Ranger Steve’s Nature Niche Wildland Conservation Organizations

Organizations with focused visions target specific conservation initiatives for wildlife and plant communities. We cannot care for species or natural communities important to human survival without knowing about native species and their function in nature.

Too often we have constructed buildings and filled floodplains that caused increased flooding of residences and business downstream. We have placed drain tiles in areas to increase tillable farmland and caused increased flooding of homes and businesses downstream. In addition to personal loss for owners downstream, it costs taxpayers twice when money is used to subsidize agricultural tiling and wetland draining for community development in areas that should remain natural. Secondly government funding often provides money to help families flooded out of their homes or businesses.

Knowledgeable zoning commissions and community members could avoid the economic and personal trauma of loss with increased ecological understanding of nature niches. Too often contractors have been allowed to fill and build where it is not safe for downstream residents.

To gain an ecological intelligence it is first important to have enjoyable experiences in the outdoors when growing up to discover the wonders of the surrounding world. Once we begin to discover biodiversity by exposing family, friends and members to outdoor experiences, we will likely become interested in the landscape that secures economic and living safety for our families. That knowledge could guide us to become what used to be called conservationists and has become known as environmentalists.

Exposure in the nature broadens our experience to a holistic understanding for how humans interact and with the natural world. Many organizations provide outings and opportunities to learn nature and the species that live in association with our yards. Too often we spend money to destroy and eliminate important species that keep our yards healthy functioning components of a neighborhood. Healthy stewardship of our yards could preserve multitudes of species that are killed when we try to eliminate a few species we perceive as harmful to us or vegetable gardens.

What are these organizations? Individual articles detailing each organization could be written but here they are simply listed. Hopefully some will peek interest and you will search the Inter Net to learn more. Many have frequent meetings and field trips for learning, sharing, and becoming knowledgeable about ecological stewardship in our yards to improve family security, joy, and quality of life.

Local Organizations: River City Wild Ones, Land Conservancy of West Michigan, Grand Rapids Audubon, White Pine Chapter of Michigan Botanical Club, Trout Unlimited, Dwight Lydell Chapter of Isaac Walton League, Michigan Audubon, West Michigan Butterfly Association (WMBA), Michigan Entomological Society, West Michigan Environmental Action Council, Master Naturalists and Master Gardeners programs through MSU Kent County Extension, and Groundswell & its community partners, Sierra Club. This is not a complete list but it provides connections associated with mammals, birds, reptiles, amphibian, fish, insects, plants, outdoor experiences as well as broad natural community health initiatives.

Learning Centers: Blandford Nature Center, Howard Christensen Nature Center, Wittenbach/Wege Agri-science and Environmental Education Center, Ody Brook Nature Sanctuary, Calvin College Ecosystem Preserve, Outdoor Discovery Center, Fredrick Meijer Gardens, and Public Museum of Grand Rapids.

Regional organizations: City, Twp, County, State, and National Parks. National Audubon, Defender’s of Wildlife, North American Butterfly Association, Lepidopterists Society that supports local youth science training with Outer-net Kits through WMBA, National Wildlife Federation and it associated Michigan United Conservation Clubs.

Natural history questions or topic suggestions can be directed to Ranger Steve (Mueller) at odybrook@chartermi.net Ody Brook, 13010 Northland Dr, Cedar Springs, MI 49319-8433.