The Eastern Garter Snake, a Common “Garden” Snake

WILDER SIDE OF OAKLAND COUNTY

Beauty is in the eyes of the beholder. A summer vegetable garden is not only beautiful, but in the eyes of an Eastern Garter Snake, it’s an oasis of plenty. There, slugs, snails, spiders, grasshoppers, millipedes, bugs, and the occasional low-to-the-ground tree frogs may be hunted. Thamnophis sirtalis, more commonly known as the Eastern Garter Snake, is without a doubt the most commonly seen snake of Oakland County.

A bit of name clarification may be in order as well, for as much as garter snakes are attracted to gardens, there is no such snake species as a “Garden Snake” or “Gardener Snake.” The incorrect name Garden Snake seems to stay with us, and is sometimes repeated by teachers and even park professionals without a strong knowledge of snake species. Continue reading

Are you the next MI Great Artist?

 

Do you have an eye for design or an artistic spirit? Have you ever dreamed of your work in a gallery or of earning money for doing what you love? If so, then this opportunity is for you!

Beginning Monday, July 17th, artists may enter their works in the 2017 MI Great Artist competition, where cash and prizes total more than $16,000. Entries may be submitted to MIGreatArtist.com from now until noon on August 10th.

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The Ghost Flower of Oakland County

WILDER SIDE OF OAKLAND COUNTY

Indian Pipe (Monotopra uniflora) is emerging in the moist woodlands of the wilder side of Oakland County. Recently its growth has been accelerated by rains and warmth. Ghost Flower is another common name for this strange and beautiful plant that has a near total lack of pigmentation. Its ghostly, waxy white coloration leads some to call it the “Corpse Plant.”

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The Mighty Praying Mantis

WILDER SIDE OF OAKLAND COUNTY

Summer has started with a sizzle and environmental conditions are excellent for a creature that many kids and adults love: the Praying Mantis, an odd-looking insect that has walked the earth since the Cretaceous Period. The fossil record confirms some evolutionary changes occurred over the past 100 million years that added to their success as the ultimate modern day hunting machine: most noticeably those efficient prey-grasping spines on their forelegs.

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