Garlic Mustard Pull at Rizor

A group of MNA volunteers recently took a trip out to the Lyle and Mary Rizor Nature Sanctuary in Livingston county to pull invasive garlic mustard from the property.

Before the team arrives, patches of garlic mustard are marked with flags, like the one you can see above. Photo by Natalie Kent-Norkowski

Working together, the volunteers pull out entire plants and dispose of them. Photo by Natalie Kent-Norkowski

The volunteers were very busy! Photo by Natalie Kent-Norkowski

About the Sanctuary:

Located just south of River Walk Drive in the Shannon glen subdivision, Rizor was established in 1977. This sanctuary was originally purchased by the Rizors as retirement property. When they realized its value as a natural area, they chose MNA ownership as the best means of assuring it would never be subdivided or developed.

Small creeks travel through the sanctuary and eventually flow into the North Ore Creek, which is part of the Shiawassee River system. Portions of the sanctuary adjacent to the small creeks contain southern floodplain forest – one of Michigan’s most endangered habitats. This forest provides food and shelter for many animal species and benefits humans by providing areas for water overflow to prevent upland flooding.


Senghas Memorial Nature Sanctuary

Photo by Natalie Kent- Norkowski

Senghas Memorial Nature Sanctuary was the Michigan Nature Association’s very first sanctuary! Originally named Redwing Acres, this 40-acre sanctuary was established in December of 1960 when the Michigan Nature Association was known as the Macomb Nature Association. Although this area is part of what was once called the old Capac Swamp, its character has changed dramatically since the 1800s as a result of intense draining and conversion to agriculture. The resulting peat fires, the first of which occurred in 1873, eliminated much of the original vegetation – boreal cranberry and marsh plants.

The southern hardwood swamp that you see today is home to a variety of trees including black ash, white ash, red maple, eastern cottonwood, quaking aspen, white oak, swamp white oak, black oak, basswood, American elm, and black willow. The sanctuary is also home to prickly gooseberry, elderberry, common blue violet and many nesting birds.

More About Louis Senghas:

Raised in rural southern Ontario, Louis G. Senghas enjoyed the outdoors. He and his wife Joan met Bertha Daubendiek at a St. Clair Metropolitan Beach meeting, and later they became three of the original thirteen founders of MNA. Louis served as MNA’s first President and was involved with several projects over the years, including fence-building at this sanctuary.

Red Cedar River Dedication

The Red Cedar River Floodplain in Williamston was dedicated this Saturday.

The river running along side the boardwalk. Photo by Natalie Kent- Norkowski

The Sanctuary is located on the river's flood plain, and thanks to some hard work from MNA's stewardship team and volunteers it now has a complete boardwalk for visitors. Photo by Natalie Kent- Norkowski

The Sanctuary is located on the river's flood plain, and thanks to some hard work from MNA's stewardship team and volunteers it now has a complete boardwalk for visitors. Photo by Natalie Kent-Norkowski

Sanctuary Bio: 10 Acres, Ingham County, City of Williamston

It is very uncommon for MNA to acquire land within the boundaries of a city. In fact, we only have five such sanctuaries in the state. Land within cities is usually far too expensive and too degraded to be plausible for an MNA nature sanctuary. Of four previous nature sanctuaries within city limits, three, Helmer Brook, Alice Moore Woods and Dauner-Martin, exist because of the generous donation of the land on which they sit. The fourth Twin Waterfalls was purchased because of the value of the two waterfalls. They are all rare in that they have retained their natural character despite their proximity to urban areas. In only the fifth such case in our history, a generous couple donated a ten-acre piece of ridge and floodplain habitat along the Red Cedar River within the city limits of Williamston in mid-Michigan. Doug and Darlene Price of Williamston want to preserve this portion of their land for the surrounding residents and the general public to enjoy.

Doug and his engineer, Dave Geyer, worked with MNA to protect important parts of this habitat by changing the original plans for development of surrounding oldfield. The number of lots was reduced and the area to be preserved expanded to include much of the valuable floodplain ridge. This inclusion of the high ridge will help protect the integrity of the floodplain and give visitors a place to hike during spring flooding.

The ten-acre area is surprisingly intact considering it has been so close to Williamston, and it is full of native wetland species such as marsh marigold, blue flag iris, skunk cabbage, jewelweed and blue beech. The floodplain ridge is home to large black cherry and red oak with spring beauty and wood anemone growing under these towering trees. Another wonderful aspect of this area is that this stretch of the Red Cedar River has not been channelized like so many riparian areas around the state. The river still exists as it did when settlers first traveled down the narrow trail that is now Grand River Avenue from Detroit to Muskegon.