Photographer Stephen Ross to host photo workshop at Twin Waterfalls

By Kary Askew Garcia, MNA Intern

Olson Falls by Mike Zajczenko

Water trickles down the sandstone falls surrounded by lush ferns.  Photo by Mike Zajczenko

Photographer Stephen Ross will guide guests through a photo workshop while snapping shots in the beautiful Twin Waterfalls Plant Preserve located in Alger County, in the Upper Peninsula of Michigan.

The workshop, on Saturday May 31, will focus on techniques in photography including  basic digital camera use, lighting, composition and subject choice.

Stephen will also facilitate a group critique of the morning’s collected pictures followed by a short talk on techniques including effective use of the histogram and white balance.

The group will visit several other locations for additional practice. There will also be an additional sunset photography session offered to those who would like to attend.

The Twin Waterfalls sanctuary was acquired in 1986 and expanded on in following years totaling more than 17 acres of land.

The waterfalls, known as the Memorial Falls in commemoration of MNA’s friends and donors, are accessible to guests via several trails, a half-mile in length. The falls are made up of sandstone dating back 550 million years. This wall formation is known as the Munising Formation and is rose-colored and easily eroded by harsh winter weather.

Beech Drops by Ben Blazier

Beech drops appear, attaching themselves to the roots of beech trees. Photo by Ben Blazier

The rock atop the formation, the Au Train Formation, is made up of more firm sandstone which is less affected by erosion. This formation appears as a “shelf” over which the water trickles down.

The falls are home to several different plants including ferns, beech trees and a parasitic plant, the tan-colored beech drop, which can grow to 18 inches in length and secures itself to the roots of the beech tree.

The workshop will be held at the Twin Waterfalls Plant Preserve, the Alger County Community Center, and nearby locations. The cost for the workshop is $35, and lunch is included. For more information and to register please contact Upper Peninsula Regional Stewardship Organizer Adrienne Bozic at

Algal blooms in the Great Lakes, wolf hunting in the U.P., energy legislation: this week in environmental news

By Kary Askew Garica, MNA Intern

Every Friday, MNA gathers news related to the environment from around the state and country. Here are a few highlights from what happened this week in environmental news:

A fish flops dead on the shore, due to an increase of algae. Photo courtesy of Great Lakes Echo.

A fish flops dead on the shore, due to an increase of algae. Photo courtesy of Great Lakes Echo.

Public trust demands Great Lakes phosphorus cuts (Great Lakes Echo): A team of United States and Canadian citizens known as the International Joint Commission, or IJC, have come together to create a public trust to protect the Great Lakes from “excessive nutrient runoff.”. This has created toxic algal blooms in the lakes, adversely affecting the ecosystems and causing beach closures.

Second ballot proposal to stop gray wolf hunt in U.P. approved (Detroit Free Press): A proposal to end hunting of grey wolves in the Upper Peninsula will appear on the ballot on Nov. 5 and could possibly repeal a law passed in 2012. The proposal was pushed by Keep Michigan Wolves Protected and is among three other proposals about the wolf hunt that will also be on the ballot.

Scientists propose new classification system for invasive species (Conservation Magazine): Researchers across the globe came together to create a new classification scheme to better understand risks and threats to biodiversity on the planet. Rather than using a system that points out species who are endangered, they’re classifying invasive species by the adverse effects they impose on the communities they invade.

Obama pushes climate rules despite Dems’ midterm election concerns (Huffington Post): The Obama administration is set to reveal new emissions caps for factories throughout the nation to democrats’ dismay in energy-producing states during the midterm elections. Obama must start now with making an energy efficient nation, a major component to his campaign, otherwise new legislation won’t be enacted before his term ends.

Extensive Great Lakes ice and El Nino equals cooler Michigan summer  (Macomb Daily): Michigan’s frigid winter could continue to impact the state well into the summer. Extensive Great Lakes ice cover could mean higher lake levels, while the cold winter and an El Nino weather pattern mean cooler temperatures will likely continue. This could also delay severe spring storms.



Crazy cold in Michigan, pollution levels, and nuclear energy: this week in environmental news


Each week, MNA gathers news stories from around the state and country related to nature and the environment. Here is what you may have missed this week in environmental news:


This graphic shows the temperature departure from normal for March 2014. (National Climatic Data Center)

Crazy cold in Michigan: See how we beat the rest of the world (MLive): A new report from NOAA’s National Climatic Data Center shows that Michigan’s March temperatures were farthest from normal of any region in the world. Michigan reached near-record cold temperatures in March, while much of the rest of the world experienced warmer temperatures than normal.

It’s time to stop ignoring the bad air we breathe ( Since 1980, levels of ozone pollution have fallen by 25% in the U.S., leaving far cleaner air than in decades past. However, new data from the American Lung Association shows that almost half of Americans are living in areas where smog and soot particles have led to unhealthy levels of pollution. The report also shows that some aspects of air quality have been deteriorating over the past few years in 22 of the 25 biggest metropolitan areas.

No applause for new fracking rules (Interlochen Public Radio): New rules proposed for fracking have watchdog groups worried. Critics say the proposed changes favor the oil and gas industry over neighbors and the public. A coalition of environmental and conservation groups will give a formal review of the proposed rules next week.

BP CEO: Lake Michigan spill ‘has been set aside’ (NWI Times): BP has been ramping up production at its Whiting, Indiana refinery, which spilled up to 1,638 gallons of crude oil into Lake Michigan in March. Chief Executive Bob Dudley says the oil spill is not expected to result in significant fallout for the company, and that no further cleanup work is needed. Dudley says there are no known impacts to wildlife or human health, and there has been no impact on refinery production.

Nuclear industry gains carbon-focused allies in push to save reactors (The New York Times): Environmentalists and the nuclear industry are pushing to preserve old nuclear reactors, which are threatened by cheap natural gas and wind energy. The groups argue that the loss of nuclear plants from the electricity grid would lead to millions of tons of additional carbon dioxide in the atmosphere each year because the substitute would be fossil fuels.