WILDER SIDE OF OAKLAND COUNTY
“To the attentive eye, each moment of the year has its own beauty, and in the same fields, it beholds, every hour, a picture which was never seen before, and which shall never be seen again.” – Ralph Waldo Emerson.
It’s not easy to compress an entire season into 1,000 words but I’ll give it a try in today’s Wilder Side of Oakland County. Taking place the day before the first day of summer, consider this a phenology flashback to the ways and wonders of nature while we mostly stayed home the entire season of spring.
Phenology! It’s a word that devoted followers of nature’s way know well. Phenology is the calendar of nature’s “whens” — when trillium blooms, when gray treefrogs first sing, when monarchs migrate, when sassafras leaves turn red, when snapping turtles cross roads, when honey bees gathered first pollen, when turkey vultures return. In more scientific terms, the Aldo Leopold Society describes phenology as “The study of periodic life-cycle events in nature that are influenced by climate and seasonal change.” That critical sentence confirms nature’s calendar changes – sometimes slightly, sometimes dramatically. Attentive eyes note the change.
Spring was truly a beautiful season of renewal for those with a love for nature and the ways of the wild. I meandered my woods and meadows as well as few nearby wildlands armed with my camera and abundant patience almost every day from late March until the middle of June. I found peace, pleasure and endless excitement in nature’s way. The words of Ralph Waldo Emerson, which I cited above, were my guiding light of exploration; for even common flowers and wild creatures take on special beauty when we pause long enough to watch, listen, discover, and learn. Perhaps they were your guiding lights of comfort as well?
Are you thinking spring? Even though the weather hasn’t been cooperating, you can still start planning your dream gardening project. Visit one of Oakland County’s 22 greenhouses and nurseries now to get help from the experts and choose from thousands of different plants, flowers, and trees that will inspire your garden oasis. Attend a workshop or chat with a Master Gardener for help with ideas, colors, annuals, perennials, organic gardening, pests, and more.
With so many area greenhouses and nurseries to nurture your green thumb this season, you’ll find our interactive map, complete with over 20 countywide locations, fun and easy to use. Simply find your location and click on the nearest green floral icon to reveal the name and address of the nursery located there. Do you prefer to view a list? Check out our Oakland County Nurseries and Greenhouses page.
In addition to a plentiful range of nursery information, our gardening map can help you select the most suitable plants for your microclimate. Before you head to the nursery, click on your location on the map to reveal the USDA hardiness zone.
We can’t wait until the weather breaks so we can get started. Happy planning and hopefully, planting soon!
Make the most of the spring season in Oakland County by visiting our website for more news and events. Follow along with us on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, YouTube, and Pinterest using #OaklandCounty.
Oakland County and its surrounding areas offer miles and miles of trails for your fitness and enjoyment! Now that the snow is gone for good (fingers crossed), it’s a splendid time to get outside and take in the much-needed sights and sounds of spring. Whether you want to take a quiet stroll, jog through a park, bike with friends, or saddle up on a horse, there’s a trail for you.
View a partial list below to find a trail in your area. If you love maps, visit our Trails Page for an interactive trail viewer map. The map will allow you to sort by parks and trails, take note of a trail’s surface area, and view a trail’s elevation by clicking on it.
Let Oakland County’s NO HAZ Collection team help you safely dispose of household hazardous materials ranging from pesticides, paints, air fresheners, propane cylinders, cleaning solutions, prescription medicines, and more.
You’d be surprised just how many everyday items are considered hazardous waste. Many of the objects that help us in our daily lives become dangerous when disposed of alongside regular rubbish. Do you have an item you’re unsure about? View lists of accepted and non-accepted materials in the FAQ section of Advantage Oakland’s NO HAZ web page, or call the NO HAZ Hotline at 248-858-5656.
WILDER SIDE OF OAKLAND COUNTY
If your life feels like it’s becoming too fast-paced and distracted, perhaps it’s time to relax and refresh with an early spring nature embracing hike. The 5,900 acres of Highland State Recreation Area (HSRA), nestled away on the south side of M-59 in Highland and White Lake Township, might just be what the doctor ordered, and no prescription is needed. Find a hilly trail – that won’t be hard to do there – then walk slowly, stop often, be attentive to the sounds and your trail surroundings, and then the ways and wonders of nature will come alive. Such was the case last Sunday morning when I tagged along with the Crossroads Group of Sierra Club as they set out for a two-hour meander over and around the glacial features that dominate the park’s alluring landscape.
The Sierra adventurers and I met at the parking area adjacent to the old Edsel Ford Barn, a magnificent 15,000 square foot structure that was built in the early 1930s, but was severely damaged in a 2008 windstorm. Restoration work continues, thanks in part to the dedication and work of the Friends of Highland Recreation Area (FOHRA). A brief note on the history of the area is in order, for many hikers and visitors that come to Highland are unaware of the human history of the land, especially in the Haven Hills Natural Area section of the HSRA. Edsel Ford, the son of Henry Ford, began purchased hilly property with lakes in northwest Oakland County in 1923 and later built an estate on the land in the section of HSRA known today as Haven Hill. Local history buffs are proud of the fact that in 1976 Haven Hill was registered as a National Natural Landmark by the National Park Service. Before the morning was over I realized the combination of natural and human history makes Haven Hill and the rest of the HSRA one of the most exciting, yet for many, lesser known destinations on the Wilder Side of Oakland County. Continue reading