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.

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Ruby-Throated Hummingbirds as Summer Wanes

black and red hummingbird

WILDER SIDE OF OAKLAND COUNTY

The shortening hours of daylight as summer’s end draws near has accelerated activity of Ruby-throated Hummingbirds that have again honored me, and perhaps you, with their beautiful iridescent colors, incredible flight patterns, and pleasing presence. From the moment of dawn’s early light until dusk, they are constantly flitting between my suction cup window feeder, an array of potted flowers, and a hanging feeder in my rustic arbor.

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Chicory: Queen of the Roadside!

blue chicory blossoms

WILDER SIDE OF OAKLAND COUNTY

The sultry days of summer are here. Goldfinches flutter over meadows. Dragonflies patrol the sky. Bullfrogs sound off from ponds. Tomatoes ripen on vines.Crickets sing to the night. Rabbits are everywhere. Thunder rumbles. But it’s chicory (Cichorium intybus) that really proclaims that the heat of summer is on.

Chicory is one of our most abundant midsummer flowers but sadly, it also carries the demeaning title of being classified as a weed. I guess that’s technically correct since it’s a non-native plant that grows profusely along many rural roadsides and other areas that have disturbed, well-drained soils that are bathed in full sunshine. However, their beautiful periwinkle blue flowers on spindly stalks make them an unmistakable sign of summer. It’s abundance in mid-August also reminds me summer is at its peak and the season will soon fade away.

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Flying Dragons of Summer!

An upclose Yellow-legged Meadowhawk

WILDER SIDE OF OAKLAND COUNTY

Dragonflies have ruled the skies of planet Earth since before the time of the great dinosaurs. They survived cataclysmic extinction events that eliminated other species and set back human evolution In the blink of an eye, dragonflies can change their flight direction, speed, and elevation with aerodynamic skills that even the most advanced, high-tech drone cannot master. Dragonflies can detect, track, pursue, intercept, catch, and consume flying prey that are plucked from the air. Perhaps this makes them one of nature’s finest tuned killing machines, true masters of aerial predation. Some of these perching “flying dragons” appear to smile, just as this Yellow-legged Meadowhawk seemed to do. 

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March Business Workshops

Business people working

Launch a brand-new business or advance your current one with the help of Oakland County’s One Stop Shop Business Center! Attend a business workshop during the month of March to get help with start-ups, understanding cash flow, and more. The One Stop Shop’s industry experts can help you meet your goals and transform your enterprise.

Leading your Business – How to Turn Chaos into Value
Tuesday, March 10, 1:00 – 3:00 p.m.
Fee: This workshop is free, but pre-registration is required.

This seminar is designed to show you methods of identifying, categorizing, understanding and eliminating chaos in your company — replacing it with value for your employees and customers. Learn to identify your business’ weaknesses through an understanding of value versus waste, recognize and get to the roots of chaos and introduce a cycle of continuous improvement.

CEED Lending Small Business Loan Orientation
Wednesday, March 11, 9:00 – 11:00 a.m.
Fee: This workshop is free, but pre-registration is required.

If you have a need for alternative financing and your business is located in Oakland County, consider learning more about the CEED Lending Small Business Loan Program. Discover the requirements and process necessary to apply for and obtain a Small Business Loan. CEED Lending is an initiative of Great Lakes Women’s Business Council.

Writing Your Business Plan
Tuesday, February 4, 9:00 – 11:30 a.m.
Fee: This workshop is free, but pre-registration is required.

Follow along with our step by step approach. Prepare a business plan that gives your business direction, defines your objectives, maps out strategies to achieve your goals and helps you to manage possible bumps in the road. This workshop is designed for entrepreneurs who are interested in writing their first business plan or want to improve a plan to get their business to the next level.

Starting a Business
Thursday, March 12, 9:00 – 11:30 a.m.
Fee: This workshop is free, but pre-registration is required.

This workshop is designed for individuals who are at the beginning stages of starting a business. It will help aspiring entrepreneurs assess their abilities to lead and manage a company, as well as evaluate market and sales potential for their products/services. Start-up costs, financing options, and business planning are introduced, along with necessary steps to getting started.

Understanding Cash Flow
Wednesday, March 18, 9:00 – 11:30 a.m.
Fee: This workshop is free, but pre-registration is required.

This workshop is designed for individuals who need a better understanding of the cash demands required to successfully start and manage a business. The use of Startup Cash Analysis and Cash Flow Projections will be discussed.

The Business of Leadership – Workshop Series
Friday, March 20, 9:00 a.m. – 12:00 p.m.
Fee: This workshop is $400 and pre-registration is required.

This leadership program is designed to address the special demands you face during the growth stage of your business. You’ll learn how to cultivate stronger relationships with clients and partners, delegate and empower others, build confidence with new managers/ supervisors promoted from within, coach people to reach their full potential, and foster cooperation and build teams to achieve bold goals. You will develop a strategic action plan to apply your new skills at work immediately. You can also reinforce your learning through ongoing sessions with your Oakland County business consultant.

Women’s Business Enterprise Certification Orientation
Friday, March 20, 9:00 – 11:00 a.m.
Fee: Call 248-858-0783 or email smallbusiness@oakgov.com to register. A $25 fee is payable at the door to Great Lakes WBC.

Learn about the benefits and process of becoming a Women’s Business Enterprise (WBE). Benefits include certification to private sector WBE’s and access to procurement opportunities with major national companies.

The Business of Leadership – Workshop Series
Friday, March 27, 9:00 a.m. – 12:00 p.m.
Fee: This workshop is $400 and pre-registration is required.

This leadership program is designed to address the special demands you face during the growth stage of your business. You’ll learn how to cultivate stronger relationships with clients and partners, delegate and empower others, build confidence with new managers/ supervisors promoted from within, coach people to reach their full potential, and foster cooperation and build teams to achieve bold goals. You will develop a strategic action plan to apply your new skills at work immediately. You can also reinforce your learning through ongoing sessions with your Oakland County business consultant.

Walk-In Start-Up Thursdays
Waterford: Every Thursday, 9:30 a.m. – Noon & 1:30 – 4:30 p.m.
Novi:  First Thursday of Every Month, 9:30 a.m. – Noon & 1:30 – 4:30 p.m.
Fee: This workshop is free, and no appointment is necessary.

Individuals who want to launch a business but don’t know where to begin can receive confidential, one-on-one advice from an experienced business consultant. Counselors will answer start-up questions, suggest next steps, and give guidance on business planning tools. Walk-in sessions are available on a first-come, first-serve basis and are limited to 15 minutes.

Registration and Workshop Details

Pre-register by visiting Advantage Oakland’sBusiness Workshops page or by calling  248-858-0783.

Unless otherwise noted, all programs are held at the L. Brooks Patterson Building Conference Center, 2100 Pontiac Lake Road, west of Telegraph, in Waterford.

Stay connected with the Business Center on Advantage Oakland’s Facebook, LinkedIn, and Twitter, pages and learn more about the Oakland County One Stop Shop Business Center on their  website or visit their Eventbrite page.


Follow along with Oakland County on Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn, Pinterest, Twitter, and YouTube using #OaklandCounty, or visit our website for news and events year-round.