I Am Not a Chipmunk!

WILDER SIDE OF OAKLAND COUNTY

I was blissfully unaware of the existence of thirteen-lined ground squirrels (Spermophilus tridecemlineatus) living in Michigan, let alone in Oakland County, until a summer day ten years ago. On that day of discovery, I was wandering the Shiawassee Basin Nature Preserve in Springfield Township admiring wildflowers, dragonflies and butterflies in a small meadow. I was just a few hundred feet from the Springfield Township Civic Center when suddenly a small chipmunk-like creature popped up out of the ground in a field rich with clover, grasshoppers and bugs of all sorts. I managed one photo before its hyper-speed vanishing act commenced.

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Indian Springs Metropark: It’s all about habitat for three species

WILDER SIDE OF OAKLAND COUNTY

IMG_3336Indian Springs Metropark sparkles with adventure during the sultry days of summer. The “Spray ‘n’ Play” area keeps toddlers and children cool – and mom and dad happy.   Beautiful picnic areas are abundant.  Golfers purse their passion on a challenging 18-hole course.  A paved bike trail embraces prairie areas and woodlands.

The Environmental Discovery Center is a nature-lovers delight rich with nature displays and scientific facts.  This 2,215 acre parkland located just nine miles northwest of Pontiac, managed by Huron-Clinton Metroparks, has excellent habitat for the Compass Plant, the 13-lined Ground Squirrel and the Eastern Massasauga Rattlesnake.

This is their habitat story from the “Wilder Side Of Oakland County“:

Compass Plant

IMG_3349Indian Springs provides more than just a glimpse of what the landscape of Oakland County and much of Southeast Michigan looked like more than a century ago; it has tall grass, prairie remnants, with perhaps the Compass Plant (Silphium laciniatum ) being the most obvious species.   This sunflower-like plant grows 10 to 12 feet tall and towers over other flora in the Environmental Discovery Center prairie area, a restored landscape managed with carefully planned, prescribed fires.

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