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Information on lake and beach safety

Information on lake and beach safety

You can now find information about whether the beaches are safe at your local lake or river.

That information is available from the Michigan Department of Natural Resources and Environment.

Click on the links below to see information about Grand Haven / north Ottawa area beaches:

We trade our Urban Wildlife for a rare sighting -- The elusive badger

We trade our Urban Wildlife for a rare sighting -- The elusive badger

Meet Bella, Bucky and Barry:

We leave the urban wildlife in Forest Hills and head to our cabin in Wisconsin.  In Michigan, you would call our cabin a cottage.  In Wisconsin, they are known as cabins.  Anyway I digress - our cabin is on 10 hilly acres of grassland in the bluff country of southern Wisconsin. 

Wisconsin is known as the dairy state, but the “state animal” is not a cow.  It’s the badger.  Yes, Wisconsinites have seen Bucky the Badger, the University of Wisconsin’s mascot.  But very few of them have ever seen a real badger.  Our property in Wisconsin was invaded by three badgers last year!!!!

The first sign of a badger invasion:

The first sign of the badger invasion was the yard, which was dug up.  Badgers prefer to live in open grasslands, fields and pastures.  My husband mows about four acres of our property and lets the rest of the grasses grow wild.

A break from urban wildlife for a day at the beach

A break from urban wildlife for a day at the beach

LAKE MICHIGAN -  Even a dog has to take a break from all the excitement of his backyard kingdom.  On this sunny summer day, George, my husband, and I head to the beach.  Our friends, Nancy and Don, own a cottage on Lake Michigan, and they have invited the three of us to spend the day at the beach.

This is George’s first visit to Lake Michigan.  The waves were a little intimidating at first.  He would sniff the water, but he would not allow himself to get wet.  He wouldn’t even dip his paw into the water to check it out.  Then something caught his eye.  George noticed the beautiful white birds walking along the water’s edge.  He tried to get close to these interesting critters, but they would simply fly off.

Silly me, I thought seagulls only lived by the ocean, and then I moved to Michigan and discovered the Big Lake is home to a thriving population of seagulls.  I have since learned that seagulls or gulls will live al

Is Your Lakeshore Beach Safe for Swimming?

If you are curious about the safety of the beach you're swimming at, you can get the results of Ottawa County’s weekly water testing at http://www.miottawa.org/SwimmingAdvisory/beach.jsp .

You can also get Healhy Swimming tips provided by CDC at http://www.cdc.gov/healthywater/swimming/

Urban Wildlife - Meet Hawkeye

Urban Wildlife - Meet Hawkeye

Hawkeye” is the most feared creature in our urban forest.  I think the critters fear him even more than “Kitty”, the neighborhood’s gray tabby.

The critters (birds and the four legged kind) must have a sixth sense.  They will be happily eating and all of sudden they all scatter.  Several seconds later, Hawkeye will fly over the backyard or land in a nearby tree.

I think Hawkeye is a Cooper’s Hawk.  The most common urban hawk is the Cooper’s Hawk, which can be confused with the smaller look-alike Sharp-shinned Hawk.

Urban Wildlife - Meet Tommy and Henrietta

Urban Wildlife - Meet Tommy and Henrietta

George and his Backyard Critters – Meet “Tommy” and “Henrietta”:

“Tommy” and “Henrietta” are the wild turkeys who live in the neighborhood and visit our bird feeder once in a while. We don’t see the turkeys very often, maybe it’s because they can go 14 to 20 days without food.

Michigan turkeys disappeared in the late 1800’s. In the 1950’s, wildlife biologists reintroduced turkeys in southwestern Michigan and later in the northern part of the state.  Today, there are about 200,000 wild turkeys roaming around Michigan.

Two of those turkeys live in our Forest Hills neighborhood. They are the Eastern Wild Turkey variety.

Jeffers Earth Kids

Jeffers Earth Kids

From: http://www.springlakeschools.org

Jeffers Elementary has been participating in the TerraCycle recyling program. This organization recycles garbage and turns it into new items. Since we started we have collected and kept out of the landfill 16,354 juice pouches, 3092 chip bags, 1087 glue sticks and 2964 zip lock bags. TerraCycle then pays Jeffers Earth Kids $.02 for each one. Jeffers Earth Kids group currently has 50 student members. The Earth Kids this year have collected and sorted the recycling, made bird ornaments, planted seeds, made seed bombs, tried many healthy earth friendly recipes, learned about the importance of bees, learned about the Grand River Greenway Project from Ryan Cotton, and participated in many other green topics.

On Earth Day the entire school designed grocery bags for Orchard Market to use on Earth day. Also, Green Smoothies were made in the lunch room for everyone to try.