October brings falling leaves, ripening pumpkins, and roving raccoons. Raccoons are among the most widespread mammals of Michigan, and have adapted extremely well to life in Oakland County. These clever creatures can be found everywhere, from our farmlands and wildlands, to the city streets and suburbs of Rochester, Southfield, and Pontiac. Although raccoons are chiefly nocturnal, it’s not at all unusual to see one at dusk or in the dawn’s early light, as they prepare for winter’s approach by putting on pounds and searching for denning sites.
“The wild requires that we learn the terrain, nod to all the plants and animals and birds, ford the streams and cross the ridges, and tell a good story when we get back home.” That is perhaps my favorite quote from Gary Snyder in his celebration of the ways of nature in The Practice of the Wild(Snyder, 1990).
I have friends who revel in Snyder’s words. They share stories of wildlife encounters with excitement and joy. However, when it comes to sharing encounters with snakes, sometimes their words and phrases confirm their extreme anxieties and near-phobic horrors of even seeing a snake. These colorful days of October remind us of winter’s approach. That means, it’s time to share snake facts with a disclaimer: although I am not a herpetologist by any means, I am an unabashed partisan of these slithering creatures that often take center stage for a few weeks during the season of leaf fall. Perhaps you are too.
Oakland County woodlands, meadows, and lakes are attractive throughout the year, but take on a special aura of beauty in autumn. As shades of summer green surrender to the fiery scarlet of sassafras, glittering yellows of aspens, the reddish-orange hues of maples, and finally, the misty pale yellow of swamp-loving tamaracks, our changing patchwork of kaleidoscope-like colors against a sky of blue can almost overwhelm the human eye. If that’s not enough to lure a nature lover to our hundreds of miles of trails and thousands of acres of parks and wildlands, fantastic fruiting fungi in a rainbow of colors is also emerging along our trails.
Our perception of reality when it comes to understanding wildlife behavior is often not the same as the actual reality. Sadly, that fact combined with our preconceived notions about a species often prevents us from understanding the facts as they truly are. The opossum is near the top of the list of our most misunderstood, maligned, and at times, feared creatures. In reality, opossums should be among the most loved creatures that not only share our urban, suburban, and rural habitats, but also thrive in them. They are guardians of our health and warriors against one of the most troublesome creatures in our midst, ticks.
You’d be surprised just how many everyday items are considered hazardous waste. Do you have an item you’re unsure about? View lists of accepted and non-accepted materials in the FAQ section of Advantage Oakland’s NoHaz web page, or call the NoHaz Hotline at 248-858-5656.
Separate materials in your trunk, trailer or truck bed into three types: 1) Paint 2) Electronics 3) Other household hazardous waste.*
Clearly separate items brought for disposal from other possessions in your car.
Bring acceptable materials only; liquids must be in leakproof 5-gallon containers or smaller.
Bring residential waste only, no business, institution or contractor waste.
Present your driver’s license or other proof of residency, and your ticket (either printed or on a mobile device).
Remain in your vehicle at all times.
Wear a mask when interacting with volunteers.
In 2020, residents of all member communities may participate in NoHaz Collection Events for free.Residents of non-member communities may participate in NoHaz Collection Events for a $60 fee, paid by cash or check at the event. Contact your city, village or township offices to see if another disposal program is available to you; or refer to the map to see what disposal options may be offered in your community: 2020 Program Map
By choosing to safely dispose of potentially hazardous household materials, you’re also choosing to protect your friends, family, and neighborhood from harmful chemicals and other dangers.