Celebrate Michigan Trails Week with MNA

By Sally Zimmerman, MNA Intern

Michigan Trails Week gives people the opportunity to explore Michigan’s natural beauty on motorized, non-motorized and water trails throughout the state. Michigan Trails Week is September 21-28 and celebrates different events and volunteer opportunities in communities all over Michigan.

Governor Rick Snyder made this week an official event in 2012. Over fifty organizations participated, hosting volunteer opportunities, events and activities on Michigan’s trails. The Michigan Nature Association will host multiple activities during the week, including an opportunity to volunteer and hikes through scenic sanctuaries.


The Red Cedar River Plant Preserve boardwalk. Photo from MNA archives.

On September 26, MNA is holding a volunteer day that includes conducting renovations on the boardwalk at the Red Cedar River Plant Preserve near Williamston. Improvements to the boardwalk will provide visitors with year-round accessibility to the floodplain. Volunteers can enjoy the scenery of this floodplain while they work, as the area is home to species such as marsh marigold, blue beech and blue flag iris. The renovations go from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.

MNA is also hosting two field trips to sanctuaries in the Upper Peninsula during Michigan Trails Week.

On September 28, guests can enjoy the beauty of Lake Perrault while also learning about mosses, epiphytes and liverworts in the fragile Robert T. Brown Nature Sanctuary in Houghton County, near Painesdale. The trip begins at 11 a.m. and is led by Janice Glime, researcher and retired professor. To RSVP for this trip, send an email to nancy@einerlei.com.

The Olson Falls. Photo by Mike Zajczenko

The Olson Falls. Photo by Mike Zajczenko.

MNA and the Falling Rock Café will also host a hike through Twin Waterfalls Memorial Nature Sanctuary on September 28* near Munising. Hikers will get the chance to see astounding views of the sanctuary’s natural waterfalls and sandstone cliffs. The hike begins at 10 a.m.

*[Ed. note: the Twin Waterfalls hike has been cancelled due to road construction. Keep an eye on the MNA event calendar for updates.]

For more information on the volunteer opportunity at the Red Cedar River Plant Preserve and the trips to Robert T. Brown Nature Sanctuary and Twin Waterfalls Memorial Nature Sanctuary during Michigan Trails Week, visit the MNA website’s event calendar.

Photo Contest Winner Neil Weaver Accepts Prize

By Chelsea Richardson

Michigan Nature Association’s first annual Sanctuary Photo Contest was a huge success with nearly 100 entries from around the state.

Grand Prize Winning Photo: "Memorial Falls" by Neil Weaver

Grand Prize Winning Photo: “Memorial Falls” by Neil Weaver

The Grand Prize went to Neil Weaver of Portland with his breathtaking photo at Twin Waterfalls Nature Sanctuary titled “Memorial Falls.” Weaver is an avid photographer whose “Memorial Falls” caught the beauty of the waterfall and has been used in a number of MNA publications.  On May 14, Weaver came into the MNA office in Williamston to claim his prize, a weekend stay in a beautiful cottage donated by longtime MNA members and volunteers Bob and Tina PattersonThis cottage, located in East Jordan near Boyne City, was completely renovated in 2009, has 2 bedrooms, and is surrounded by 90 acres of beautiful land.

Weaver’s photo was chosen out of one of the three categories (flora, fauna and landscapes). First place winners from those categories are Aaron Strouse with “Showy Orchis” taken at Black River Nature Sanctuary in Van Buren County, Marilyn Keigley with “Spicebush Swallowtail” taken at Wade Memorial Nature Sanctuary in Allegan County and Jason Steel with “Summer on the Pine River” taken at Brennan Memorial Nature Sanctuary in St. Clair County. To see all of 2011’s winners, visit MNA’s website.

2011 Photo Contest winner Neil Weaver accepts his prize

2011 Photo Contest winner Neil Weaver accepts his grand prize from Tina Patterson

If you have a passion for capturing Michigan’s natural beauty, we’d love to see your photos in MNA’s 2012 Photo Contest. Visit the MNA website for more information and the contest entry form.

Don’t forget the deadline for photo contest entries is August 1, 2012. This year’s grand prize is another weekend getaway in the beautiful Patterson cottage! If you have any questions, call the MNA office at (866) 223-2231. We can’t wait to see your beautiful photos!