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My Town: Four-legged landscapers coming to Ottawa County parks

My Town: Four-legged landscapers coming to Ottawa County parks

COOPERSVILLE, Mich.--  Three Ottawa County parks will welcome some four-legged landscapers next month.

The Ottawa County Parks Department is bringing in goats to combat invasive plant species.  The goats will be released at Bur Oak Landing in Coopersville, Eastmanville Bayou in Allendale and Riverside Park in Grand Haven in May.  Parks officials say eating plants instead of grain is healthier for goats, and the animals like to eat graze on woody, shrub-like plants including poison ivy, which is in abundance at the parks. The Ottawa County Parks Department says repeated use of grazing goats has been shown to eliminate 90 percent of invasive, woody plants over three years.

Scenes from 'The Nutcracker' at Spring Lake District Library

Scenes from 'The Nutcracker' at Spring Lake District Library

SPRING LAKE, Mich.--The Grand Rapids Ballet Junior Company is taking "The Nutcracker" to the Spring Lake District Library.

A troupe of ballet students will perform selections from the production Monday, December 2 at 7 p.m. The dancing, costumes and music of this classic holiday show are sure to capture the imagination of children of all ages.  Children age seven and younger who attend the performance must be accompanied by an adult.  Attendance is limited to 70 people.

For more information, call the library at (616) 846-5770, ext. 134.  The library is located at 123 E. Exchange St. in Spring Lake.

John Ball Traveling Zoo visits two area libraries

John Ball Traveling Zoo visits two area libraries

SPRING LAKE, Mich.--Children are invited to Spring Lake District Library and Loutit District Library on Thursday, July 25 for a visit from John Ball Zoo.

This event is part of the "Dig into Reading" summer reading program. John Ball Zoo will bring their Traveling Zoo program to both libraries, giving children the opportunity to get an up-close look at live animals, as well as examine skulls, furs, shells, and other specimens. The program will last approximately 40 minutes and is best suited for children ages 5 and up.

The John Ball Zoo’s Library Traveling Zoo program will take place at Loutit District Library, 407 Columbus Ave., Grand Haven, at 10:00 am. The Spring Lake District Library program begins at 1:00 pm at 123 East Exchange St., Spring Lake.  For more information call Loutit District Library at (616) 842-5560 ext. 216 or Spring Lake District Library at (616) 846-5770, ext.

'Burrowing Beasts of Michigan' invade two district libraries June 18

'Burrowing Beasts of Michigan' invade two district libraries June 18

GRAND HAVEN/SPRING LAKE, Mich. -- Outdoor Discovery Center naturalist Jamie Krupka will bring a hands-on program to the Spring Lake and Grand Haven area on June 18 as part of the library summer reading program.

The program  "Burrowing Beast of Michigan" will include turtles, snakes, frogs, rabbits, worms and other live animals that dwell underground. Children of all ages will enjoy exploring the exciting and interesting world of these burrowing animals in this hands-on and interactive program.

Krupka's presentation will take place at the Spring Lake District Library, 123 E. Exchange St., at 10 a.m. The program will be repeated at the Loutit District Library at 2 p.m.

This summer reading program event is a collaborative effort of the Spring Lake and Loutit District libraries and the Tri-Cities Historical Museum.

Winter Bird Watching in Your Back Yard - Feb 5

Winter Bird Watching in Your Back Yard - Feb 5

Spring Lake, MI--What type of birds can we see during the winter in the Tri-Cities? Join Dr. Michael Lombardo at Spring Lake District Library on Tues., Feb. 5 at 7:00 p.m. to find out. Dr. Lombardo, a Professor of Biology at Grand Valley State University and member of the Owashtanong Islands Audubon Society, will share a colorful slide presentation featuring a variety of winter birds as well as information about their habitats and behaviors.

This birding presentation can help novice and expert birding enthusiasts prepare for the 16th annual Great Backyard Bird Count. The Backyard Bird Count will take place Feb. 15 through Feb. 18.

Welcome Aboard the D.J. Angus

Grand Valley University and the Ottawa County Parks are offering 2 trips aboard GVSU’s D.J Angus research vessel leaving from Grand Haven. Join the crew on August 24 at either 8:00am or 11:00am. The participants will be taking various samples for water quality testing, plankton collecting, lake bottom sampling, and more from Lake Michigan, Spring Lake and the Grand River (weather will determine the route for the day.) The trips last about 2.5 hours and are open to adults and children 10 years old and older (no exceptions). A registration fee of $20 per person and advanced registration is required.

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.