Saturday, May 28, 2016

Daily Diversity! Week 2

Hey everyone! Here are the species for this week.

Wild Geranium
Scientific name:  Geranium maculatum

Anishinabemowin name:  ozaawaaskwiniins

This perennial herbaceous plant, which produces flowers of a purplish hue in the springtime/early summer, has been used in herbal medicine and can also be used simply as a garden plant.
Fun fact: Wild geraniums are astringents, which means that they have the ability to contract tissues and thus prevent further bleeding. In effect, they are one of Mother Nature’s own “band-aids”!
For more info on wild geraniums, check out this website!

Scientific name: Trillium
Anishinabemowin name:  ininiiwindibiigegan

Some species of Trillium are listed as threatened or endangered, and even picking off parts of the plant without damaging the roots can kill it - be careful!
Fun fact: A white trillium is currently the emblem and official flower of Ontario, Canada, while the large white trillium is the official wildflower of Ohio. Due to this connection between the two places, major league soccer teams in Toronto and Columbus compete with each other for the Trillium Cup!
For more info on trillium, visit this website!

Wild Ginger
Scientific name: Asarum canadense

Anishinabemowin name:  namepin

These low-growing herbs found across the temperate zones of the Northern Hemisphere can be easily identified by their characteristic kidney-shaped leaves.
Fun fact: Recent medical studies suggest that the root of this plant contains two kinds of antibiotics, but that it should be used with caution, as it also contains toxic chemicals!
For more info on wild ginger, visit this website!

White Birch

Scientific name: Betula papyrifera

Anishinabemowin name: wiigwaas

This deciduous tree grows all over Alaska, Canada, and the northern US! 
Fun Fact: “Grandfather birch” (a term of respect given by the Anishinabe) has been used for many things, including boxes, canoes, and fire-starting material! The tree is so important and useful that even the Anishinabe word for house,wiigwaam, is related to the word for birch, wiigwaas.
For more info, visit this website! 

Lakeside Daisy
Scientific name: Hymenoxys herbacea

Anishinabemowin name: mnidoo waawaaskones ezwaawak

This endangered perennial flower is incredibly rare and grows only in alvar habitats. Many of these habitats have unfortunately been destroyed due to limestone mining.
Fun Fact: The Lakeside daisy is so rare that in Michigan, it only grows wild in one small location in the Upper Peninsula! The Lakeside daisies pictured above grow in the Great Lakes Gardens at Matthaei, which is dedicated to native regional plants growing in their unique habitats!
For more information, check out this website!

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.