Gifts of the Glaciers

glacial boulder on grass

WILDER SIDE OF OAKLAND COUNTY

Oakland County is a landscape created by the incredible power of glaciers. Glacial erratics are perhaps the most intriguing of all our glacial landforms, but the name “erratic” often causes confusion for those unaware of our natural history and the science behind glacial geology. It should not be, for in reality, there is nothing mysterious about those two words: glacial erratic, when they are used in combination. Glacial erratics are rocks and boulders of any size that were scraped up from the earth, or fractured from bedrock by a glacier, and then carried by the glacier, and finally deposited in an erratic fashion as the glaciers melted and retreated. That event last occurred during the end of the Pleistocene Epoch about 13,000 years ago, a time we refer to as the Ice Age. It was the time glaciers covered much of our planet and created the landforms and lakes of present-day Oakland County.

Continue reading

Poison Sumac: Tale of a Toxic Trailside Beauty

red poison sumac

WILDER SIDE OF OAKLAND COUNTY

As the crisp days of autumn draw near, I increase my explorations of the wondrous world of our wetlands, swamps, and marshlands. They take on a special peaceful splendor in the waning days of summer, especially in the dawn’s early light. The wetland-embracing trails on the wilder side of Oakland County lure me in as surely as honey bees fly to flowers for nectar and pollen. However, this year as in the years before, I will be watchful for and ever wary of one wetland plant in particular. This plant presents a clear and present danger to humans that have the misfortune of making physical contact. Even touching or brushing against any part of this toxic trailside beauty may lead to a world of woe and in some severe cases of exposure, a visit to an emergency department follows.

Continue reading

Solitude, Simplicity, and Situational Awareness

WILDER SIDE OF OAKLAND COUNTY

“A man is rich in proportion to the number of things he can afford to let alone.” – Henry David Thoreau

Simplicity, solitude and slowness of motion, spiced with a healthy dose of situational awareness are the core ingredients of some of my very best and most rewarding winter adventures. Every now and then I hike with a group, but my strong preference in both faraway mountainous wilderness areas or within Oakland County is to hike alone in silent solitude, or with a companion that appreciates the simplicity of solo hiking as the automatic “reset” button we often need in a busy world of work and distractions.
Continue reading

2019 NoHaz Collection Days in Oakland County

Let Oakland County’s NoHaz Collection team help you safely dispose of household hazardous materials ranging from pesticides, paints, air fresheners, propane cylinders, cleaning solutions, prescription medicines, and more.

You’d be surprised just how many everyday items are considered hazardous waste. Many of the objects that help us in our daily lives become dangerous when disposed of alongside regular rubbish. 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.

Continue reading

Homes for Bluebirds on the Polly Ann Trail

WILDER SIDE OF OAKLAND COUNTY

Henry David Thoreau’s writings include a sentence that is often quoted by naturalists and outdoor writers. “The bluebird carries the sky on his back” is one of my favorite Thoreau quotes. A well placed trailside bluebird box is one of easiest and most rewarding ways to do something good for the environment and it adds increased visual enjoyment for trail users – thoughts that gave wings to this week’s blog for the birds: the Eastern Bluebirds that live in our midst along the Polly Ann Trail. Continue reading