Rose Oaks – A Wonder in Winter

An interpretive sign next to a large boardwalk over wetland that is covered by snow.

WILDER SIDE OF OAKLAND COUNTY

Rose Oaks County Park is a nature-embracing and easily accessible winter wonder that presents wide-open vistas, glacially sculpted wooded hills and hidden secrets of nature exposed by tracks and trails in the snow. Six hundred forty acre “Rose” is one of my favorite parks managed by Oakland County Parks and Recreation. I look at her wildness as an early morning wintry haven of solitude enhanced by wind whistling through groves of evergreens, the chatter of chickadees, gurgling waters of icy streams, the near magical mesmerizing booming of lake ice expanding and contracting, and in a few more weeks, the magnificent rattling bugle calls of Sandhill Cranes. The sounds of nature in winter make every trek a delight for those that walk slowly, stop often and listen. The song of coyotes in the moments before sunrise just might be your greeting, and as the sun climbs higher, the distinctive call of the Pileated Woodpecker signals the woods are awakening. Continue reading

Patterson’s 2019 State of the County Address Delivers Message of Continued Economic Growth for Oakland County

Oakland County Executive L. Brooks Patterson delivered the 2019 State of the County address in United Shore’s new Pontiac headquarters on Thursday night. Their new space provided an underscore to Patterson’s overall address: a message of continual economic growth and development in Oakland County.

Patterson opened his address with words of congratulations for Kristin Rohrbeck, as she was revealed as the winner of Oakland County’s Elite 40 under 40 Class of 2019. Rohrbeck, 32, is the director of the Oakland University Joanne and Ted Lindsay Foundation Autism Outreach Services (OUCARES).

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 Polar Vortex Exploration at Draper Twin Lake Park

WILDER SIDE OF OAKLAND COUNTY

Henry David Thoreau wrote, “Live in each season as it passes; breathe the air, drink the drink, taste the fruit, and resign yourself to the influence of the earth.” That memorable quote of Thoreau applied perfectly late last Thursday afternoon as I set out to explore Draper Twin Lake Park during the Polar Vortex. The temperature hovered at zero degrees. I resigned myself to the influence of the earth and with situational awareness in mind, and a brave nature-loving friend in tow, it was time for my first nature exploration winter hike at Draper. Continue reading

Congratulations to Oakland County’s 2019 Elite 40 Winner: Kristin Rohrbeck

Kristin Rohrbeck, director of the Joanne & Ted Lindsay Foundation Autism Outreach Services (OUCARES) at Oakland University, was selected by public vote as the winner of Oakland County Executive’s Elite 40 under 40 Class of 2019.

Rohrbeck is a Farmington Hills resident with an undergraduate degree from the University of Michigan and a master’s degree in developmental psychology from Ohio State University. As director of OUCARES, she led the growth of OUCARES’ autism programs by 25% to offer over 100 programs to serve more than 2,300 people impacted by autism spectrum disorder in southeast Michigan.

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Mysteries of the Mighty Meadow Vole

A close up photo of a meadow vole in the dark.

Photo Credit: Phil Myers, Animal Diversity Web – http://animaldiversity.org

WILDER SIDE OF OAKLAND COUNTY

Eastern coyotes loves meadow voles. So do red foxes. Our near blizzard-like conditions followed by sub-zero temperatures earlier this week did nothing to slow down their love affair with these tiny creatures that remain active all winter and thrive under a wintry blanket of snow. However, it’s a one way love affair because these slightly pudgy, meaty, mouse-sized morsels that we call voles are delectable delicacies for the wild canids that must continue to hunt no matter what Mother Nature brings. As a matter of fact, there is hardly a winter active predator in Oakland County that hasn’t developed a taste for the meadow voles in our wintry midst, and the local list of vole-snatchers includes owls, hawks, mink, weasels, opossums, skunks, raccoons, feral cats and domestic cats. Continue reading