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.” […]
May 20 2010
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. • • •
The Rockford Chamber of Commerce (RCC) is proud to announce that Rockford High School (RHS) senior Brian Ginebaugh is the recipient of its $1,000 college scholarship. A panel of 12 board members had the difficult task of poring over submitted applications and whittling down the list to the eventual winner. The applicants answered the timely question, “If you were the governor of Michigan, what steps would you take to help keep Michigan’s talent from leaving the state?” Ginebaugh impressed the judges with his answers to the essay and his involvement in the community. He is a member of the National Honor Society, a four-year member of the RHS swim team and current captain, member of the Youth Initiative, a volunteer at St. John’s Home and has participated in a church mission trip to Toronto. He is planning on attending Stevens Institute of Technology in Hoboken, N.J. in the fall and pursuing a career in engineering. While attending Stevens Institute, Ginebaugh is planning to pursue a co-op with a large company located in New York City. “Thank you for awarding me with the chamber’s annual scholarship,” Ginebaugh said. “I appreciate the support as I head off to college next year. They have a program there called Technogenesis, which focuses on the entrepreneurial aspects of engineering. I am very interested in this and am looking forward to the next stage of my educational career.” The scholarship was announced during the RCC’s Rockford Community EXPO event on Saturday, March 20, and Ginebaugh will be honored again at the RHS Honors Convocation Ceremony on May 27.
Aaron Trapp is one of the outstanding young men in the Rockford community and has been recognized recently by Boy Scouts of America with the organization’s highest rank, Eagle Scout. Many may have met Aaron during the summer months as he worked on his family farm in Grattan Township. His family owns the Trapp Berry Farm. Aaron is now 17 years old and is a junior at Rockford High School, where he has been involved in the arts program and has been in the choir for three years, performing in several school musicals. He has also been on the high school wrestling team for the past three years. Aaron has also been involved with 4H and in the past seven years he has taken part in many 4H activities and been the president of his club for one year. Aaron has been a Scout since he was six years old—first, as a Cub Scout in Pack 3228, and then a Boy Scout in Troop 228. Both Scout units are sponsored by the Bostwick Lake Congregational Church. Aaron has served his troop by being Historian, Patrol Leader, and Senior Patrol Leader. These leadership positions, along with those that Aaron held in 4H, have helped prepare him for the task of overseeing his Eagle project and earning the highest rank in Boy Scouts. For his Eagle project, Aaron installed two concrete pads for the Bostwick Lake Congregational Church. Along with the concrete pads, Aaron also installed a bench and a fire ring. One of the pads was for the church’s trash dumpster and the other for the Boy Scout equipment trailer. The concrete pads helped free up space in the parking lot, and the fire ring and bench provide an outdoor setting for the youth of the church to gather and enjoy time around the camp fire. When Aaron was asked why he chose this project, he responded, ” I wanted to do something for the church that has been supporting Scouts all these years that I have been in Scouting.” To fund his project, Aaron sought donations and received many from local businesses, including Herrington Excavating and Richard’s Electric. For the balance of needed funds, Aaron held a bake sale he in conjuction with the […]
Generous spirit seeks to help the less fortunate Ashley Gremel, 17, is the daughter of Meredith and Andrew and sister to Emily. She is described as a most-dedicated student with a generous heart, who seeks to help the less fortunate. Ashley has a jovial spirit and is a leader on her swim and water polo teams. She knits mittens and hats for the indigent, and runs the semi-annual blood drive at Rockford High School. She is a leader in Youth Initiative, a community service organization at Rockford High School. Among examples of Ashley’s accomplishments are her position as captain of her swim team, Youth Initiative treasurer, blood drive coordinator, and founder of her Cast Off the Cold knitting and donation program. Through Cast Off the Cold, volunteers have donated over 1,400 scarves to the homeless in Grand Rapids and Lansing. Ashley founded this organization in 2007 when she was just 15. Ashley is a Dartmouth Book Award winner, is recognized on the Principal’s Honor Roll, is a YWCA Tribute Award nominee, a four-year member of the varsity swim and water polo teams—and a member of the 2008 state championship swim team—twice an Academic All State, and scored over 30 on her SAT. Other activities Ashley enjoys are marching band, where she plays alto saxophone, and wind ensemble, where she plays bassoon. She also enjoys knitting, being outdoors and playing with her two dogs. Friends and staff describe Ashley as “always upbeat and positive,” despite a tremendous schedule and multitude of tasks. Ashley believes in losing herself in the service of others and pours herself into all she does. She believes in changing the world from a place where people are focused on serving themselves to a world where people are focused on serving humankind.