Conservation near home, Rockford and the northeast Grand Rapids area! The Dwight Lydell Chapter of the Izaak Walton League will have a nonprofit booth for the day, September 1, at the Rockford Farm Market. The award-winning farm market runs from 8 a.m. to 1 p.m. The Ikes, as Izaak Walton League members are called, will be there explaining “what the Ikes do” and with handouts on important current conservation and environmental issues such as Asian Carp, fracking, Purple Loosestrife and others including kids free fishing on Versluis Lake in Plainfield Township in June 2013. Go to the farm market and get some good locally grown items and stop by the Ikes’ table.
Dwight Lydell Chapter of the Izaak Walton League of America
The beetle battle against purple loosestrife that began in May of 2007 continues in May of 2011. Like with so many non native invasive species “control” is all we have to work with. In this case that is the good news, because in so many others we have no control at all or if we do it is a chemical control. But we need to work to keep the news good and the invader under control. I want to share a little of what I have learned from this effort over the past four years. First that there are always some folks ready and willing to get involved on a worthy project. Absolutely great and I thank each and every person and organization for their effort! One thing that had me wondering almost from the beginning is if the control is so good why is it I can go back every year to some of my original sources for beetles for more beetles. I remember going back to one very infested spot one year to gather some beetles and there were absolutely none to be found or purple loosestrife. The only variable I noticed was that when there is around a foot of water the Loosestrife is growing in the beetles were not very effective but beetles are generally there. When there is little water or at a shore line the beetles were effective and not there the next year. The good news from this is I/we can always get beetles for spreading around. Why would that be because in most cases the beetles we place effectively reducing the infestation allowing native plants to regain their natural strength? I contacted an expert at MSU and shared what I am experiencing and found that is their experience too. It has something to do with the winter hibernation of the beetle and I’m not sure hibernation is the correct term but I suspect you understand what I mean. It is important to understand and remember that this beetle eats absolutely nothing else so eats itself out of house and home. So here we go again in May 2011 spreading the Purple Loosestrife control beetle Gallerucella calmariensis, and volunteers are the key again. This program has lots of […]
Environmentally friendly education leaves the schoolroom by BETH ALTENA They learn about everything with a nature in mind. The East Rockford Middle School (ERMS) Earthkeepers magnet includes sixth- and seventh-grade students who, between them, not only cover the different areas of traditional curriculum with nature-themed studies, but are also literally changing the landscape around them. The Earthkeepers convinced Principal Mike Ramm to propose a community garden on school property, a plan which dovetails nicely with similar plans underway at the Rockford Administrative Building property in downtown Rockford (see related story, page 1). They hope to further involve the public in promoting environmentally friendly practice with the use of rain barrels and hope to ask the City of Rockford to jump on board as well. Along with the members of the Izaak Walton League, the school is working with Groundswell, a coalition of community partners with a goal of hands-on environmental learning. The class was visited late in 2010 in preparation for spring of 2011, when they hope to be prepared to present the public with rain barrels as a fundraiser but mostly to promote environmentally friendly use of rainfall. “Any time you can create excitement by making curriculum come to life and even branch out into the community, you can see the students’ passion and enthusiasm. They know they are making a difference,” said Ramm. Ramm said the kids are divided into magnets at ERMS according to their own interests. Earthkeepers is just one of several, and creates an interesting dynamic. Teacher Linda Spencer points out that the environmental nature of the magnet draws the students who like outdoor activities such as hunting as well as nature-lovers who want to save the rainforests and whales and don’t understand hunters at all. Among the projects students undertake as they learn core curriculum studies—such as math, science, social studies, language and technology—are building rain barrels and planting gardens. Rain barrels are a project that is ideal for many reasons, but especially suited to school groups. According to Georgia Donovan, local Izaak Walton League president, rain barrels can be made cheaply and by pretty much anyone. Along with past president and board member Duane DeVries, Donovan walked the students through the creation and use of rain barrels. “You […]
The Dwight Lydell Chapter of the Izaak Walton League of America is having their annual Conservation Banquet and silent auction on March 5 at The Centennial Country Club. This event is open to the public with advance prepaid reservations only. Plan to have your reservation in by March 2. Some late reservations can be accommodated. This year’s event will again be a great evening out at just $27 per person. The program speaker is Melanie Good from the Land Conservancy of West Michigan, she will bring a message on the Early Detection and Rapid Response (EDRR) approach to combating non native invasive species. For reservations and information contact Fred Eyer at (616) 363-0253 or Bob Stegmier at (616) 866-4769. Join us for the Ike’s biggest such event of the Year! We also will give awards to Ike’s who have done outstanding work for the year and will recognize one non chapter person for their outstanding conservation/environmental effort. The silent auction is always a highlight of the evening as is the food. The Dwight Lydell Chapter of the Izaak Walton League is located in NE Kent County.