MNA Kicks Off Spring with Wildflower Weekend Getaway

May 2-4, 2014

A hepaticia flower. Photo by Aaron Strouse

A hepaticia flower. Photo by Aaron Strouse

See wildflowers and celebrate spring with MNA! Join us for a weekend bus trip, featuring the wildflowers of southwest Michigan. The Wildflower Walkabout will kickoff with tours through Phillips Family Nature Sanctuary, Brewer Woods Nature Sanctuary, Trillium Ravine Nature Sanctuary, and Dowagiac Woods Nature Sanctuary.

The Phillips Family Nature Sanctuary is home to many rare and unusual plants and is one of three MNA sanctuaries that protect coastal plain marshes. The flora that grow at the sanctuary are known as coastal plain disjunct plants because they are separated from their main populations along the Atlantic and Gulf Coasts. Visitors will get to see bald-rush, seedbox and tall beak-rush, which are only found in Michigan’s coastal plains. The Virginia meadow beauty can also be found and can be identified by its bright purple and rich pink flowers. These four-pedaled flowers have eight stamen with striking orange and yellow anthers.

Your visit to the Brewer Woods Nature Sanctuary will present you with a remarkable array of spring ephemeral wildflowers. You may also get a glimpse at the eastern box turtle or the hooded warbler, two species that protected by the state of Michigan and reside within the sanctuary. This sanctuary is one of the few remaining areas of mature beech-maple forest left in Kalamazoo County.

The intense beauty of the Trillium Ravine Nature Sanctuary will make your visit memorable. This mixed deciduous forest that is set along a glacial ravine is littered with striking spring ephemeral flowers that will be abundant on your visit. The trillium, jack-in-the-pulpit, wild ginger and yellow trout lily are some of the wildflowers found throughout the ravine, and beech and sugar maple are the predominant hardwoods that tower above.

The yellow trout lily. Photo courtesy of Wikimedia Commons

Dowagiac Woods Nature Sanctuary is considered the “crown jewel” of MNA’s sanctuaries. The 384-acre mesic forest serves as a travel through time to what Michigan looked liked prior to plowing and settlement. A diverse range of plants and animals call this sanctuary home and the 1.5 mile trail allows visitors to observe all that the sanctuary has to offer. An abundance of wildflowers can be found along the Dowagiac River and oxbow ponds. Some flowers found in the floodplain are jewelweed, skunk cabbage, marsh marigold and golden ragwort. 50 species of nesting birds like the barred owl and yellow-throated warbler use the river and forested habitat along with several species of reptiles, such as the black rat snake, are common sights.  New discoveries will be found with every visit to the Dowagiac Woods and it will surely be a visit to remember.

This weekend getaway is just $275 for double occupancy. The price includes two nights at the Four Points by Sheridan, transportation, and meals and snacks. To sign up, contact Danielle Cooke at 866-223-2231 or dcooke@michigannature.org. Additional information is available on the MNA website.

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MNA’s 2013 Volunteer & Donor Recognition Dinner

By Sally Zimmerman, MNA Intern

Richard Brewer and Kay Takahashi are recognized by Garret Johnson.

Richard Brewer and Kay T. Takahashi are recognized by Garret Johnson. Photo by Steven Humes

MNA’s annual Volunteer & Donor Recognition Dinner was held on Friday, October 18 at the Kellogg Hotel & Conference Center in East Lansing. MNA members, trustees, donors and volunteers gathered together to enjoy an evening of camaraderie and a chance to appreciate the outstanding volunteers who have given their time and effort to help MNA with its mission.

Old friends were reunited, new friends were introduced and many stories were shared as guests mingled before dinner was served and the presentations began. The successes of the Michigan Nature Association were touched upon and key donors were recognized. Richard Brewer and his wife, Kay T. Takahashi, were acknowledged for their generous land donation, MNA’s new Brewer Woods Nature Sanctuary.

Eshbach and his wife, Diane, with longtime friends Roswell and Ruth Miller. Photo by Sally Zimmerman

Eshbach and his wife, Diane, with longtime friends Roswell and Ruth Miller. Photo by Sally Zimmerman

Several prestigious awards were given out to extraordinary volunteers. Charlie Eshbach, this year’s recipient of the Mason and Melvin Schafer Distinguished Service Award, shared stories of his multiple experiences in Keweenaw County, specifically with Estivant Pines Nature Sanctuary. Guests listened thoughtfully as Eshbach talked about his involvement with MNA over the past 40 years.

MNA wants to thank everyone who attended the dinner for being a part of this special night! For additional photos from the Recognition Dinner, visit MNA’s Facebook page.