A Shiawassee Basin Preserve Early Morning Adventure

WILDER SIDE OF OAKLAND COUNTY

Black-eyed Susan

A few fireflies still twinkled on the dark side of dawn as I prepared to head to the Shiawassee Basin Preserve, a 515-acre sanctuary managed by Springfield Township Parks and Recreation. My plan last Saturday morning was simple. Drive 20 miles from my house to the Village of Davisburg and then head north on Eaton Road to the northernmost access point of this heavily wooded, glacially sculpted preserve to capture summer sunrise images and trail tales amidst its moraines, meadows and wetlands. Things did not go as I planned, but sometimes that happens when exploring on the wilder side of Oakland County.

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Adopt-A-Stream, Become A Benthos Hunter!

WILDER SIDE OF OAKLAND COUNTY

If a hiker wandered by a section of a small creek near Clarkston last Sunday they may have wondered why two women wearing waders carried small nets on long poles and slowly walked into the water. Every few minutes one would come ashore and carefully empty dark muck from the creek bottom into a pan. Another woman on shore gave directions, took notes and documented everything as I watched with the steadfast intensity of a man observing every aspect of very tiny creatures that wiggled in the muck pan in front of him. Continue reading

The Magic of May: A Time to Discover Nature’s Way

WILDER SIDE OF OAKLAND COUNTY

Rains on the first day of May accelerated the growth of delicate woodland wildflowers and the spring prize of the fungi world, morel mushrooms. It sent frogs to every puddle and pond, and skunks meandering for grubs at dusk. May sees Sandhill Cranes and Osprey back on their nests. Turkey Vultures now perch on rural barn roofs to catch the morning sun. Turtles bask on logs and goslings explore their shoreline world. Snapping turtles and northern water snakes swim through the shallows. Fawns wobble in dappled sunlight, and beavers come on shore in the cover of darkness to fell trees for their home improvement projects. This is the way of the magical month of growth and birth and renewal, a month we call May, a time to discover and share nature’s way. Continue reading

Hiking Makes You Happier: Let Your 2017 Trail Adventures Begin!

WILDER SIDE OF OAKLAND COUNTY

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Winter weather may appear frightful, but a hike with good friends is nothing short of delightful. Hiking is good for you too and offers more than the sights, sounds and scents of nature. It’s an easy and effective cardio workout that lowers blood pressure, blood sugar levels, reduces risk of heart disease, strengthens muscles, helps control weight and boosts your mood. It’s also a great way to make new friends. “Research shows that hiking has a positive impact on combating the symptoms of stress and anxiety,” says Gregory A. Miller, PhD, former president of the American Hiking Society, “Being in nature is ingrained in our DNA, and we sometimes forget that.” Perhaps 2017 is the year to remember that we humans were born to hike. Continue reading