Stewart Member Services Coordinator

The celebration begins at 6:30 p.m. All are welcome. Tickets: $30. Contact Jess Foxen at (866) 223-2231 or jfoxen@michigannature.org to reserve your seats.

Please direct questions about this magazine to Outreach & Communications Coordinator Jess Foxen, jfoxen@michigannature.org or 866-223-2231. © 2017. Except where used with permission, entire contents copyright 2017 Michigan Nature Association.

Celebrating 65 Years MNA is 65 years old this year. We have no intention of retiring.

Help MNA Raise $65,000 in Honor of its 65th Anniversary In honor of MNA’s 65th anniversary, the J.A. Woollam Foundation has pledged to match all new membership dues, any renewals from former members whose dues have lapsed for more than one year, and any donation to MNA greater than $500, up to a maximum of $32,500.

Act now. Time is limited. Donations and new memberships must be received by December 31, 2017 to qualify.

Gifts of $500 or more will be matched dollar for dollar, doubling your impact.

Visit www.michigannature.org, use the enclosed envelope, or call the office at (866) 223-2231.

michigan nature | fall 2017


From the Executive Director

Fall means back to school, and that new reality brings a seasonal change to the daily migration routes for many Michigan families. For roughly the next ten months, my son’s school and extracurricular activities will be an additional, but welcome, pull as I navigate my way between home, work and other points of interest. Fall is an especially great time of year to connect kids to nature and the incredible changes that unfold. As students—and their parents—adjust their clocks and adapt to a new school year, here at MNA we are working with teachers to enrich their student’s classroom learning by using MNA nature sanctuaries as living laboratories. Our schoolsto-sanctuaries initiative is creating exciting new partnerships across the state, like the one described by Addison High School teacher Aaron Wesche in this issue’s Q&A (p. 33). Cooler temperatures and decreasing daylight are signals for migratory birds and insects that it is time to leave their northern breeding grounds for warmer winter climes. Some make extraordinarily difficult journeys to do so. To me, one of the most astonishing dramas in nature is the annual Monarch butterfly migration from the northern U.S. to a tiny strip of forest in Mexico. Take yourself to a Great Lakes beach or an MNA nature sanctuary with open fields this time of year and wait and watch. You’ll very likely see one of these stunning and fragile beauties flit by as they make their miraculous journey to Mexico. Sadly, those who have spent a lifetime watching the Monarch migration for the sheer joy of it will tell you they don’t see as many butterflies anymore. Scientists who study the Monarch have confirmed this. In this issue, noted Michigan author Bill Rapai tells the story of how the Monarch migration is now in serious danger of disappearing (p.18). The good news is that we all can play a role in helping this extraordinary migration (while also helping other declining pollinators). We know that many of our nature sanctuaries provide necessary places for fuel and rest for Monarchs on their journey, but we also know much more needs to be done. With your continued support MNA will be working to create more Monarch-friendly habitat within our statewide network of sanctuaries; help inspire the next generation to care about Michigan’s natural wonders like the Monarch butterfly through our education programs; and coordinate our work on Monarch conservation with the work of likeminded groups in Michigan, across the Midwest, and Mexico. Fall is a season of both small and profound transformations. I hope you enjoy its fleeting beauty and embrace the seasonal changes. In a time of great uncertainty like today, there can be great solace in attending to the rhythms of nature. And be sure to keep a watchful eye for Monarchs as they flutter their way to Mexico. The dangerous migration of this small, delicate butterfly is a reminder of nature’s fragility and its incredible resilience, too.


michigan nature | fall 2017

© Patricia Pennell

Leave a Lasting Legacy By Including MNA in Your Will or Estate Plan By including MNA in your estate plans, such as a will, trust or other planned gift, you will join a group of dedicated people—our Guardians of the Future— who sustain MNA’s work and leave a legacy for many generations to come.

How to Make a Planned Gift to MNA • • • •

Include a bequest to MNA in your will or estate plan Donate stocks, bonds or other securities Donate real estate or other property Invest in a charitable gift annuity

Help secure Michigan’s natural heritage

To learn more, please return the attached card, visit www.michigannature.org or call (866) 223-2231. Tax Identification Number: 38-6093404

Michigan Nature Association www.michigannature.org

Inside | MNA

MNA 360 People



MNA Field Trip Grant Helps Kids Learn About Nature

The trip was made possible, in part, by an MNA field trip mini-grant. MNA supports teachers across the state with these small grants to help overcome the cost of transportation, which is often a significant barrier to getting kids outside to learn about nature. Conni’s class headed to the Harris Nature Center last spring with some serious teaching objectives in mind, including the study of different habitats and the many reasons for protecting them, invasive species impacts on native species, animal adaptations, how energy flows through ecosystems, and mapping with GPS. The whole trip was linked to Michigan Science Standards and bolstered by follow-up classroom studies. As one student wrote, “It was so peaceful when we sat on the lookover. We listened so hard all the sounds sang to my ears.” The handwritten notes and colorful drawings from Conni’s class are testament to our overall grant program goals: to inspire a life-long love of nature and our next generation of conservation leaders. In this upcoming school year, MNA is increasing its funding devoted to field trip grants. If you are an educator or know of one who needs help with transportation or other field trip costs, please visit www. michigannature.org/menus/education.html. If you would like to contribute to the program, please use the enclosed envelope or call (866) 223-2231 to make a donation to MNA’s Environmental Education Fund.

Thank You notes from Explorer Elementary students. 10

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© Conni Crittendon

How much adventure can 28 fourth graders have on a field trip to a local nature center? A lot, judging from the handmade thank you notes MNA received from Conni Crittendon’s class from Explorer Elementary in Williamston. Seeing hawks and turtles, using GPS (global positioning systems) and even pulling invasive garlic mustard added up to a very fun (according to the students) and successful (according to their teacher) day.

© Robin Ottawa

Inside | MNA

MNA Sanctuary is Home to Three Peregrine Falcons Chicks

© Youngman

The Michigan Department of Natural Resources banded three young peregrine falcons found at an MNA site in Keweenaw County this summer. Banding young peregrines provides important information on the birds’ movements and is essential to understanding their habitat needs year-round. Karen Cleveland, a wildlife biologist with the MDNR, said “biologists try to band as many peregrine falcon chicks as they can at nest sites in Michigan. These colorcoded metal bands stay on the falcons’ legs through their entire lives and give researchers a way to find out how long they live, where they travel, and whether they are able to raise chicks of their own.” The peregrine falcon is listed as an endangered species in Michigan, protected by state and federal law. MNA, along with many other conservation groups, are working to protect nesting sites on cliffs and ledges to help peregrine falcons thrive.

Our Commitment to Meeting the Highest Standards In 2014 MNA reached a milestone in our commitment to conservation excellence when, after an detailed audit of our programs and operations, we were awarded accreditation by the Land Trust Accreditation Commission. Accreditation provides independent certification that our work meets highest ethical and operational standards for the thousands of land conservancies across the country. Earlier this year, we reached another milestone when GuideStar certified MNA as a GuideStar Platinum Participant. GuideStar is the world’s leading source of information for foundations and donors on nonprofit financial transparency and accountability. Their certification program offers four ratings: Bronze, Silver, Gold, and the highest, Platinum.

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Online | MNA

michigannature.org © Eric Begin

Taking Action for Wildlife Every state has a Wildlife Action Plan, which taken together create a national conservation strategy for safeguarding wildlife and their habitats for current and future generations. Michigan’s new 20152025 Wildlife Action Plan is a partner-developed strategy that provides a common framework to help coordinate conservation actions statewide. MNA was a key advisor to the latest update, which was released by the Michigan Department of Natural Resources earlier this year. Michigan’s Plan focuses on habitat management and other key issues affecting wildlife, especially those with populations that are in decline. It addresses priority habitats, and uses rare and common occurrences of wildlife as measures of progress towards achieving the plan’s goals. 301 species of greatest conservation need (SGCN) are addressed in the plan, which targets conservation actions to a priority subset of SGCN and their key habitats and issues.

Primary habitat for the black tern includes freshwater marshes and wetlands.

Participate in MNA’s Race for Michigan Nature, a statewide series of family fun runs & 5Ks stretching from Belle Isle in Detroit to Marquette in the U.P. Each race spotlights one of Michigan’s rare species and helps promote the importance of protecting Michigan’s remaining natural areas. Join us for a race near you! And thank you again to all who participated in the Karner Blue Butterfly Family Fun Run & 5K at Millennium Park in Grand Rapids! Watch a video from the race, created by our communications intern Eugene Kutz, on our website at www.michigannature.org/news. 12

michigan nature | fall 2017

© Eugene Kutz

Join the Race for Michigan Nature

The Wildlife Action Plan guides MNA’s work as well. A key directive in our strategic plan calls for MNA to maintain our partnership with the MDNR on the coordination and collaboration of stakeholders across the state to ensure progress toward the goals of Michigan’s Wildlife Action Plan. Learn more about the Wildlife Action Plan by visiting www.michigan.gov/dnrwap.

Online | MNA

Cougar Sighting in Michigan’s Lower Peninsula © Michigan Wildlife Conservancy

The MDNR has confirmed the presence of a cougar in Bath Township, Clinton County on June 21. This is the first time the presence of a cougar has been verified by the MDNR in Michigan’s Lower Peninsula! Michigan cougars, also called mountain lions, were originally native to Michigan, but were extirpated from the state around the turn of the century. Over the past few years, over a dozen cougar sighting reports have been received from various locations throughout the Upper Peninsula. Today the species in Michigan is listed as endangered and is protected under state law. Will we see a cougar comeback?

Join the Conversation Nature News Straight to Your Inbox Sign up to receive MNA’s biweekly emails for updates on the latest happenings in the field, upcoming events, and important nature news from around the state and country.

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michigan nature | fall 2017


Sanctuaries | MNA

MNA Acquires 234 Acres on “the Other Island” in the Straits of Mackinac © Abarndweller

Travelers headed north on the Mackinac Bridge are treated to a sweeping view of the waters and islands on the east side of the Straits of Mackinac. Spotting the Grand Hotel on Mackinac Island is a favorite bridge-crossing moment for some, bringing horse-drawn carriages, historic sites, and fudge shops to mind. To the southeast of Mackinac lies a lesser-known, mysterious larger island with an MNA sanctuary at its far eastern end. Locals and visitors alike call Bois Blanc “the other island” as a means of distinguishing it from its smaller, but much more famous neighbor. Some speculate that the low, “swampy” nature of Bois Blanc and a reputation for rattlesnakes prevented it from becoming another Mackinac. Whatever the historic reasons, the other island is better known today for its natural—not cultural—treasures. MNA recently acquired 234 acres of island habitat contiguous with land owned by the Michigan Department of Natural Resources. The combined ownership creates a natural area of over 480 acres that includes protected shoreline on Lake Huron, two inland lakes, and extensive wetlands. Natural communities transition from limestone cobble shore, coastal fen, and wooded dune and swale complex near Lake Huron to northern mesic forest, conifer swamp and northern wet meadow inland. Rare plant species present include Houghton’s goldenrod, pitcher’s thistle, and Lake Huron tansy. Noteworthy rare animal species include the eastern massasauga rattlesnake, whose Bois Blanc population is the northernmost in Michigan. The state Natural Area and MNA sanctuary are potentially capable of supporting a persisting population of massasaugas so long as the ecological integrity of the habitat is maintained. Islands provide more isolated refuges for wildlife given lower levels of disturbance, as in the case of Bois Blanc. Higher humidity and other influences of surrounding water creates diverse microclimates. Not all mainland plant and animal assemblages can be found on all islands because of these subtle differences, as well as spatial constraints on populations and dispersal. Colonial birds prefer remote islands because of their isolation. There is even the possibility that the less visited Bois Blanc buffers or may delay the arrival of the snake fungal disease that currently threatens mainland massasauga populations.


michigan nature | fall 2017

Sanctuaries | MNA

The Anishinaabe name for Bois Blanc Island, Wigobiminiss, is thought to refer to the strong, white inner bark of the American basswood tree. Native people gathered its wood fibers for lashing canoes, stringing snowshoes and other purposes. They also frequented the island for maple sugaring and fishing camps. The French named it Bois Blanc, which means “white wood,” and an English corruption of the French ultimately led to its current day pronunciation of ”Bob-lo” or sometimes “Boys Blanc.” Mackinac Island became an early trading center and then both a British and American military outpost from the late 18th to late 19th centuries, because of its higher elevation and ease of defense. In contrast, according to historian Chris McAfee, writer for the Bois Blanc Island Community Foundation, Bois Blanc was considered by the Fort Mackinac garrison to be “a woodlot for the troops at the fort, a convenient place to construct a kiln to produce quicklime for use in the mortar to build the fort, a fine place to gather maple sugar, and a place to bury those who died of contagious diseases.”

Conservation of Great Lakes islands like Bois Blanc is an important part of MNA’s strategy to protect Michigan’s natural communities that support rare, threatened and endangered species. The same history that made Bois Blanc “the other island” in the Straits of Mackinac makes it an important refuge for some of the state’s rare plants and animals. Given the assemblage of rare species found at the Bois Blanc Island Nature Sanctuary, MNA plans to continue to monitor the property for disturbance and conduct management to help conserve habitat in which these species persist. Please help MNA care for this site by contributing to the estimated $9,500 stewardship endowment needed to help care for this property and the rare species into the future. Contributions can be made on our website, by calling (866) 223-2231, or sending a check to MNA with “Bois Blanc” in the memo line.

Today, Bois Blanc Island provides an alternative Straits of Mackinac experience. With fewer full-time residents, cottagers and tourists, and a significant portion under state ownership, much of Bois Blanc Island remains in a natural state. Bois Blanc Township touts that ‘Nature is a Priority,’ and the township’s mission statement asserts the need to “protect, preserve and maintain the unique mix of natural ecosystems and green spaces that Bois Blanc Island possesses.”

© Andrew Bacon

MNA purchased its first parcels on Bois Blanc Island in 1982 to establish a plant preserve to protect such species as dwarf lake iris and Prairie Indian plantain. The parcels were dedicated to the memory of Michael O. Struble, an MNA member who died in a 1978 plane crash at the age of 31.

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Sanctuaries | MNA © Dwayne Badgero

MNA Working to Protect Rare Poweshiek Skipperling Habitat There are only a handful of sites left in the world for the federally endangered Poweshiek skipperling, a small butterfly that until recently ranged in tallgrass prairies and prairie fens from Manitoba south to the Dakotas and east into Wisconsin and Michigan. One of the last sites is in Manitoba, the other four are high quality prairie fens found in Oakland County, Michigan, including MNA’s Big Valley Nature Sanctuary. MNA has the opportunity to expand critical habitat for this rare butterfly at Big Valley but must raise $22,000 to cover acquisition costs and stewardship endowment. The Poweshiek skipperling is one of many butterfly and bee species experiencing population declines over the last three decades. These losses are evidence of serious problems occurring across our continent. By finding out the causes of this butterfly’s abrupt decline and addressing those causes, like stemming the loss of habitat, we may be able to prevent the extinction of this species. And we will also help conserve other pollinators and the prairies and fens that support them. Big Valley contains a variety of upland and wetland habitats but its primary features are the prairie fen and oak barrens. Along with the Poweshiek, the sanctuary also protects two rare reptiles and the state special concern tamarack tree cricket. MNA’s conservation strategy for the prairie fen at Big Valley, designated as critical habitat for the Poweshiek skipperling by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, includes improving the sanctuary’s ecological integrity through careful management and invasive species control. MNA also partners with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, as well as other owners of prairie fens in Michigan occupied by the Poweshiek skipperling, on ways to build the butterfly’s population in the state.


michigan nature |fall 2017

Another strategy is to protect more habitat by expanding the 168 acre sanctuary. In 2016, MNA purchased 10 acres adjoining the sanctuary. This year, MNA plans to expand Big Valley by 43 acres with the donation of a 33 acre conservation easement and the purchase of another 10 acre parcel with a grant from the North American Wetlands Conservation Act (NAWCA) program, which will further protect designated habitat for the Poweshiek skipperling. NAWCA will assist with this year’s acquisition but will not cover all acquisition and endowment costs. MNA is actively seeking donations to close the funding gap and expand Big Valley Nature Sanctuary as part of the conservation strategy for the Poweshiek skipperling and the other rare species found here.

How You Can Help Save the Poweshiek Skipperling You can help MNA expand valuable habitat at Big Valley Nature Sanctuary, one of only a few high quality sites left in the world for the federally endangered Poweshiek skipperling. Help is needed to raise $22,000 for acquisition costs and a stewardship endowment to secure additional land. Please consider a gift today to help MNA acquire this important acreage. Contributions can be made by using the enclosed envelope, on the MNA website or by calling (866) 223-2231. Checks should be made payable to MNA with “Big Valley” written on the memo line.

Sanctuaries | MNA

Community Embraces Dauner Martin Nature Sanctuary Two enthusiastic interns and a grant from the Franklin D. Adams Fund of the Community Foundation of Greater Flint made a big difference this summer for one of MNA’s most popular nature sanctuaries, the Dauner Martin Nature Sanctuary in Fenton. Located within the city limits, the 155 acre Dauner Martin Nature Sanctuary is a much-loved natural area for Fenton residents given its close proximity and 4.5 miles of trails in a forested landscape. In April, MNA received a $14,100 grant to make visitor accessibility, safety, and ecological improvements at the sanctuary while giving two aspiring conservationists invaluable environmental leadership experience. Under the supervision of MNA, the grant enabled interns Ashlie Young and Andrew Borin to care for the sanctuary throughout the summer with help from Dauner Martin Stewards, Paul and Sue McEwen, and a growing cadre of volunteers recruited from the Fenton community. Besides the paid internships, grant funds were used for a new native plant garden, invasive species removal in priority areas, parking area upgrades, and trailhead improvements, including new signage. Interns Andrew Borin and Ashlie Young

The sanctuary is located in Genesee County, between Leroy and Dauner Roads. The sanctuary has two parking areas: the paved road on N. Leroy Street near VG’s grocery store, north of Dauner Road, and on Dauner Road 0.4 miles east of N. Leroy.

N. Leroy St.

Much of the 155 acre sanctuary consists of large pine groves interwoven among hardwood forests. They attract various bird species like the blue-winged warbler. Below the majestic trees, guests can view plant life such as the tall sunflower, highbush cranberry, and other native plant species.

Other Fenton Community Fund Advisory Committee members who joined the tour included Ron Stack (Chair) and Teresa Ciesielski. MNA is grateful to the entire Advisory Committee for the generous grant from the Franklin D. Adams Fund of the Community Foundation of Greater Flint. All who visit and enjoy Dauner Martin will benefit from this successful project.

Rd .

Located in the city of Fenton, Dauner Martin Nature Sanctuary is the perfect getaway for those looking to conveniently get into the outdoors. It was originally purchased by Phillip Dauner in 1863 to grow hops for his local brewery. The property was passed down to his great grandchildren Robert and Marion Martin, who donated it to MNA in 1998 to ensure its protection forever.

“Dauner Martin is a wonderful, hidden asset thanks to the foresight of the Dauner family who donated the property to MNA,” said Advisory Committee members Linda Hathaway and Sheila Petty. “We took a chance with a grant of that size but the payoff has been wonderful. We are thrilled with the results and excited to share them with the community and area schools to increase visitation and promote awareness of this wonderful property.”

Fen ton

Visiting Dauner Martin Nature Sanctuary

The tough work of removing acres of invasive shrubs like autumn olive makes a dramatic impact at the sanctuary— opening up sight lines for trail safety, improving the aesthetics of a beautiful forest, and restoring natural forest ecological processes. On July 31, members of the Fenton Community Fund Advisory Committee, which awarded the grant, received a first-hand look at the improvements during a special sanctuary tour led by Ashlie and Andrew.

Trail Head

Dauner Rd.

Trail Head

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© Wendy Caldwell, Monarch Joint Venture

Dangerous Migration One of nature’s most impressive migration phenomena is at risk. By William Rapai IT’S SEPTEMBER at the Michigan Nature Association’s Goose Creek Grassland Sanctuary. Even though asters and goldenrod are in bloom, most plants that grow here—including the three species of milkweed—are in decline. Hanging from the underside of a leaf, a Monarch butterfly emerges from its chrysalis, with an urge to do only one thing: fly to Mexico. Five generations of Monarchs have hatched already during this calendar year, but this individual is different. Always synchronized to the lifecycle of the milkweed, this Monarch inherently understands that fall is approaching and it must go. Continued on page 20 18

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Š Nagarajan Kanna michigan nature | fall 2013 15

© U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service

Monarch Protection Above: Monarch butterflies are not able to survive the cold winters of most of the United States so they migrate south and west each fall to escape the cold weather. They travel much farther than all other tropical butterflies, up to 2,000 miles. They are the only butterflies to make such a long, two-way migration each year. Opposite page: (Upper Right) MNA’s Goose Creek Grasslands Nature Sanctuary is a haven for pollinators with its abundance of nectar plants. (Left and Lower Right) Addison High School students working to conserve Goose Creek Grasslands. For more information on our partnership, see page 33 for our interview with biology and botany teacher Aaron Wesche. Preceding pages: (Page 18) Many flowers—especially native plants—are terrific sources of nectar for monarch butterflies. (Page 19) Thousands of monarchs overwinter on eucalyptus trees up and down the California coast.


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There are no roadmaps or guideposts for the Monarch and there will be no adults that have made the journey before to show the way. There is only an inner drive that guides the butterfly on a 2,000-mile journey south and west, across the corn belt, the hot, dry plains of Oklahoma and Texas, across the Rio Grande, and over the mountains of Mexico to a place it has never been before—the Monarch Butterfly Biosphere Reserve west of Mexico City—where it will spend the winter in hibernation. There are Monarchs all across the United States and the southern tier of Canada and biologists split them into two populations. The western population winters in southern California and spreads out across the west coast and the Great Basin in the summer. But the eastern population—those butterflies east of the Rocky Mountains—return to Mexico in the fall in one of the most astonishing natural phenomena on this planet. Other butterflies migrate—both north in the spring and south in the fall—but the Monarch’s journey is unique because of the distance and the entire population somehow finds its way to one location in the mountains of Mexico after being spread out across half of North America.

Reason for Alarm This eastern migratory population is in jeopardy, however. The Monarch’s population is in trouble, caught in the crossfire of changing land use and habitat loss, drought in the southern plains, dangerous pesticides, and extreme storms. In the early 1990s, the eastern population of the Monarch was estimated at more than 500 million individuals. By 2014, that number had fallen to about 34 million. The population has rebounded somewhat since then—to an estimated 56 million in 2015, according to Chip Taylor, the director of Monarch Watch at the University of Kansas. Even though the numbers have perked up, there is still much reason for concern. A 2016 study of this population by the Scripps Institution of Oceanography at the University of California at San Diego and the U.S. Geological Survey concluded that it could go extinct sometime in the next two decades. In fact, the eastern Monarch population decline has become such a concern that in 2014 President Barack Obama issued an executive order to create the National Pollinator Task Force to develop an action plan to save declining populations of honeybees and restore the eastern Monarchs to about 225 million.

The Monarch’s population crash has increased the importance of sanctuaries like the Goose Creek Grasslands. This 70-acre sanctuary is just a postage stamp on a landscape dominated by agriculture, but it has everything a Monarch needs: flowering plants that provide nectar and plentiful milkweed, which is the only food source for Monarch larvae. This place also has sanctuary manager Rachel Maranto and many generous volunteers who work hard to remove glossy buckthorn, an invasive plant that would grow property line-to-property line and quickly dominate the entire landscape if not controlled.

a communications specialist with the Monarch Joint Venture, a Minnesota-based partnership of more than 60 organizations.

The on-the-ground work at the Goose Creek Grasslands is representative of the commitment the Michigan Nature Association has made to the Monarch. MNA has been working with the Michigan Department of Natural Resources and other government agencies, non-profits, and citizens to promote the health of the Monarch by promoting the planting of additional nectar plants and milkweeds.

But all that is months ahead for this Monarch. It’s a sunny September day, and the Monarch is torn whether to leave Goose Creek. Michigan is a pretty good place for a Monarch in any generation, says Stephen Malcolm a professor of chemical biology at Western Michigan University. The landscapes of states to the south and southwest—Ohio, Indiana, Illinois, and Iowa—are a vast monoculture of corn and soybeans that provide very little in the way of food or places to breed. Michigan’s less agriculturally intense and more complex environmental matrix is good for Monarchs because it provides more places for milkweed and nectar plants to grow. In addition, the moderating impact of the Great Lakes limits temperature extremes.

There’s one more thing unique to this fall migratory generation: for their entire migration and hibernation, they are locked in a juvenile state called “diapause,” which makes them unable to breed. Always synchronized to the milkweed, they only become adults and breed after they emerge from hibernation in March as milkweed plants sprout in Mexico and Texas.

“The on-the-ground work at the Goose Creek Grasslands is representative of the commitment MNA has made to the Monarch.”

© MNA Archives

© Rachel Maranto

Nectar gardens are particularly important for the Monarch’s fall migratory generation. Weight gained by those butterflies during migration will have to sustain them because they won’t eat anything until they come out of hibernation in March, says Cora Lund Preston,

© Rachel Maranto

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© Adrienne Bozic

How You Can Help the Monarch Butterfly • Become a citizen scientist and help monitor monarchs: www.monarchjointventure.org, www.learner.org/jnorth/, or www.naba.org • Create monarch habitat at home: www.monarchjointventure.org • Support MNA and other organizations that provide habitat for monarchs and other pollinators For More Information: • Monarch Joint Venture: www.monarchjointventure.org • Xerces Society: www.xerces.org/monarchs • Monarch Watch: www.monarchwatch.org • MDNR has a wealth of online information and resources; search Monarchs in Michigan Visit Goose Creek or Other MNA Sanctuaries: • Go to www.michigannature.org under the Find A Sanctuary tab Monarch butterflies at MNA’s Fred Dye Nature Sanctuary in Mackinac County.

Despite those luxuries, migratory restlessness is too much to overcome and this Monarch lifts off from a goldenrod, to start a perilous journey. This trip would be dangerous for any animal let alone one that weighs only about a half a gram—a hundred times as heavy as a grain of sand. There are predators and the risk of being struck by a speeding vehicle or being caught in an early frost.

Near Impossible Challenge Like other Monarchs traveling across the Midwest, this butterfly’s first challenge is finding food on a vast landscape of corn and soybeans. Often there are flowering plants growing along rural roads—New England aster, stiff goldenrod, blackeyed Susan—but there’s also danger here. If the plants are near an agricultural field there’s a chance they have been contaminated with neonicotinoids or some other insecticide. Neonicotinoids are considered harmless to humans in small amounts, but to insects like butterflies and honeybees they are deadly. The pesticide is systemic, which means it reaches


michigan nature | fall 2017

into all parts of the plant and kills any insect that comes in contact with any portion of the plant. Many of the corn and soybean seeds planted across the Midwest are treated with neonicotinoids, and the insecticide is absorbed as the plant germinates and grows. Other neonicotinoids are sprayed on plants or are included in irrigation water, which unfortunately allows them to spread to nearby non-agricultural plants. For a pollinator like a honeybee, even a minute amount is lethal. For the Monarch, however, the impact of neonicontinoids will be fully felt when a new generation arrives back in the Midwest the following spring. A 2015 U.S. Department of Agriculture study showed that even if milkweeds are not treated directly, they can contain neonicotinoid compounds in levels high enough to be fatal to Monarch caterpillars if they grow near treated agriculture. (You may very well have a neonicotinoid compound in your house even if you pride yourself on not using pesticides on your garden. Have a dog or cat? If it wears a flea or tick collar, it likely has a neonicotinoid as an active ingredient.)

Š Heather Spaulding

© Wendy Caldwell, Monarch Joint Venture Above: Mountains west of Mexico City are the winter refuge for most of the monarch butterflies in North America. Below: After migrating from the United States and Canada, monarch butterflies spend the winter in oyamel firs at a few mountain forests in Mexico.

© Wendy Caldwell, Monarch Joint Venture

As the Monarch approaches the Rio Grande, it and other migrating Monarchs from across the eastern United States funnel into a narrow corridor that parallels the Gulf of Mexico. There are two dangers here: drought and tropical storms. A four-year drought in this area earlier this decade took a severe toll, as Monarchs were unable to find food as they traveled through the area. In 2011 alone, 97% of Texas was in drought with 88% of the state experiencing severe drought. That drought also had an impact for three straight springs: Monarchs emerging from hibernation in March went north expecting to find young milkweed plants growing so they could breed and lay eggs and for three straight years there were almost none. A wet spring in Texas in 2015 gave the migrants a bumper crop of milkweed, and the Monarch population responded accordingly. And then there is the danger of running headlong into a tropical storm entering Texas or northern Mexico from the Gulf of Mexico. Biologists say it’s common for Monarchs to survive the heavy rains and high winds by burying themselves in leaf litter, hiding under rocks, or taking shelter in a hollow part of a tree. Ten weeks after it left Goose Creek, this Monarch has made it safely to the Monarch Butterfly Biosphere Reserve in central Mexico. Technically this reserve is a tropical resort—only about 19 degrees north of the Equator—but at nearly two miles above sea level, the area has a unique microclimate and winter temperatures range between 32 and 60 degrees Fahrenheit. The butterflies cluster together on the branches of evergreen trees to keep warm. But this clustering—the entire population in less than 50,000 acres— makes the Monarchs vulnerable. A storm in early March 2016 brought cold temperatures and high winds that knocked down about 133 acres of trees and killed an estimated 6.2 million butterflies.


michigan nature | fall 2017

A Cycle Worth Saving In March, the sun climbs higher overhead, the thin mountain air begins to warm and millions of Monarchs emerge from hibernation and search for food. No longer in diapause, they now also search for mates and milkweed plants to lay their eggs and continue the butterfly’s lifecycle. There will be as many as five generations during the year as the Monarch again spreads out across eastern North America, reaching Michigan and the Goose Creek Sanctuary in early May. And on a late summer day, with the milkweed in decline at a sanctuary in southern Michigan, a Monarch will emerge from its chrysalis, with an urge to do only one thing. William Rapai is the author of two Michigan Notable Books: The Kirtland’s Warbler (University of Michigan Press) and Lake Invaders (Wayne State University Press). He is also the president of Grosse Pointe Audubon and has a milkweed/pollinator garden in his front yard.

Late last year, the Michigan Department of Natural Resources brought together a diverse group of stakeholders (including MNA) to begin developing a statewide strategy to conserve monarch butterflies and wild pollinators in Michigan. The final draft of the strategy was circulated in late March of 2017. The plan has five primary goals: • Create, restore and enhance habitat to support the monarch butterfly and wild pollinators. • Enhance education and awareness about monarch butterfly and wild pollinators and their ecological and economic importance; • Integrate monitoring and research into habitat management and education and outreach to increase overall effectiveness of monarch and wild pollinator conservation; • Review existing policies, regulations and laws and recommend changes or amendments to promote monarch breeding and migration; • Promote an active collaborative partnership to identify shared priorities for monarch and pollinator conservation.

© Ellen Woods

© Wendy Caldwell, Monarch Joint Venture

(Below) A monarch butterfly rests on goldenrod before continuing toward its migration destination. (Upper right) Monarch caterpillars feed exclusively on milkweed. (Lower Right) Show your support for Monarch conservation at MNA’s Monarch March Family Fun Run & 5K at Mayor’s Riverfront Park in Kalamazoo on October 1, 2017!

Taking Action

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Stewardship | MNA

Going Beyond Borders for the Karner Blue Butterfly

Wild lupine, the only food source for the Karner blue caterpillar, grows in the Newaygo barrens. Without periodic fire, what was once grassland will fill with trees and shrubs, causing lupine—along with the Karner blue—to disappear. The Karner blue is therefore a conservationreliant species. In order to sustain the fire-lupine-butterfly connection, active stewardship, including prescribed burning, is needed.

This funding has enabled MNA to conduct habitat management at MNA’s two sanctuaries, Brooks Township’s Coolbough Natural Area, and one other privately held property. Five prescribed burns have been conducted to help prevent woody plants from overtaking the prairies. Tree thinning, lupine reseeding and other management actions were conducted to manage 148 acres of this critically important landscape. MNA will continue collaborating with landowners and community partners at this larger landscape level as part of an essential strategy to sustain viable populations of this rare, endangered butterfly.

© Chris Hoving

© Dan Kennedy

MNA’s Karner Blue and Newaygo Prairie Nature Sanctuaries both contain oak-pine barren habitat that requires active management. However, restoration activities at the sanctuaries alone may not be sufficient to sustain butterfly populations at these sites. Taking a “beyond our borders” approach, MNA is working with public and private landowners to implement a grant through the Michigan Department of Natural Resources’ Private Lands Program to conduct conservation management across a broader landscape that includes privately-owned properties.

© John Bagley

Some of Michigan’s last strongholds for the federally endangered Karner blue butterfly are the remnant oakpine barren communities found near Newaygo. MNA is a leading partner undertaking large scale restoration projects to improve and expand Karner blue butterfly habitat across both publicly and privately owned properties in Brooks Township in Newaygo County.

© Valerie Lindeman


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Stewardship | MNA

© Rachel Maranto

Join Us in the Field for a Volunteer Workday For complete details on these and other workdays, visit www.michigannature.org/menus/calendar or call (866) 223-2231. Date




Oct 7

Mystery Valley Karst Preserve

Presque Isle


Oct 25

Butternut Creek Nature Sanctuary

Van Buren


Oct 27

Rodman Nature Sanctuary



Nov 16

Goose Creek Grasslands N.S.



Nov 29

Goose Creek Grasslands N.S.



Dec 2

Butternut Creek Nature Sanctuary

Van Buren


Dec 8

Jasper Woods Nature Sanctuary

St. Clair


Dec 13

Black River Nature Sanctuary

Van Buren

John © Rachel Maranto

BioBlitz for a New Sanctuary In the spring, birdsong normally fills the otherwise quiet forest of MNA’s new McCulley-Bastian Nature Sanctuary along the bank of the River Raisin in Lenawee County in southeast Michigan. But one morning last May, a flock of a different nature could be heard in the woods. A band of bird, amphibian, reptile and plant expert scientists gathered for a BioBlitz, and they set out to document as many species as possible in the sanctuary in a single day. Scientific sweeps like last May’s BioBlitz at McCulleyBastian identify the plants, animals and natural communities found in MNA’s sanctuaries, informing the long-term management of properties in our care. The participating scientists, who generously donated their time and expertise, gained more insight into species central to their own fields of study. The team successfully noted the presence of cerulean and yellow-throated warblers, red-backed salamanders, and plants such as toadshade (state threatened), drooping trillium and harbinger-of-spring. A special thanks goes to Barbara McCulley and Duane Bastian, the landowners who donated the sanctuary to MNA, for opening their home and art studio with an incredible variety of refreshments for all BioBlitz participants. MNA sincerely appreciates the invaluable contributions of all the participating scientists and the new knowledge that benefits us all.

Sign Up for a Volunteer Day Please register for each volunteer day as weather or emergencies may force cancellations. Contact your area’s regional stewardship organizer to learn more: Natalie Kent-Norkowski, Northern Lower Peninsula (517) 599-5050 or nkent@michigannature.org Rachel Maranto, Southeast Lower Peninsula (517) 525-2627 or rmaranto@michigannature.org John Bagley, Southwest Lower Peninsula (517) 643-6864 or jbagley@michigannature.org michigan nature | fall 2017


Stewardship | MNA

Building Reserves for Michigan’s Rarest Wildflower A group of adventurous volunteers battled a hot sun and black flies in the spring of 2016 with one purpose in mind—to create a new population reserve for a very rare wildflower, the Lakeside daisy. A unique partnership between MNA and the Michigan Karst Conservancy (MKC) created the reserve, which will make an enormous difference for continued persistence of the federally threatened and state endangered Lakeside daisy in Michigan. The Lakeside daisy is also known as ‘Manitoulin Gold’ for the preponderance of the golden-blooming plants found at its population center on Manitoulin Island in Ontario. The plant, previously found in only one location in Michigan and in only a handful of sites in the world, is carefully managed by MNA at an Eastern Upper Peninsula sanctuary specifically acquired to protect this rare species. The population faces numerous threats including habitat destruction, incompatible roadside maintenance, and invasive species, prompting MNA to initiate a project designed to propagate and research these remarkable plants so that the original population can be augmented or replaced in case of a devastating loss. The project also provides the opportunity to study the biology and demography of the Lakeside daisy and contributes to global conservation efforts by helping to better understand the Lakeside daisy’s ecology and resource needs. MNA participated in the federal recovery plan update for the Lakeside daisy, and was lauded by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service for our important contributions to the species’ persistence.


© Adrienne Bozic

© Adrienne Bozic

© Chuck Pierce

Working together for the last ten years to protect the joint Mystery Valley Nature Sanctuary near Posen, MNA and MKC were natural partners to explore creating a reserve daisy population. MKC owns a preserve with characteristics very similar to the largest Lakeside daisy population in the U.S., located at the LaFarge Quarry in Ohio. The active quarry there harbors millions of plants growing in a situation similar to those at MKC’s preserve. Though the dry, barren limestone bedrock is inhospitable to most plants, the Lakeside daisy’s competitive advantage in such conditions allows it to thrive in a habitat where other plants struggle to survive. After careful consideration and site planning, a formal agreement was signed in early 2016, endangered species permits were secured, and the MNA-MKC project was up and running.

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Stewardship | MNA

© Adrienne Bozic

© Adrienne Bozic

For the past three years, grower Paul Karlovich of Raker’s Greenhouse in Litchfield, MI, has generously volunteered to propagate Lakeside daisy for MNA’s ongoing projects. 400 seedlings, grown over winter, were delivered to the U.P. by longtime MNA volunteers Charlie and Nancy Goodrich. Planting day brought temperatures in the high 80s, full sun with no shade to be found, and swarms of hungry black flies.

Despite these difficult conditions, the morning also brought some hardworking and swift volunteers from around the state. Nine participants from MKC and five from MNA convened and in less than three hours the volunteers had planted all 400 daisies across five sites at the MKC preserve. Half of the daisies were planted randomly, while the other half were planted along measured transects to be monitored over time to collect information on survivorship, reproduction, pests and predation, pollination, and flowering rates. Volunteers naturally settled into duties such as digging, planting, and watering. The latter task was accomplished by our youngest helpers, the grandsons of MKC member and MNA volunteer, Dean Reid. It was so refreshing to see our youth engaged in civic service and outdoor activities, rather than being perpetually indoors and plugged in. Having a mentor like Dean is often the most meaningful incentive to getting kids involved. We always encourage members and volunteers to bring their children, students, young friends, and relatives to an MNA sanctuary or workday to introduce them to the wonders and pleasures of engaging in nature and stewardship! We thank the dedicated, hardworking, and cheerful volunteers and the Michigan Karst Conservancy for making this project possible. In July 2017, follow-up monitoring determined there was a high survival rate through the first year. Of the surviving plants, 160 daisies flowered indicating general good health of the introduced population. In the next few years we hope to find evidence of seed germination and population recruitment, which would be true evidence that the site is the right fit for the Lakeside daisy. Adapted from an article originally written by former MNA Regional Stewardship Organizer Adrienne Bozic. michigan nature | fall 2017


Membership Matters | MNA © William Rowan

2017 Volunteer and Donor Recognition Dinner

Other Upcoming Events

Friday, October 27 - 6:30 p.m. Kellogg Hotel & Conference Center Michigan State University, East Lansing

Bloomfield Regional Members’ Meeting Saturday, February 24, 2018 12:30 p.m. - 2:30 p.m. The Village Club Bloomfield Hills © Jess Foxen

Join MNA as we recognize the donors and volunteers who make our continued success possible. The 2017 Volunteer and Donor Recognition Dinner will honor those who dedicate countless hours to MNA and reflect on another year of our success. MNA will announce those being honored with the Volunteer of the Year Award, Mason and Melvin Schafer Distinguished Service Award, and Richard W. Holzman Award. The night will be filled with entertainment, including a live performance by Lansing’s soul-blues master, Root Doctor! The celebration begins at 6:30 p.m. All are welcome. Tickets: $30. Contact Jess Foxen at (866) 223-2231 or jfoxen@michigannature.org to reserve your seats.

© Patricia Pennell

© MNA Archives

Grand Rapids Annual Meeting Saturday, April 28, 2018 12:30 p.m. - 4:30 p.m. Frederik Meijer Gardens & Sculpture Park Grand Rapids

To RSVP, contact Jess Foxen at (866) 223-2231 or jfoxen@michigannature.org. 30

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Membership Matters | MNA © Nancy Leonard

Fall Hikes, Tours and Excursions Tour an MNA sanctuary and discover some of Michigan’s most fascinating places. Guided hikes are lead by MNA staff and stewards, and open to all MNA members. Mushroom Identification Walk September 20, 5:30 p.m.

Dolan Nature Sanctuary Kent County, near Grand Rapids Join state certified mushroom expert Nicole Mathias in learning basic mushroom identification at this beautiful forested sanctuary along the Coldwater River. Contact: John Bagley, jbagley@michigannature.org © Marianne Glosenger

Changing Forests Field Trip and Hike September 23, 11 a.m.

Black Creek Nature Sanctuary Keweenaw County, near Calumet Join Patricia Butler, MTU Climate Change Research Scientist, on a hike with a focus on climate change and our ever-changing forests. During this hike, we will talk about which trees and habitats are most vulnerable, and how we can implement some adaptation actions that help us overcome these vulnerabilities. Contact: Nancy and Bill Leonard, nancy@einerlei.com

Fall Color Hike October 14, 1:30 p.m.

Phillips Family Memorial Nature Sanctuary Van Buren County, near Decatur Join us as we hike this large and beautiful sanctuary. The Pepperidge trees should be near peak with their stunning maroon leaves. Contact: John Bagley, jbagley@michigannature.org

Fall Color Hike October 21, 10 a.m.

Lefglen Nature Sanctuary Jackson County, near Grass Lake Steward Pat Gallagher leads a nature hike showcasing the beautiful fall colors of tamaracks, hardwoods, and other vegetation that can be found in Lefglen’s varied habitats. Contact: Rachel Maranto, rmaranto@michigannature.org

Double Sanctuary Tours October 28, 10 a.m.

Barvick’s Sand Dunes and Wade Memorial Nature Sanctuary Van Buren County, near Watervliet We will visit two sanctuaries for a doubleheader fall color walk. We will start at Barkvick’s Sand Dunes exploring the beautiful dunes and back dune forest. Then we will take a short drive to Wade Memorial where we will have lunch followed by a walk among the giant oak and hemlock trees. Contact: John Bagley, jbagley@michigannature.org

For additional hikes, tours and excursions, visit www.michigannature.org and click on the Events tab.

3rd Edition of Walking Paths The 3rd Edition of Walking Paths & Protected Areas of the Keweenaw describes over 20 sanctuaries and preserves in Houghton and Keweenaw Counties. Each description includes driving directions, a trail map, interesting plants, animals and geology, and conservation history, along with color photos of each site. The guidebook is a collaboration with other land conservation organizations and units of government with protected lands in the Keweenaw Peninsula. Call MNA at (866) 223-2231 to reserve your copy!

michigan nature | fall 2017


Booknotes | MNA Recommended Reading Pollination Power

Heather Angel University of Chicago Press, Hardcover Price: $40.00 From the wings of moths to the feet of hoverflies and the head feathers of nectar-seeking birds, the process of pollination is a natural marvel. How do the many annuals, perennials, shrubs and trees that populate the globe manage to lure the aid of bees and butterflies and other creatures at exactly the appropriate time? Pollination Power offers a unique, truly bird’s-eye view of the wonders of pollination at work. In stunning full-color images, employing the latest photographic techniques, esteemed photographer Heather Angel captures the intimate interactions of plants with their floral pollinators. The plants come not only from Angel’s Surrey backyard and the Royal Botanic Gardens at Kew, but from twenty countries where Angel has travelled—from the rich floral kingdoms of the Cape of South Africa to the diversity of China and the Americas. The photos illustrate the varied techniques that flowers use to communicate with their pollinators. Some, for example, change color when the flower no longer has rewards to offer. Others control precisely when pollinators enter or leave by timing when they open and close their petals or when they emit a scent. This fascinating array of pollination repertoires crossfertilizes Angel’s photos with a descriptive text.

Monarchs and Milkweed: A Migratory Butterfly, a Poisonous Plant, and Their Remarkable Story of Coevolution Anurag Agrawal Princeton University Press, Hardcover Price: $29.95

New & Noteworthy “The Best Read Naturalist”: Nature Writings of Ralph Waldo Emerson Ralph Waldo Emerson Edited by Michael Branch and Clinton Mohs University of Virginia Press Hardcover, $65.00 A collection of little known essays from one of the world’s first environmentalists.

Mozart’s Starling Lyanda Lynn Haupt Little, Brown and Company Hardcover, $27.00

A seasoned birder and naturalist explores the intelligence and spirit of a much-reviled bird that once captivated Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart.

Monarch butterflies are one of nature’s most recognizable creatures, known for their bright colors and epic annual migration from the United States and Canada to Mexico. Yet there is much more to the Monarch than its distinctive presence and mythic journeying. In Monarchs and Milkweed, Anurag Agrawal presents a vivid investigation into how the monarch butterfly has evolved closely alongside the milkweed—a toxic plant named for the sticky white substance emitted when its leaves are damaged—and how this inextricable and intimate relationship has been like an arms race over the millennia, a battle of exploitation and defense between two fascinating species.

Selected Writings John Muir Introduction by Terry Tempest Williams Everyone’s Library Hardcover, $30.00

Lavishly illustrated with more than eighty color photos and images, Monarchs and Milkweed takes readers on an unforgettable exploration of one of nature’s most important and sophisticated evolutionary relationships.

A new collection of the seminal writings of America’s founder of the modern conservation movement.


michigan nature | fall 2017

Voices | MNA


“There are careers for someone who loves science and the outdoors.”

Aaron Wesche Addison High School biology and botany teacher for 17 years, track coach and believer in connecting kids to nature

What surprises you most about today’s students and their relationship to nature? The thing that surprises me the most is the fact that the majority of my students do not have any sort of relationship with nature. Except for a couple of farmers and a few hunters, my students do not venture out into nature. They don’t know how to act when we go out. For example, we have to talk before going to Goose Creek Nature Sanctuary about several things such as staying in a line when walking out to our worksite so we make as small a path as possible. I stress to them to take only pictures and leave only footprints. You take your students to Goose Creek and Lefglen Nature Sanctuaries for learning and service projects. MNA staff visit your classroom and participate in the Addison Family Science Night. How does your partnership with MNA make a difference for you and your students?

plant a seed and create a time-lapse video with their phone on the germination and growth of the seed. Rachel Maranto (MNA Regional Stewardship Organizer) helps teach students how to use the wildflower field guides when we are out working. I then have them return to school and try to find an online guide with their phones and see if they can identify the flowers with the book and then with their phones. Your students make maple syrup. What do they learn from that experience?

“MNA has opened my students’ eyes to a whole new aspect of science.”

The working relationship with MNA has unlocked a great deal of opportunities to get my students out of the classroom and into nature to learn hands-on. They will never forget what an invasive species is and why MNA is working on removing them from the nature sanctuaries. Students tell me they love going out to Goose Creek and Lefglen for that experience. Our relationship with MNA has also opened my students’ eyes to a whole new aspect of science—it’s not just lab work with chemicals and microscopes. There are careers for someone who loves science and the outdoors. How do you teach students about the natural world with so many technology distractions such as cell phones and video games that disconnect them from nature? The thing that keeps me inspired is finding ways to get them to use their technology in nature. This school year, I will have them

We make maple syrup as a way to study the function of tissues in trees. More importantly, we use it as a way to show students that they can make their own food, a direct way to connect them to nature. We also live in an area where some families struggle financially. I figure if I can teach them how to make and grow their own food, it might help them when they grow older. How else do you bring nature into your students’ lives? And how do you know if you have succeeded?

I spent three years working with our school’s Education Foundation to raise money to purchase and construct a greenhouse. We have had our physics department design and construct an aquaponics system and we have solar panels that provide electricity to an outlet in the greenhouse. My botany students have to pick a do-it-yourself project every year, basically they have to design a project to grow plants. It’s amazing to see their ideas come to life. A community garden at the school, raising chickens, constructing a wind turbine, starting beehives— there’s no shortage of ideas. The biggest thing is when a student starts telling me what they’re doing at home—starting a garden, designing a planter, taking their parents out to Goose Creek Nature Sanctuary. If kids are starting to do this at home, I’ve reached that kid.

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Legacies | MNA

Remembering Harry Elkin A generous bequest from long-time member Harry Elkin (1921-2017) will help MNA continue to protect the Michigan native plants he cherished. We asked David Bialock to share his uncle’s story. The son of Polish and Russia immigrants, Harry spent his childhood and early youth until college in Mt. Clemens. He earned his B.A. at the University of Michigan in 1943 and completed his M.A. in Education at the same institution in 1947. In 1951, Harry married Irene (nee Kensey), who remained his inseparable companion until she passed away at age 94 in 2012. They traveled the world, especially Europe, returning each summer to visit Irene’s family in Sweden, where Harry could also give free reign to his passion for Nordic flora. Until their retirement in their sixties, both Harry and Irene were very popular teachers in the Detroit and Grosse Pointe school districts.

In addition to his love of gardening and nature, Harry will always be remembered as conversationalist, storyteller, and for his never to be heard again sublime sense of humor. In gardening, he borrowed from nature. Though his physical garden may survive only in memory, the joy he found in it will be encountered anew in the wildflowers of MNA nature sanctuaries. Some of Harry’s native plants have found a home at the Cranbrook Institute. Read more about Harry’s life on the Legacy page of our website, www.michigannature.org. © Sasha Bialock

Over a period of sixty years, starting in the early 1950s, Harry transformed the drab suburban plot of his Grosse Pointe Park home into a botanical wonderland that would attract visitors and travelers from all over Michigan and the world. In the early years of his ever expanding garden, his nephews and nieces fondly remember the long muddy hikes in woods with Harry and Irene to look for wildflowers.

As a gardener, horticulturalist, and landscapist, Harry had a special fondness for trilliums. He became a recognized expert and corresponded with fellow horticulturalists, botanists, and plantsmen throughout the country and all over the world, from Europe to China to Japan. He was an active member in numerous organizations, including the Michigan Nature Association going all the way back to at least the early 1960s.

In 1961, Harry was awarded a Bronze Medal by the Men’s Garden Club of Detroit for supervising a new program designed to introduce school children to the pleasures of gardening. Harry’s educational project was the culmination of his lifelong love of gardening and the natural world.

Memorials and Honoraria

April 1, 2017 - August 1, 2017

Donations given in memory or honor of MNA members and friends appear here in tribute. To learn how you can honor a loved one, call (866) 223-2231 or visit www.michigannature.org.

In Memory of:

Maurice and Helen Branch by Carol Branch and Deb Ledford Robert and Viola Brown by Erik Brown and Barbara Weinstein Charles Burkhardt by Dr. Lewis Rosenbaum Linda Byington by Dr. Lewis Rosenbaum Warren Chappell by Dr. Lewis Rosenbaum Marianne DeBene by Dr. Lewis Rosenbaum Carl Domitrovich by Ruth Baker

Fred Dye by John Dye Laura Kici by Dr. Lewis Rosenbaum Cherri Leatz by Dr. Lewis Rosenbaum Lefty and Glenna Levengood by Wendy Vela Helen McAllister by Pamela Miller Sara Moss by Dr. Lewis Rosenbaum Ruth Peters by Dr. Lewis Rosenbaum Jim Rooks by Bill Deephouse and Marcia Goodrich

Asa Shapiro by Dr. Lewis Rosenbaum George W. Swenson, Jr. by Matthew Knight by Georgia Makens by Pauia Watson by Frederick and Susan Lamb Kathleen Tahtinen by Dr. Lewis Rosenbaum Curtis Vail by Linda and John Harris Charles (Chuck) White by Dr. Lewis Rosenbaum Beatrice Winters by Dr. Lewis Rosenbaum

In Honor of:

Ally Brown by Eric Brown Sharon DeBar by DeWitt Millennium Garden Club Tish Dersnah by Mary Lirones Stephen Kelley by Brian and Anita Kelley Ruth Vail by Alice and Dale Valaskovic

“The work MNA has done is simply irreplaceable... MNA is protecting the soul of Michigan.” Dave Dempsey

award-winning author of Ruin and Recovery: Michigan’s Rise as a Conservation Leader

Photo © Wendy Caldwell, Monarch Joint Venture

© Michigan Nut Photography

MNA’s Statewide Network of Nature Sanctuaries For over 65 years, MNA’s members, donors and volunteers have built an unparalleled statewide network of nature sanctuaries. Today there is at least one MNA nature sanctuary in 58 of Michigan’s 83 counties.

Alcona County

Benzie County

Alger County

Berrien County

McAlvay Memorial Handford Memorial Twin Waterfalls

Allegan County Allegan Valley Wade Memorial

Alpena County


Four Macomb County Ladies Pepperidge Dunes Trillium Ravine Beck Memorial

Alta Warren Parsons Memorial

Calhoun County

Clinton County

Kope Kon

Antrim County

Cass County

Baraga County

Baraga Old Growth Lightfoot Bay

Barry County

Thornapple River Thornapple Lake

Clare County

Branch County

Colby Peter Memorial Gull Island Grass Island Bird Island Morris Bay Cedar River Green River

Zeerip Memorial Soo Muskeg Schafer Family at Roach Point Carlton Lake Wetlands Harvey’s Rocks Carey Memorial

Campbell Memorial Pennfield Bog Fish Lake Bog Flowering Dogwood Dowagiac Woods Riley-Shurte Woods Radebaugh Memorial Wilding

Chippewa County

Pat Grogan Munuscong Lake Lake Superior Lake Huron Sand Dunes

A Looking Glass Sanctuary

Delta County

Martin Bay Three Wilderness Islands Bertha K Daubendiek

Genesee County

Dauner Martin White Cedar Swamps Zahrfeld Memorial

Gladwin County

Briggs Cox Memorial

Hillsdale County Sarah Jane’s

Hobert Memorial Sand Creek Prairie

Houghton County

Robert Thorson Brown Rockafellow Memorial River Bend

Huron County

Sonnenberg Memorial Saginaw Wetlands Kernan Memorial

Ingham County

Red Cedar River

Iosco County Frinks Pond

Jackson County Columbia Lefglen

Kalamazoo County Wilkie Memorial Flowerfield Creek Barton Lake Palmer Memorial Brewer Woods

Kent County Dolan

Keweenaw County

Dean Webster Memorial Estivant Pines Upson Lake Keweenaw Shores I Keweenaw Shores II Klipfel Memorial Rooks Memorial Hylton Memorial Gunn Memorial Grinnell Memorial Eagle Harbor Red Pine Dunes Cy Clark Memorial Black Creek Redwyn’s Dunes Gratiot Lake Overlook John J. Helstrom Mariner’s Preserve at Silver River Falls

Scherer Epoufette Bay Bois Blanc Island Beavertail Point Michigan Meridian Hiawatha

Macomb County Wilcox Warnes

Marquette County

Braastad Echo Lake Myrtle Justeson Memorial

Midland County Bullock Creek

Monroe County Swan Creek

Montcalm County Krum Memorial

Lake County

Muskegon County

Lapeer County

Newaygo County

Lenawee County

Oakland County

Pere Marquette Petite Wetland Zucker Memorial Martin Beland Miller Robert Powell Memorial Willow Lake Prairie Slough Goose Creek Grasslands McCulley-Bastian Broehl Memorial 1 Broehl Memorial 2 Tiffin River

Five Lakes Muskegon Karner Blue Newaygo Prairie

Lambs Fairbanks Clifford and Calla Burr Memorial Lakeville Swamp Timberland Swamp Yntema Wildlife Oasis Rose Center Wetlands Brandon Township Morgan Porritt Big Valley

Frost Pocket

Presque Isle County Mystery Valley Karst

Roscommon County

Leatherleaf Jack Pine Bog Jackson Memorial

Sanilac County Birch Creek

Schoolcraft County

Oceana County

Fox River Huntington Memorial Walker Memorial Cedar Lake Manistique Dune and Swale

Ogemaw County

Shiawassee River

Two Hearted River Swamp Lakes Moose Refuge Trout Lake

Ontonagon County

Mackinac County

Oscoda County

Leonatti Memorial Louis G. Senghas Polovich Memorial Bertha A. Daubendiek Trillium Trail Galbraith Ray Memorial McGaw Memorial

Livingston County

Bullard Lake Fen Lyle and Mary Rizor Hudspeth Memorial H.E. Hardy Memorial

Luce County

Stratton Memorial Beaver Dam Fred Dye

Genevieve Casey Lost Lake

Theodore Hunt Memorial

Osceola County Osceola Woods

Kenneth R. Luneack

Otsego County

Shiawassee County St. Clair County

Jasper Woods Memorial Brennan Memorial Edna S. Newnan Alice W. Moore Woods St. Clair Lakeplain Forest

St. Joseph County

Prairie Banks White Pigeon River Sauk Indian Trail Chen Memorial Prairie Ronde Savanna Hildegard Wintergerst

Tuscola County

Wood Duck Domain

Van Buren County

Phillips Family Memorial Black River Hultmark Memorial Barvicks Sand Dunes Bankson Lake Bog Great Bear Swamp

Washtenaw County

Joan Rodman Memorial

Wayne County

Evans Memorial

Michigan Nature Association


2310 Science Parkway, Suite 100 Okemos, MI 48864 www.michigannature.org

Race for Michigan Nature There are four races left in the 2017 Race for Michigan Nature series!


Paint Creek Trail September 17, 2017 Kids Fun Run: 10:30 a.m. 5K Run/Walk: 11:00 a.m.

Ann Arbor

Gallup Park September 24, 2017 Kids Fun Run: 10:30 a.m. 5K Run/Walk: 11:00 a.m.

Participants learn about Michigan’s endangered species, receive race t-shirts, medals, and complimentary memberships to the Michigan Nature Association. Each 5K race is timed and there are prizes for the male and female overall winners. Not a runner? No problem! Walkers are welcome, too! Bring the whole family! Kids can walk/run their own short course. Registration is open! Go to our website at www. michigannature.org or the Race for Michigan Nature Facebook page to sign up. Contact Jess Foxen for questions at (866) 223-2231 or jfoxen@michigannature.org. We hope to see you there!


Mayor’s Riverfront Park October 1, 2017 Kids Fun Run: 10:30 a.m. 5K Run/Walk: 11:00 a.m.

Belle Isle, Detroit

Belle Isle Park October 8, 2017 Kids Fun Run: 8:30 a.m. 5K Run/Walk: 9:00 a.m.

Michigan Nature Association www.michigannature.org

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