Christine Laug’s fourth grade class at Roguewood Elementary said goodbye to some close “friends” Satirday, May 1 as they released salmon into the Rogue River, below the dam at Childsdale. The students received eggs as an environmental project and were able to watch as the egg-sacs were absorbed and the fish grew bigger. Of the 200 eggs they received, 75 survived, which represents a pretty good survival rate. These little fish will now have the Rogue River imprinted in their minds as their home stream, as they travel out to Lake Michigan. The Salmon in the Classroom project was designed to connect the students with nature as they learned about all the fish need in terms of habitat, food, oxygen, temperature, and life cycles. The large aquarium, which can be used for many years, was sponsored by the Izaak Walton League, a conservation group that promotes protection of our natural resources and connecting kids with nature. Members were very happy to hear of Mrs. Laug’s idea for this project. • • •
Izaak Walton League
by CLIFF AND NANCY HILL Four years ago, seeking to downsize our living space and simplify our lives, we had a new home built with some 500-square-foot less of finished living area than that of the large condo we previously owned. Yes, we chose to return to a private residence and all of the personal freedoms that one often gives up in a condominium community. Having downsized and loving it, we began to believe we could have gone even smaller, so we were intrigued when we learned that a two-story 1,200-square-foot cottage-style home, including landscaping, was being built inside the cavernous DeVos Place exhibit hall. The home was being built in four whirlwind days to be the featured exhibit for the fourth annual 2010 Cottage & Lakefront Living Show that opened last Friday afternoon. We found ourselves first in line when the show opened its doors for its three-day run. At the far end of the huge exhibit hall, the cottage towered above all of the other exhibits on the floor. Designed by architect Wayne Visbeen, of Visbeen Associates, and built by Falcon Custom Homes and its subcontractors, the completely furnished cottage was built to the exacting standards customers have come to expect from these two premier contractors. Finishes, both interior and exterior, were of the highest quality wherever one looked. Even so, Visbeen told us that the cottage/home in its basic form (without many extras featured on the show home) is extremely affordable. The cottage or home, if you will, is 16 feet wide and 32 feet deep. It was specifically designed for narrow lots such as one might find along the shores of area lakes. From front porch to back porch, including the interior layout, we loved the design. Even though only 1,200 square feet, every inch of the open concept, main level floor space was utilized and efficiently laid out, giving one the feeling they were in a much larger home. An added plus for us was finding Rockford’s award-winning Gallery Interiors as the design contractor for all of the interior spaces, including the kitchen and two bathrooms. Visualizing ourselves one day living in this carefree home on a small maintenance-free lot, we moved on to take in the rest of the […]
When people think what issues may be high on the priority list in local government, environmental conservation might immediately come to mind. For an organization that is dedicated to protecting land, air and water quality, the City of Rockford stood out for just that reason. The Izaak Walton League of America’s local chapters recognized Rockford City Manager Michael Young as Conservationist of the Year at their annual banquet, praising him for his care of the environment. The group specifically praised Young for his part in the creation of the PARCC Side Clean Water Plant, now treating the wastewater of Rockford and the townships of Plainfield, Alpine, Cannon and Courtland. Young was influential in creating and continues to chair the North Kent Sewer Authority, which is responsible for the building of the plant, which offers state-of-the-art sewage processing resulting in water clean enough to drink. The group had other reasons they believe Young is worthy of the award. The City of Rockford administers their own soil erosion control program, requiring permits for every lot, regardless of size. This is to protect the creeks and the Rogue River as well as the City storm sewers from siltation. The city also requires new development to have conservation easements and park, a total of 15 percent set aside for recreation. Rockford continues to work toward creating a buffer on the west side of the Rogue River, similar to the buffer provided on the east side by the White Pine Trail. Finally, the City is one of few that has developed a sustainability plan that includes wind, energy, watershed protection and electrical cost savings. “Michael grew up in Grand Haven and developed a love of the outdoors as a child,” said Fred Eyer during the banquet. “This has carried over into the outdoor interests he has today of flower gardening, inland lake fishing and upland bird and waterfowl hunting. During his 15-year tenure with Rockford, many environmentally friendly things have happened under his guidance.” Young stated, “The City has quietly been making wise choices with respect to natural resources.” Izaak Walton League members called this “an understatement.”
Looking for a way to celebrate summer and the great outdoors? Plan on attending the Izaak Walton League’s Summerfest Celebration on Saturday, June 27 with loads of family-friendly activities including scavenger and treasure hunts, birdhouse assembly, wildflower identification and woodlot management. “The focus of the day will be on natural landscaping, gardening and learning about invasive plants, but we’ll also have an incredible amount of family-friendly activities,” said Georgia Donovan, president of the local chapter. “There is something for everyone, including refreshments.” Volunteers will provide information on using rain barrels, erosion control, gardening with wild flowers, successful vegetable gardening, landscaping for wildlife, tree identification and how to tap into solar energy. Representatives from Ada Parks, the West Michigan Environmental Action Council and the Land Conservancy of West Michigan will also be on hand. “The idea is to have family fun and also teach people how to take a fresh look at their own property so they can better enjoy and take care of it,” Donovan said. “Call your neighbors and friends and tell them about the event. It’s a great way to embrace nature.” The Izaak Walton League of America is a nonprofit conservation group dedicated to defending woods, waters and wildlife. To learn more, visit www.michiganikes.org.