Activities

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2018 Ecology Fun Schedule

Come join the Ecology Fun classes for ages 4-6 from 2:30-3:30 p.m. and ages 7-10 from 3:30-4:30 p.m.!

  • Monday, June 25 - Amalia Fernand (Nature Explorers) - Rocks and Minerals
  • Friday, June 29 - Kama Ross (Grand Traverse Conservation District) - Trees
  • Friday, July 6 - Amalia Fernand (Nature Explorers) - Herpetology (Reptiles and Amphibians)
  • Friday, July 13 - Emily Cook (Invasive Species Network) - Native and Invasive Plants
  • Friday, July 20 - Alan Marble (CSA /North Alaska Expeditions) - Mammals
  • Friday, July 27 - Jane Perrino, John Ransom, Jodi Monteith (Benzie Conservation District) - Native and Invasive Aquatics
  • Friday, August 3 - Cheryl Gross (Plant It Wild) and Carolyn Thayer (Designs In Bloom) - Pollinators
  • Friday, August 10 - Amy Heniser Robison (Frankfort Elementary School) - Food Chains

Adult volunteers are most welcome to assist in these classes.

2018 Ecology Explorers Schedule

The Ecology Explorers program for ages 11-14 will again be piloted this season. Two “off campus” outings will be offered. Benzie Bus will provide the transportation.

  • Thursday, July 12 - 12:30-3:30 p.m. - Crystal Lake Boat Launch with Jane Perrino of Benzie Conservation District
  • Thursday, July 19 - 12:30-2:30 p.m. - Platte River State Fish Hatchery

CSA Butterfly Garden Pollinators Report 2017

By: Hannah Burgener 

The Butterfly Garden next to the CSA Building is habitat to many pollinators. Pollinators in Northern Michigan include species of birds, bats, native bees, butterflies, beetles, and some wasps. These pollinators are vital for our ecosystem, food supply, and natural resources by helping plants reproduce. This garden at the CSA acts as a certified Monarch Butterfly ‘Waystation’, as well as supporting many other species of pollinator insects.

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On July 31st, the Butterfly Garden was monitored from approximately 11:30 a.m. - 12:30 p.m. and the following pollinator species were observed. The weather this day was 76° F and sunny with low winds.

❖ Monarch Butterfly
❖ Common Eastern Bumble Bee
❖ Sweat Bee
❖ Mining Bee
❖ Honey Bee
❖ Great Golden Digger Wasp
❖ Cabbage White Butterfly
❖ Black Swallowtail Butterfly

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Over 100 Common Eastern Bumble Bees visited the Hypericum shrub within the hour, but also appeared on the Orange Coneflowers and the Harebell flowers. A Monarch butterfly was seen on the Butterfly Weed and three Cabbage White Butterflies enjoyed the pale purple Coneflowers. Three Great Golden Digger Wasps were observed fighting and landing on the Butterfly Weed, as well as the Whorled Milkweed. Only two small Sweat Bees were seen, and they were only on the Coreopsis. A Black Swallowtail Butterfly was noticed, but it did not land on any particular plant within the garden. It should be noted that the Black Swallowtail prefers plants within the carrot family, such as dill.

On August 1st, the weather was 76° F, mostly sunny with winds slightly higher at 11mph. Pollinator species on this day were monitored for approximately thirty minutes from 11:30 a.m. - 12:00 p.m. and the following species were observed.

❖ Long Horned Bee
❖ Monarch Butterfly
❖ Eastern Bumble bee
❖ European Paper Wasp
❖ Great Golden Digger Wasp
❖ Cabbage White Butterfly
❖ Small Sweat Bees
❖ Hoverfly

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On this day the Eastern Bumble Bee seemed to enjoy the Hypericum Shrub as much as it did the previous day; however, there appeared to be fewer of them, perhaps due to an increase in wind that day. A few Eastern Bumble Bees were spotted on the Culver's Root plant as well. Interestingly, there was a higher presence of wasp species, such as the European Paper Wasp and Great Golden Digger Wasp. It should be noted that European Paper Wasps are considered an invasive species throughout North America. Multiple Cabbage White Butterflies were seen in the garden and appeared to be most attracted to an invasive species called Hoary Alyssum growing as a weed near Cone flowers. The Hoary Alyssum was later removed from the Butterfly Garden. On the North end of the Butterfly Garden a species of Hoverfly was discovered on an Orange Coneflower. Two Monarch Butterflies were on the tall Marsh Milkweed, one of four different Milkweeds in the CSA Butterfly Garden.

Protecting the CSA Grounds from Invasive Plants

Through the Ecology Committee the CSA has become a working partner with the North West Michigan Invasive Species Network (ISN). The ISN is a collaboration of over 40 partners in Benzie, Grand Traverse, Leelanau, and Manistee counties working to manage the invasive terrestrial plant populations that threaten Michigan’s natural communities. ISN was formed in 2005, and has been cooperating with partner organizations, municipalities and private property owners to remove and treat invasive species since. Most visible is the help they have given the CSA, free of charge, over the past three years with the removal of garlic mustard, dame’s rocket and invasive shrubs. ISN has also provided free workshops which have assisted our understanding of the importance of controlling the growth of invasive species.

As a result of this partnership, an Invasive Species Monitoring Group of about 20 CSA volunteers has formed. They have divided the CSA grounds among them, and with assistance from the folks at ISN, will survey the property periodically during the year to determine the extent of invasive plant growth and learn to detect new invasive species before they multiply and get out of control. The purpose of these efforts is to save the CSA time, money, and effort, as well as to protect the CSA environment for the future. The monitoring group’s data and suggested responses will be reported to the Board of Trustees and CSA community.

If you would like to volunteer for these monitoring efforts, please contact Nancy Baglan at or (314) 749-0099.

Below you will find a link to a very interesting article published by the North West Michigan Invasive Species Network, presenting information on the invasive plants that pose particular risk to our grounds, as well as to the greater Michigan communities. We hope you find it helpful.

Escaping Ornamentals: A Threat to Natural Area Biodiversity