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Animals take over final Parkapalooza Park Party August 8

Animals take over final Parkapalooza Park Party August 8

EAST GRAND RAPIDS, Mich.—The final Parkapalooza Park Party is guaranteed to be wild.

Join the staff of East Grand Rapids Library at John Collins Park for the “Animal Extravaganza”, featuring wildlife from the John Ball Zoo, the Kalamazoo Nature Center and the Critter Barn of Zeeland.  Children of all ages are also invited to take part in crafts during this free event.

 The Animal Extravaganza runs from 2 p.m. to 4 p.m. Thursday, August 8.  John Collins Park is located at 650 Lakeside Dr. SE. 

Frederik Meijer Gardens & Sculpture Park ranked among best gardens in the U.S.

Frederik Meijer Gardens & Sculpture Park ranked among best gardens in the U.S.

A popular attraction in the East Grand Rapids area has been named one of the best public gardens in the country.

TripAdvisor released its list of top 10 public gardens Wednesday; Frederik Meijer Gardens & Sculpture Park ranked 8th.  Meijer Gardens is a year-round attraction that features 132 acres of plants, a tropical conservatory with exotic blooms, and the country’s largest tropical butterfly exhibit in the springtime.

TripAdvisor’s rankings are based on reviews and opinions posted on TripAdvisor.com. 

 

Here’s the full list:

#1: Coastal Maine Botanical Gardens (Boothbay, Maine)

#2: Longwood Gardens (Kennett Square, Pennsylvania)

#3: Missouri Botanical Garden (St.

A River Runs Through It: Fly Fishing for Men

A River Runs Through It: Fly Fishing for Men

All men are invited to a morning of fly fishing instruction at Dominican Center at Marywood

Mark your calendars for Saturday, May 11th from 9:00 am to 1:00 pm. All men are invited to Dominican Center at Marywood for a morning of good times, fellowship, expert fly fishing advice with hands-on instruction and a hearty cookout. Glen Blackwood of Great Lakes Fly Fishing Company will be our fishing guide, leading an introduction to fly fishing with a focus on fly casting; Brian Plachta will be our spiritual guide.

Whether you are a beginner or an expert, you are sure to pick up some great tips on how to fine tune your fishing techniques. You'll be ready to tackle any of Michigan's waterways.

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

Urban Wildlife - Critters who taunt George - Meet Nutty

Urban Wildlife - Critters who taunt George - Meet Nutty

George is one of the most good-natured dogs you will ever meet.  I feel bad for him when “Nutty” and his squirrelly friends taunt him.  I think they realize they are safe around George since he is not very fast on his feet.  We have two types of squirrels living in our backyard: several Fox Squirrels and one American Red Squirrel.

Fox Squirrels are the largest squirrels in Michigan.  They are sometimes confused with the slightly smaller Eastern Gray Squirrel.  The easiest way to tell the difference between the two is Fox Squirrels have reddish-orange bellies, while their cousins, the Gray Squirrels, have white bellies.

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.