Conservation Club

Conservation club works behind the scenes to protect environment

May 20, 2010 // 0 Comments

Anyone who enjoys a walk in the woods, a breath of fresh air, or a day trip to the lakeshore can be part of the team that keeps these places protected so future generations can enjoy them as well. It is as easy as a walk in the park. Members of Rockford’s chapter of the Izaak Walton League of American learned about a program for protecting our outdoors that any resident can help with. It is easy to appreciate Michigan’s great outdoors when spring is in the air and blossoms dominate woods and fields, but Ikes members have the outdoors on their minds all year round. Early this year, when the predominate landscape color was white, members enjoyed a banquet and silent auction and learned about the Michigan State University Michigan Invasive Species Information Network (MISIN). Speaker Melanie Good, stewardship coordinator of the Michigan Land Conservancy and president of the Grand Rapids Audubon Club, offered information about MISIN and the latest philosophy of fighting invasive species. Spring is a time when many invasive species are most visible. Starlings crowd birdfeeders, purple loosestrife blooms across wetlands, and the white flowers of garlic mustard blanket many woodland settings. Species such as garlic mustard overcrowd native plants such as our woodland trillium, bloodroot, wild ginger and mayapple. “How many of you have only noticed invasives when they are out of control?” Good asked the crowd of about 100 people at the annual banquet. She said invasives, unlike other forms of biologic disaster, threaten long-term, even permanent damage. When disasters happen, such as oil spills, time eventually will restore the habitat to its native condition. Invasive species do not allow similar healing. Good said in some places, invasives such as garlic mustard and Japanese knotweed are so embedded it is likely hopeless to attempt to eradicate them. She advised instead a plan of early detection and rapid response protection. In Rockford a prime property to protect is the Maas Nature Preserve off Summitt Avenue, an oak barrens and habitat for the endangered Karner blue butterfly. “We don’t live in the same world we used to live in,” Good said. Protecting land no longer means purchasing it and letting it alone. “We can no longer let nature take its course.” […]