Monday, April 21, 2014

EARTH DAY 2014: Round-lobed Hepatica Confirms Spring!

Round-lobed hepatica (Hepatica americana)  Photos by Jonathan Schechter 4/19/2014

The calendar and worm-slurping robins are  false prophets of spring. At the dawn of Earth Day 2014 snow still carpets large swaths of the northwoods of Michigan and frost remains deep in the earth.  But  in 'my' semi-wilds of Oakland County the season of  this never ending winter has come to an abrupt end.  Less than 72 hours before Earth Day I hiked across the glacially sculpted hills of Holly State Recreation Area, a 7,817 acre wildland managed by the Michigan Department of Natural Resources in search of a particular   wildflower. The target of my of foray was the spring beauty ( Claytonia virginica), a delicate spring ephemeral wildflower also known as "fairy spud" for its tiny and tasty roots.  None were to be found, not yet. But proof  spring has finally taken root was confirmed in the emergence of round-lobed hepatica (Hepatica americana), one the earliest of our ephemeral wildflowers. These beauties were bathed in dabbled sunlight next to a glacial erratic that has graced a glacial moraine for some 11,000 years. Sunlight, soil moisture and nutrients are key factors in the early emergence of  hepatica and they fell perfectly into place for this clump of wild natural beauty at her finest.  However before the forest floor is shaded by a canopy of leafy deciduous trees, the ephemeral's blossoms will be gone; but the season of spring remains and the cycles of nature continue.

                      A  hill top clump of hepatica above a small glacial erratic.  J.S.S. photo

Thursday, April 3, 2014

Fish Planting with the Michigan DNR!

All photos by Jonathan Schechter:   Huron River/ Proud Lake State Recreation Area 3/31/2014

It was one of those days when everything went right even though boot-sucking mud was thick with slush 
and ice in  the woodlands of Oakland County.   A great adventure with the Fisheries Division of the  Michigan 
Department of Natural Resources was underway.  And I had front row seat. The late afternoon setting was a
a small dam on the Huron River within the Proud Lake State Recreation Area. The Huron sparkled in
afternoon sunlight, evergreens smelled like spring, chickadees sang their new season melody and excited  
children were invited to help release the rainbow and brown trout to the river.  Kids loved it! So did I.

                          The Huron at the site of the fish planting.  (One of my favorite local kayaking rivers!)