Oakland County Board Promotes Use of Native Plants in Home Gardens

The Oakland County Board of Commissioners, along with Oakland County Parks and Recreation (OCPR), recently passed out more than 90 native plant kits to residents looking to expand their home gardens with native plants. Although the curbside distribution event has passed, those interested in preventing invasive species can still do so with plants indigenous to the region.

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Spooky Creatures and the Myths that Surround Them

full moon

WILDER SIDE OF OAKLAND COUNTY

Today’s not-so-scary Halloween blog is all about creatures we may falsely perceive as dangerous, unpredictable, or even ugly. They are the creatures we tend to look at in a negative fashion, especially those that we have been conditioned to fear through experiences or commonly shared misinformation and myths. On the day before Halloween, with those thoughts in mind, here’s a light and lively look at these creatures and some of the myths associated with them. I think you’ll soon find that they’re not-so-spooky after all.

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Pumpkins, Pumpkins, Everywhere!

pumpkin patch up close

WILDER SIDE OF OAKLAND COUNTY

Halloween is just around the corner and one very recognizable sign of the season is everywhere. Pumpkins are transforming into an incredible array of spooky jack-o-lanterns that perch patiently on porches, waiting to delight masked goblins, witches, and superheroes. Others wait to be chosen from roadside stands, and hundreds more, of every conceivable size, are for sale at the Oakland County Farmers Market. Grocery store displays of pumpkins are placed strategically near the door to draw attention, almost as if they are pleading, “Pick me! Pick me!”

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Raccoons: Masked Bandits of Oakland County

raccoon in tree branch

WILDER SIDE OF OAKLAND COUNTY

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.

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October Snake Tales

snake with tongue out

WILDER SIDE OF OAKLAND COUNTY

“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.

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