by CINDY M. CRANMER East Rockford Middle School (ERMS) students ended a unique classroom experience with a field trip to the Rogue River and the release of about 30 Chinook salmon smolts into the river. The program, Salmon in the Classroom, was funded by the Grand River Fly Tyers and involved a partnership between the seventh-grade biology classes at ERMS, the Fly Tyers and the Department of Natural Resources and Environment (DNRE). The Grand River Fly Tyers provided all the aquarium equipment and financial support for the program. Jeff Bryant, a seventh-grade teacher at ERMS, took the training and involved his biology and science students in the program. “The culmination of this science project with the release of the salmon has been great,” Bryant said. “The students selected have been so excited.” Approximately 130 students in five different classes were involved with 25 being randomly selected to attend the field trip to release the salmon smolts in the Rogue River. The DNRE participates in the year-long program by providing the teachers who are involved in the program with training and fertilized salmon eggs from a DNRE fish hatchery. The students hatch the eggs out, feed and raise the small fry in a tank, and then release the three- to four-inch young salmon smolts into the Rogue River. The salmon will eventually make their way to Lake Michigan, where they will live for three to four years before returning to the Rogue River in Rockford to spawn. About 200 Chinook salmon eggs were placed into the tank on November 8, 2011 and about 30 were released into the Rogue River at Richardson-Sowerby Park on May 9, 2012. Losing so many salmon in the first year is not unusual and also teaches the students a lesson about nature and survival. “This was really fun to see them everyday and now to release them,” said Grace Kropiewnicki, seventh-grader. “I was really excited to be selected.” Kropiewnicki said the students may see the salmon again someday, or at least maybe people like her brother who fish in the Rogue River. The Salmon in the Classroom program has been running for several years. It teaches students about everything from the life cycles of salmon to life history of fish to […]
Department of Natural Resources and Environment
by CLIFF AND NANCY HILL Massive flows of water from Memorial Day’s storms caused extensive damage to the Fred Meijer White Pine Trail (FMWPT) at approximately the six-mile marker just north of Belmont. Sadly, the five-inch deluge of rainfall occurred at the start of the busy summer recreational season on the state’s longest linear park, the FMWPT. Huge volumes of water trapped behind trail embankments on the FMWPT’s west side over flowed the trail’s surface and flowed downward in a torrent to the Rogue River hundreds of feet below. In one of the prettiest and scenic segments of the FMWPT, a hillside gave way and the ensuing mudslide completely engulfed the trail. A short distance away to the north, at three separate locations, the roaring waters tore away sections of the trail and created huge gorges as it thundered to the river below. Wednesday, two days after the storm, we met trailside at the damaged area with the Department of Natural Resources and Environment’s (DNRE) Larry Solce. Solce is the park manager of Mitchell State Park in Cadillac, who also has the added responsibility of overseeing the FMWPT. Solce was with another DNRE staffer who was clearing the mudslide from the trail with a heavy piece of equipment. It was necessary to clear the trail so the DNRE district planner and engineers could access and assess the damaged segments the following day. Solce told us that what would follow would be a bidding process before reconstruction and repairs could be made. The affected section of the trail, in all probability, would be closed for many months. The damaged section of the FMWPT will be closed to trail users during reconstruction. Barricades will be placed on the trail at the Belmont staging area on the south and at House Street to the north. Kent County Sheriff’s yellow taping is already temporarily in place. Solce stressed, “Trail users should respect the barricades, especially at this time! Sections of trail in the affected areas will continue to fall away because of the saturated ground and instability of the soil below the trail. To say it is unsafe would be an understatement. The undercut and damaged trail is extremely dangerous.” Indeed, from our vantage point this day, one could […]
The Department of Natural Resources and Environment is offering free basic archery instructor (BAI) courses for teachers at North Rockford Middle School. The classes will run 8 a.m to 4 p.m. on Feb. 13, March 20, April 10, May 6 and June 5. Contact: Jeff DeRegnaucourt for more information at (616) 977-7750. Each eight-hour session is for physical education teachers who wish to join the DNRE’s Archery in the Schools program. Archery in the Schools introduces international-style target archery to students in fourth through 12th-grade physical education classes. The in-school curriculum’s core content covers archery history, safety, technique, equipment, mental concentration and self-improvement. To date, more than 360 schools across Michigan have implemented theprogram. “Target archery is a safe sport, in which students of all skill levels can be successful regardless of age, size or physical ability,”said Mary Emmons, coordinator for the Archery in the Schools program.“Incorporating archery as a school sport choice in the physical education curriculum creates an opportunity to engage students who otherwise may not participate in traditional athletics. For more information on Archery in the Schools, contact Mary Emmons at517-241-9477 or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org. Information also is available online at www.michigan.gov/archery. The DNRE also is offering achery equipment grants to schools, bothpublic and private, that enroll in the Archery in the Schools program.