Calvin College Ecosystem Preserve
September/ October 2014 Newsletter
IN THIS ISSUE:
Walking trails are open to the public every day from dawn to dusk.
Bunker Interpretive Center (BIC) hours
Closed weekends and holidays.
Admission to the trails and BIC is free.
1750 East Beltline Ave. SE
During the 2014-2015 academic year, all our educational programming will be financially assisted by The Bea Aldrink Idema Foundation. We are truly grateful for their generous support of our elementary school visits, Critters & Company, First Saturdays, adult education, and spring break programs. This grant will allow thousands of adults, families, and children to experience nature first hand during our various educational programs. It will also give more than a dozen Calvin students work experience, preparing them for future careers in science and education.
Critters & Company Fall Series
Bring your little naturalist, and let's go trail trekking with Miss Jeanette! This October, we'll discover how fascinating the colors of nature, leaves, turkeys, and apples & acorns can be. For more details and to register, click here.
Family Weekend Open House
The preserve is hosting an open house during Calvin College's Family Weekend. Everyone is welcome to stop in to create some of our favorite nature art projects. You can even make a lovely marbleized leaf! Then go on a hike in the preserve, and take in some of our beautiful fall colors. Light refreshments will be offered.
Volunteers in Action
Our Junior Camp Crew had a great time volunteering at the preserve this summer. A big "thank you" goes to our crew members: Olivia, Sterling, Matt, Zachary, Elizabeth, Jillian, Ransom, Sydney, Alisa, and Mark! Each of them spent a week (or more) helping our Wetlands & Woodlands campers and camp leaders in various ways. They kept things clean and organized, and assisted with setting up the lessons each day. They were wonderful role models to younger campers needing a little more care and attention, and managed keeping everyone on the trails. Some even assisted with our animal care responsibilities. Our camp leaders appreciated all their help throughout the summer.
Forty Year Tree Census
Throughout this summer, a tree census study, now in its fortieth year, was conducted in the preserve. Very few surveys of this duration exist, making it a valuable study that will potentially reveal the impacts of both intrinsic and extrinsic factors on woodlot development. Smaller stands of trees like this one comprise a significant number of urban forests. These small woodlots are subject to many pressures that affect their development over time and, with that, the role they play in the urban environment.
Meet Your Neighbors: Goldenrod (Solidago sp.) vs. Ragweed (Ambrosia sp.)
Goldenrod: This is a genus of generally tall plants, growing up to five feet high. Goldenrods have a single, smooth stem, and simple, lance-shaped leaves. The golden yellow flowers are showy, and can be clustered in a variety of ways, from the spikes on the tops of Canada goldenrod, to the round clusters at each leaf axis of the Zigzag goldenrod, to the flat tops of Stiff goldenrod. Each individual flower is less than a half inch wide, and has petal-like ray flowers surrounding tiny disk flowers in the center.
Be a Good Neighbor:
Pictured: Canada goldenrod (Solidago canadensis, on L), Common ragweed (Ambrosia artemisiifolia, on R)
Unplugged: Connecting with Nature
Galls: Small Homes for Tiny Creatures. Do you ever wonder what those sphere-shaped growths on goldenrod stems or reddish worm-like protrusions on black cherry leaves are? A gall is an abnormal growth of plant tissue produced by a chemical irritation or intrusion by fungi, viruses, mites, or insects. There are about 2,000 types of gall makers and gall homes on about half the families of plants in North America. One of the most common types of galls is the goldenrod ball gall. It is the result of an adult goldenrod gall fly laying eggs in the plant stem, which stimulates plant tissue growth around the egg. A larva emerges from the egg and spends the winter in the gall. In the spring, it pupates and emerges as an adult fly, from a hole in the gall previously created by the larva.
Calvin College | 3201 Burton St. SE | Grand Rapids, MI, 49546 USA | www.calvin.edu