A Prescription To Burn

Image of fire at Independence Oaks County Park

Medical professionals write prescriptions for ailments and illnesses. That fact is very well known. But did you know land managers write prescriptions for igniting fires in our fields, woodlands and marshes? Today’s Wilder Side of Oakland County nature blog was inspired by a resident asking me why there was a fire at Independence Oaks County Park a few weeks ago and “the fire department never showed up.” I was tempted to simply say, “They had a prescription to burn,” but instead I explained the fire situation they witnessed in an abbreviated version of today’s blog. I was a bit surprised by the question since the contractor’s fire suppression equipment was on site, just not the local fire department, which in this case would have been Independence Township Fire Department.

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Season of the Sandhills

Sandhill Cranes flying over water.

“High horns, low horns, silence and finally a pandemonium of trumpets, rattles, croaks and cries that almost shake the bog with its nearness, but without yet disclosing whence it comes. At last, a glint of sun reveals the approach of a great echelon of approaching birds. On motionless wing they emerge from the lifting mists, sweep a final arc of sky, and settle in clangorous descending spirals to their feeding grounds. A new day has begun on the crane marsh.”  –  A Sand County Almanac

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Bowers School Farm – Early Bird Tour

Sunday, March 5 was a spectacularly sunny day for the Bower School Farm’sWinter Birth Celebration.” Decades have passed since my previous visits to that educational working farm in Bloomfield Township. Back then when I was a firefighter/medic for Bloomfield Township Fire Department, the farm was in our emergency response area. I was delighted to have attended their special event and looked at it as a homecoming; after all the farm is my old “friend.” 

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Spring Dreaming

Mother Nature has been fickle this past week with a predictable mix of frost, snow and a few beautiful blue sky days followed by downbursts of sleet that created icy roads, felled trees and closed roads and schools. I look at the rapidly changing weather patterns as a solid confirmation of spring being just over the horizon. I’m just not sure how far away that horizon may be, and this cardinal and red-winged blackbird may wonder the same now that a winter storm warning of heavy wet snow for Southeast Michigan has been issued for this first Friday of March.

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A River Runs Through It

The Nels Kimball Preserve is a true jewel of Oakland County. After exploring the preserve’s trails recently, I discovered that even some of my most ardent nature-embracing friends are unaware of its existence. 

The preserve is a primitive site just minutes from downtown Clarkston. It’s a pleasure to explore in any season; perhaps with one exception. Don’t go there in shorts and t-shirts on a very humid August day as I did last year. If you do, the mosquitos will be thankful for your presence.

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