Wednesday, December 30, 2009

College students

Back in the late 1990s, David Warners was a great friend of the Childrens' Wet Peadow Project at Ann Arbor's Buhr Park.

Now a biology prof in Grand Rapids, his students have been planting trees and creating woodland habitat on campus.

See photos and text on the Calvin College web site here.

Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Youth in India work to preserve trees for the future

While this blog is mostly focused on youth projects in Michigan, USA, here's an exception.

It's exciting to see that young people around the world are taking action to preserve trees.

Here's the write-up (I discovered it by chance.)

Monday, November 23, 2009

Monroe, Mich. students planting natives on local TV

Science teacher Russ Columbus continues his great work at the Knabusch Mathematics and Science Center, part of Monroe (Mich.) Public Schools. In November, students planted seeds collected over the past few years to create a prairie on our campus that will be used by future students. They did the planting on school days from 7:30 AM to 9:30 AM during the second week of November, 2009.

Toledo TV WTOL came and did a live story one of the mornings. The video is on their website. Go to and search for "Monroe students learn about planting".

This project has received awards from Wild Ones and the Wildflower Association of Michigan.

Monday, November 16, 2009

Michigan teen researches prescribed fire

A teen from southwest Michigan has won an award for her research project on using prescribed fire to maintain prairies.


Friday, October 30, 2009

Kids in Lowell Plant 1000 Trees

Elementary school students in Lowell, Michigan, planted 1,000 trees in October 2009. They planted oaks and maples of local genotype at the Wege Natural Area. Photos are available in the newsletter of the Land Conservancy of West Michigan, page 10. Funding was provided by Dell Computer.

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Joseph Cornell is coming to Ann Arbor in October

Anyone who is interested in kids and nature is probably familiar with the books by Joseph Cornell.

He wrote Sharing Nature with Children and other books. His work and workshops are known worldwide. His work focuses on connecting with nature and his techniques can be used by teachers, naturalists, group leaders – and of course parents.

Joseph Cornell will give a free public lecture Friday October 16 starting at 4pm in room 1040 of the Dana Building on U-M’s Central Campus in Ann Arbor

On Saturday October 17 and repeated Sunday October 18, Joseph Cornell will lead his workshop on Sharing Nature with Children.

This workshop leads participants through his flow learning techniques. Through learning games and active engagement workshop participants will learn activities and ideas used in his books, that really do work with kids. (I have used them for years!) The workshop is for adults that work with kids or want to engage kids in nature and deepening their connection to nature.

Each workshop is 6 hours with an hour for lunch. The same workshop offered Saturday, is repeated on Sunday.

Pre-Registration is essential as space in each workshop is limited.

Thursday, July 16, 2009

Wings and Seeds - Zaagki Project in Marquette, Mich.

The folks at the Wings and Seeds - Zaagki Project in Marquette, Mich. have some great photos of teens making homes for butterflies and bees. They also show kids planting native plants in a greenhouse for later use in habitat restotation projects.

See their page at

I'm looking forward to updates from 2009.

Thursday, May 7, 2009

Buzzing the Hive - Introducing Kids to Honeybees

Buzzing the Hive
2:00 PM Sunday May 31, 2009
at the Eddy Discovery Center

Children and adults will enjoy this fascinating look into the lives of honeybees with educator and beekeeper Jane Levy. Observe an actual hive, and learn how the bees build the hive and work together to make honey.

Parts of this experience will include an 8 minute movie showing the capture of a swarm of bees in front of the Ann Arbor Hands On Museum (Once Upon a Swarm), a PowerPoint presentation about bees and beekeeping, and a chance to make a model of a bee to take away with you. Participants will learn about the importance of honey bees as pollinators for much of our food. They can try on a full beekeepers protective suit and taste the sweet honey from a local hive.

The Eddy Discovery Center is located at 17030 Bush Road 48118, between Pierce and McClure roads in Chelsea, Michigan. Take I-94 to exit 157 (Pierce Road) and go north to Bush Road. Take Bush Road west to the center.

This event is sponsored by the Waterloo Natural History Assn. For more information, phone (734) 475-3170.

Photo by Jane Levy.

Tuesday, May 5, 2009

Detroit School wins grant for pollinator garden

The Oliver Wendell Holmes Elementary School in Detroit has won a grant for Fly, Baby, Fly!:

This project will create a safe haven for butterflies to return to an urban area, bringing excitement, pollination, and enjoyment by students and community members alike.

Designed and maintained by students, it will become part of an outdoor learning environment for all children in this neighborhood school.

The grant was awarded by Monarch Live.

This school is featured in the PBS documentary, Where to the Children Play.

Photo by Connie Bank, The Garden Tutor.

Monday, April 27, 2009

Kids can do science with sunflowers and insects

There's an article in the San Francisco Chronicle about the Great Sunflower project.

Highly recommended.

Also, starting this year, participants can make observations on native plants, including bee balm (Monarda), tickseed (Coreopsis) and goldenrod (Solidago.)

Join the project and contribute your observations. It's easy and fun.

Saturday, April 18, 2009

Tribal and city kids help Monarchs and pollinators

In Michigan's Upper Penninsula, teens from the Keweenaw Bay Indian Community (KBIC) and urban youth from Marquette are helping Monarchs and other pollinators. In 2008 they built butterfly homes and raised native plants that they will plant in 2009.

Their project is called the Zaagkii Project

See the write-up here for details.

Sunday, March 29, 2009

Kids and monarchs - Journey North

Most kids I know are eager for signs of Spring, especially when the weather is gray and chilly.

For a detailed view that yes, Spring is coming, check out the Monarch migration information at Journey North. Kids, parents and teachers across North America enter their observations. Everyone can see the patterns of the annual migration, along with photos, maps and first-hand reports.

Saturday, January 17, 2009

Monarch Migration on PBS

1) The Incredible Journey of the Butterflies: Tuesday, January 27
A TV show not to be missed - The Incredible Journey of the Butterflies--can be seen on PBS this coming Tuesday, Jan. 27th at 8:00 p.m. EST. Follow the 2,000 mile migration of Monarch butterflies to a sanctuary in the Highlands of Mexico. Monarchs face many challenges in both the United States and Mexico, and their annual migration is becoming an endangered phenomenon. "You will be awestruck to see what these little flying jewels go through to complete their brief life cycle," says Dr. Lincoln Brower who is featured in the program. "Each one of us can make a difference in increasing the Monarch population."

Read Chip Taylor's blog posting at

2) Journey North Begins! Thursday, February 5
Journey North begins in February when the monarchs are at their winter refuge deep in central Mexico. The monarch's unique winter habitat is found on only 12 mountaintops on the planet, and the monarch's story is one of nature's most incredible examples of adaptation and survival. In a unique partnership, you can join students and scientists across North America this spring to track the monarch butterfly's migration from Mexico. Sign up for email updates.

Monday, January 5, 2009

Scouts build a wetland walkway

Troop 4 and Eagle Scout candidate Rob I. built a walkway in November 2008. Located in Ann Arbor's Mary Beth Doyle Park, the walkway protects native wetland plants in the former channel of Mallett's Creek.

See Rob's photos on his page here.

Thursday, January 1, 2009

2009 - the year to honor connections

2009 is the year to honor connections among the plants and wildlife in our schoolyards and our parks. Each place is threaded by relationships - butterflies feast on the nectar of wildflowers, birds eat seeds and spread them, and other organisms turn waste back into soil and nutrients.

Among the humans who enjoy plants, birds, and insects, there are connections as well.

For example, Audubon has a downloadable poster (11x17) of a schoolyard alive with birds.

The National Wildlife federation has a schoolyard habitat program with many useful resources. Their book Schoolyard Habitats: A How-to Guide for K-12 School Communities is essential reading.

Several projects at large and small schools have been supported by the Lorrie Otto Seeds for Education program. Read their success stories here.