By Tina Patterson and Dave Wendling
The Eagle has landed! In this case two Eagles have landed. First, the Markel family landed with us at the remote Kernan Memorial. Jericho Markel and his mom in full Boy Scout regalia met up with MNA’s Regional Stewardship Organizer Katherine Hollins for our second stop on Segment # 3. Jericho’s Eagle Scout project has been the Kernan Memorial, and he, his fellow scouts, and their parents have made huge progress in clearing new trails and building a solid rock bridge across the intermittent stream flowing into Whiskey Harbor. It was a pleasure to give Jericho one of our Odyssey t-shirts which he so deservedly had earned. Later, as we looked out into the Lake Huron at Whisky Harbor, a most welcome visitor was spotted in the distance to everyone’s delight, a Bald Eagle sitting on a large rock about 1/3 of a mile from where we gathered. While we all wished he was closer, we appreciated our good fortune of finding the first eagle of the Odyssey.
Following our journey down to the lake, we headed to the site of the original Kernan homestead where the old fireplace is laying on its side, and old kitchen implements can still be found. We can’t forget to mention the luscious wild strawberries we enjoyed picking and eating, too; on a perfect day at Kernan, this was the perfect unexpected treat. Kernan Memorial was a frog lover’s dream, as we saw many varieties of them throughout the sanctuary. We also were challenged to find out if the wild roses that were in glorious bloom were native or not, and some bright orange fungi also captured our attention.
If you look at the photos of the sanctuary in MNA’s Sanctuary Guidebook, then visit the sanctuary today, you will see that the stunning images of the rocky shoreline and mud flats are now largely obstructed by Phragmites. Not only do they spoil the view, they are also crowding out the natural communities that live here, decreasing the native biodiversity and quality of wetland habitat. This is especially important since Whiskey Harbor is part of an area declared an “Environmental Area” that is protected under the Great Lakes Shore Lands Protection and Management Act.
Katherine explained that the problem is not just limited to the sanctuary; without the cooperation of all the people who have shoreline property, it will be impossible to control this rapidly expanding invasive. MNA is hoping to accomplish just this. You can help here and at all the sanctuaries MNA is protecting by becoming a member, volunteering, and by donating to MNA’s mission. Make a special Odyssey pledge today. All proceeds go to MNA’s conservation work. Those pledging $100 or more receive a limited-edition Odyssey t-shirt and photo book. Visit the MNA Crowdrise Page to contribute.
For more photos of our visit to Kernan Memorial, visit the MNA Flickr page.
We hope you’ll join us on the next leg of the Odyssey Tour beginning on July 15 at Fred Dye Nature Sanctuary! Visit the MNA website for details.