Happy Michigan Trails Week, Oakland County!

Celebrate Michigan Trails Week, Sept. 18-25, on an Oakland County trail. The county and its surrounding areas offer miles and miles of trails for your fitness and enjoyment. Fall is the perfect time to get outside to see the changing colors on the trails. Take a stroll, jog through a park, bike with friends, kick up some dirt at Holly Oaks ORV Park, saddle up on a horse, or paddle down a river. Whether you’re looking to get some vitamin D, exercise, or just want to enjoy some quiet time with nature, there’s no shortage of trails to meet your needs in Oakland County.

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The Dawn of Autumn in Oakland County

Eastern gray squirrel

WILDER SIDE OF OAKLAND COUNTY

Every autumn we sense the excitement of the beginning of a new season. Autumn is the time for nature-embracing explorations into the natural world as nights cool, fantastic forest fungi appear, and mosquito-free trails beckon. I know the time of autumn draws near as energized Eastern gray squirrels gather acorns felled by strong winds. That time is now.

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Nature’s Way Almanac 2021

4x3 tiles in a collage of nature scenes

WILDER SIDE OF OAKLAND COUNTY

“January observations can be almost as simple and peaceful as snow, and almost as continuous as cold. There is time not only to see who had done what, but to speculate why.” A Sand County Almanac (Leopold, 1949)

We are two weeks into the new year, and with increased hours of daylight, we have more time to both observe and to speculate about the “whys” of nature’s way. For some of the answers, naturalists look to phenology: the study of how the life cycles of all animals and plants change in response to seasons and varying conditions such as temperature, length of daylight, soil moisture, and climate change. Here’s a look ahead to a new year of nature’s way in the world of phenology.

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Nature’s Way Almanac 2020

WILDER SIDE OF OAKLAND COUNTY

January

January is the month that some lament the onslaught of winter storms, but for those that love the ways of nature, it’s a month of grand adventure and discovery. It’s a time to hike and breathe deeply under evergreen trees and, if Mother Nature cooperates, snowshoe on backcountry trails. It’s a refreshing time of renewal. Pileated Woodpeckers, our red-crested forest giant and the largest woodpecker of North America, chisel deep rectangular shaped holes into dead trees in their search for carpenter ants and other meaty morsels. January 10th bring us the wolf moon. There are no wolves in Oakland County, but listen for the night howling and yips of eastern coyotes that have adapted to our ways on that full moon night. January is full speed ahead for cottontail rabbits. Some scrounge under bird feeders for food while others stay hidden under shrubs, venturing about after dark in a world full of predators. Continue reading