Tuesday, May 24, 2016

Bob Grese named honorary member of Garden Club of America

Robert E. Grese, Theodore Roosevelt Chair of Ecosystem Management at the University of Michigan and director of the Matthaei Botanical Gardens and Nichols Arboretum there, has been named an honorary member of The Garden Club of America, one of its highest accolades.  Grese was recognized during a presentation at the GCA’s annual meeting here this morning.

Honorary members of the GCA are men and women of distinction in in fields such as horticulture and conservation who are not, nor ever have been, members of a GCA club.  Honorary membership is limited to 95 individuals, and a maximum of four are selected each year.  Named along with Grese were Kris S. Jarantoski, executive vice president and director of the Chicago Botanic Garden, and Douglas W. Tallamy, professor and chair, Department of Entomology and Wildlife Ecology, University of Delaware.  The Garden Club of Michigan, founding member of the GCA, nominated Grese for honorary membership. 

Kathy Stradar (left), Garden Club of AmericaAdmissions Committee lead, with Bob Greseat the awards ceremony in Minneapolis May 22, 2016.

Grese’s research and teaching revolve around ecologically based landscape design and management sensitive to a region’s cultural and natural history.  In honoring Grese, the GCA hailed him as an “extraordinary leader, designer, researcher, teacher and guide, a true Renaissance man in his field.” 

Grese’s particular focus has been on restoring urban wilds, specifically prairie and oak savanna ecosystems, integrating and connecting people to nature and fostering volunteer stewardship.  Grese has documented the work of early designers Jens Jensen and O.C. Simonds, who pioneered the prairie style of landscape architecture and advocated the use of native plants.  A leading authority on Jensen, Grese demonstrated how Jensen’s early work directly contributed to the fields of restoration ecology and conservation biology.  His book, Jens Jensen: Maker of Natural Parks and Gardens, is regarded as the seminal scholarly work on this important landscape designer.  A second book, The Native Landscape Reader, is a collection of writings by early American conservation leaders, landscape designers and horticulturists. 

As a practical extension of his interest in historic ecological landscape design, Grese is considered a leader in documenting Midwestern landscapes and has helped develop national landmark nominations for both the Edsel & Eleanor Ford House and the Henry Ford estate, Fair Lane.

Grese is a prolific author and speaker and has held positions on numerous local and national boards and committees, including serving as an honorary director of the Wild Ones, an adviser to the Library of American Landscape History and a member of the Natural Areas Technical Advisory Committee for the Washtenaw County Parks and Recreation Commission.

The GCA is a nonprofit national organization composed of 200 clubs with some 18,000 members who devote energy and expertise to projects in their communities and across the United States.  Founded in 1913, the GCA is a leader in horticulture, conservation and civic improvement.  (www.gcamerica.org).

Friday, May 20, 2016

Daily Diversity! Week 1

Last week, while pulling some weeds, a few members of the MBG team brainstormed an idea for a blog on native Michigan wildlife. This blog would help interns and anyone interested learn about the diversity in Michigan by sending out daily posts, complete with names, fun facts, pictures, and sometimes even a sound bite! Throughout the summer, there would be quizzes to help cement the info in everyone's brains.

Well, lucky for you, the interns have decided to make this dream a reality! We present to you the Daily Diversity Blog! (dailydiversitymbg.tumblr.com), which will be updated daily. You will also be able to locate weekly versions of the posts on this blog, and we'll update you each Friday with 5 new species!

We hope you all enjoy this new series! If you have any questions or species suggestions, feel free to contact Jason (jtlafavorite@gmail.com) or Grace (gracpern@umich.edu) for more info! We'd love to hear from you and make this a truly collaborate project!

Here are the species for this week!

Gray Tree Frog
Scientific name: Hyla versicolor
Anishinabemowin name:  agoozimakaki

What’s that sound? It’s the first species in our Daily Diversity blog! This cute little friend is named the gray tree frog. You can find these guys in trees in the eastern US and southeastern Canada.

Fun Fact: Although mostly gray and green, this frog sports some bright yellow spots under his legs! This will help you remember his name: he is pretty versatile with his colors!

Listen to the gray tree frog’s call here!

For more information, visit this website.

Northern White Cedar, or Arborvitae
Scientific name: Thuja occidentalis
Anishinabemowin name: giizhik

The “Grandmother cedar” (a title of respect given by the Anishinabe) has many interesting uses, and its tea is a great source of Vitamin C!

Fun Fact: The Arborvitae isn’t actually a cedar! Instead it’s a member of the cypress family.

For more info, visit this website!

Scientific name: Sanguinaria canadensis
Anishinabemowin name: miskojiibik

Bloodroot is a pretty little perennial that grows all over the eastern and midwestern US!

Fun Fact: Sanguinaria, an active chemical found in bloodroot, is used in many commercial mouthwashes and toothpastes because of its bacteria-killing properties! BE CAREFUL, though! The raw juice and roots are poisonous to humans!

For more info, check out this website!

Scientific name: Charadrius vociferus
Anishinabemowin name: miskode`agashkooz

This peculiar plover is pretty large for its kind, weighing in at about 3 ounces. Watch where you step, because the killdeer likes to make its nest in the ground!

Fun Fact: To remember this bird’s name, keep in mind that it has many different types of calls, which makes it a very vociferous bird!

To hear the Killdeer’s call, click here!

For more info, visit this website!

Mayapple and Mayapple Rust
Scientific names: Podophyllum peltatum and Allodus podophylli
Anishinabemowin name:  bookade`imin

SPECIAL DOUBLE WHAMMY! This woodland perennial (with a cool secret flower) is not an apple, but it can grow in large colonies that all come from the same root! The mayapple rust is a bright orange fungus that usually affects mayapple leaves in the summer.

Fun Fact: Mayapple can be used to treat warts! It’s currently also being researched on it’s ability to fight cancer.

For more info on mayapple, visit this website!

For info on mayapple rust, check out this page!

Have a great week!

Monday, May 16, 2016

Thousands of heirloom peonies set to bloom at the University of Michigan’s Nichols Arboretum

May 23-June 11 (approximate), sunrise to sunset daily. Garden blooms depending on the weather. Visit our dedicated peony garden website: peony.mbgna.umich.edu

If you’ve ever wanted to be set adrift in a sea of flowers, spring in the Nichols Arboretum Peony Garden is the place to be. The Arb, as it’s known to campus and townies alike, is home to the largest collection of heirloom herbaceous peonies in North America. Celebrating 94 years of perennial beauty, the peony garden is a national treasure that offers a spring display from Memorial Day to mid-June.

The garden contains more than 270 historic varieties from the nineteenth and early twentieth century representing the best American, Canadian, and European peonies of the era. The plants are arranged in 27 beds with each full bed containing dozens of peonies. The garden holds nearly 800 peonies when filled to capacity and more than 10,000 blooms during peak blossom time. Some of the plants are still growing in the same spot they were planted nearly 100 years ago. Dr. W. E. Upjohn, an alumnus of the University of Michigan and founder of the Upjohn Pharmaceutical Company in Kalamazoo, Michigan, contributed peonies from his own extensive collection, as well as exceptional selections from nationally recognized experts.

Spring weather dictates peony bloom season. That typically begins around the end of May and peaks in early June in waves of white, pink, and red. Although a few peonies have no fragrance, the vast majority have a range of scents from delicate to bold. For the full story of this garden, and the multi-year renovation to transform it into an internationally recognized destination, reference collection, and conservation model, visit the garden’s dedicated website: http://peony.mbgna.umich.edu/

Nichols Arboretum, 1610 Washington Hts., Ann Arbor The peony garden is free to the public sunrise to sunset daily. http://peony.mbgna.umich.edu/

Sponsored by U-M Matthaei Botanical Gardens & Nichols Arboretum.


Photo credit: All photos courtesy Michele Yanga.

Monday, May 2, 2016

Bringing Conservation to Cities - Talk by John Hartig of Detroit River International Wildlife Refuge

A discussion by John Hartig
Tuesday, May 17, 7:30-9 pm
Matthaei Botanical Gardens
1800 N. Dixboro Rd.
Ann Arbor, MI 48105

Hear John Hartig discuss his book Bringing Conservation to Cities, a timely and informative expose of what it takes to foster a conservation ethic in a major urban area, complete with lessons learned.  

Bringing Conservation to Cities is the story of building North America’s only international wildlife refuge in a nearly seven million person urban area that also represents the automobile capitals of the United States and Canada (i.e., Detroit, Michigan and Windsor, Ontario metropolitan area). It presents unique insights into how innovative public-private partnerships are making nature part of everyday urban life in an effort to develop a conservation ethic. The percentage of people in the world living in urban areas has increased from 29% in 1950 to 54% in 2014 and is projected to increase to 60% by 2030. Today, nearly 80% of all Americans and Canadians live in urban areas. Most urban residents are disconnected from the natural world. Therefore, there is growing interest in re-connecting urban residents with nature. Compounding this problem is the fact that most conservationists avoid cities and want to work in pristine or wilderness areas. Furthermore, when scientific assessments are made, most urban areas are found to be too degraded to rank high enough on conservation priority lists. Bringing Conservation to Cities is a timely and informative expose of what it takes to foster a conservation ethic in a major urban area, complete with critical lessons learned, and to simultaneously inspire and develop the next generation of conservationists that must be developed with increasing frequency in urban areas because that is where most people on our planet live. If you are interested in exploring this new urban conservation frontier, one that has numerous challenges and opportunities, and in fostering more urban conservation initiatives throughout the world, than Bringing Conservation to Cities is a must read.

John Hartig
Dr. John Hartig is trained as a limnologist with 30 years of practical experience in environmental science and natural resource management. He currently serves as Refuge Manager for the Detroit RiverInternational Wildlife Refuge. From 1999 to 2004 he served as River Navigator for the Greater Detroit American Heritage River Initiative established by Presidential Executive Order.

Prior to becoming River Navigator, he spent 12 years working for the International Joint Commission on the Canada-U.S. Great Lakes Water Quality Agreement. John has been an Adjunct Professor at Wayne State University where he taught Environmental Management and Sustainable Development. He has authored or co-authored over 100 publications on the Great Lakes, including co-editing two books. John has received a number of awards for his work, including the 2003 Anderson-Everett Award from the International Association for Great Lakes Research and the 1993 Sustainable Development Award for Civic Leadership from Global Tomorrow Coalition.

Thursday, April 21, 2016

Observatory Street Construction Reroutes Summer Arboretum Parking and Traffic

April 21, 2016

Visitors who drive to Nichols Arboretum this summer will need to take a slight diversion as water-main construction begins in early May on Observatory Street, and Washington Hts. becomes a two-way street. As a result, parking meters on Washington Hts. will go away for the duration of the repairs.

The four dedicated Arboretum parking spaces currently located on Washington Hts. near the entrance to the Arb will move to the U-M blue lot M95 (see map below with arrow) across the street from the Arboretum entrance. 

University of Michigan M95 parking lot
Story continues below:

University of Michigan Hospital P2 parking structure.

If you visit the Arb and park in one of these spaces you’ll need to get a hang tag from Matthaei-Nichols staff in the lower level of the Arboretum Visitor Center at the Arb entrance. You’ll definitely need that tag to park in one of the in M95 spots as parking enforcement regularly patrols on central campus. There’s also an option to park during the day before 5 pm in the University of Michigan Hospital P2 parking structure located on E. Medical Center Dr. Parking in the hospital structure costs $2 for a stay of four hours or less. (See map for location of P2 structure.)

Story continues below:

Phase 1 construction May-June 2016
Vehicle access to Washington Heights will change over the summer as well.  During Phase 1 of the project (May-June), drivers can access Washington Hts. and the Arb from either E. Medical Center Drive or the Geddes end of Observatory. Additionally, the “T” intersection of Observatory and E-Medical Center will be closed during Phase 1. (See map of Phase 1.) 

Story continues below:

Phase 2 construction July-August 2016

During Phase 2 (July-August), the west end of Washington Heights (the “T” intersection of Washington Hts. and Observatory) will be closed and vehicle will only have access to Nichols Arboretum from E. Medical Center Drive. (See map of Phase 2.)

Foot traffic to the Arb via Observatory and E. Medical Center Dr. will remain open during both construction phases.

Visitors to the Arb are encouraged to walk, bike, or take public transportation as much as possible. University of Michigan blue buses are free and Ann Arbor Transportation Authority (The Ride), offer several routes with stops very close to the Arboretum.

For more information on public transportation options visit theride.org and the U-M’s bus ride and schedules web page.

Monday, April 18, 2016

Sierra Club Huron Valley Chapter Presents: Climate Change in Ann Arbor: Adaptation and Mitigation

What can one Midwest city do in response to serious threats that climate change poses to the local environment, economy, and livelihoods? Matt Naud, Environmental Coordinator for the City of Ann Arbor, will describe programs that are in place to prepare for unavoidable climate changes that result in greater extremes of heat and cold, precipitation, and potential periods of drought that are anticipated in coming years. Matt will include an update from the MDEQ on the 1,4,dioxane plume that is moving toward Ann Arbor’s water supply.

 Sierra Club Huron Valley Group

Tuesday, April 19, 7:30 pm

Matthaei Botanical Gardens
1800 Dixboro Road, Ann Arbor

Free and open to the public

Friday, April 15, 2016

Walking for Well-Being - The Positive Role of Nature in Human Health

A talk by Melissa Marselle, University of Salford, U.K.

Thursday, April 28, noon-1:30 pm,
James D. Reader, Jr., Urban Environmental Education Center,
University of Michigan Nichols Arboretum
1610 Washington Hts., Ann Arbor (across from C.S Mott Hospital)

Mental health and well-being are considered fundamental to an individual’s quality of life. Yet mental disorders are increasing. The World Health Organization predicts depression will be the second greatest cause of ill health, globally, by 2020. An expanding catalogue of research suggests that interaction with the natural environment contributes to mental well-being, such as restored concentration, enhanced positive mood and self-esteem, and reduced feelings of negative mood, depression, and stress.

Dr. Melissa Marselle, a research fellow in the School of Arts and Media at the University of Salford, U.K., discusses the role of the natural environment in human health, and the benefits gained from group walks in nature. Dr. Marselle will also explore the effect that different types and qualities of the natural environment have on well-being. Event is free; no registration required.

Dr. Melissa Marselle
Dr. Melissa Marselle is Research Fellow in the School of Arts and Media at the University of Salford, U.K. Melissa is an environmental psychologist with over 10 years’ research experience investigating human-environment interactions. She has broad research experience, having worked in projects as diverse as the World Trade Centre evacuation, design against crime, soundscapes, and the health benefits of natural environments. Her research article on well-being and group walks in nature is the most read in the journal Ecopsychology. Melissa is a Chartered Psychologist of the British Psychological Society.