By Lena Wilson
Archive for the ‘Green Elbertians’ Category
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE (from Douglas Cook, president, Benzie Audubon Club)
MICHIGAN’S SLEEPING BEAR BIRDING TRAIL CONNECTS THE DOTS
Michigan’s coastline and habitat diversity have long been a draw to bird watchers and nature enthusiasts. Birders and eco-tourists spend millions each year in the enjoyment of their pursuits. Now, the Sleeping Bear Birding Trail, Michigan’s first birding trail, has been formed to connect exceptional birding areas and promote an area that Good Morning America awarded the Most Beautiful Place in America.
The Trail’s new website, www.sleepingbearbirdingtrail.org, will help guide birders to 35 recommended birding sites scattered along 123 miles of Michigan’s Highway M-22. The website is smartphone compatible and includes a web-based map that will lead travelers from Manistee, northward through Benzie County, around the Leelanau peninsula and eventually to Traverse City.
The Trail is anchored by the Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore, which has over 71,000 acres of public land and 35 miles of beaches, including vital habitat for the Piping Plover, an endangered shorebird that needs vast stretches of undisturbed beach. Another rare species, the Kirtland’s Warbler, nests in an area that is an hour’s drive from the Trail. The National Lakeshore is an Important Bird Area as designated by the National Audubon Society and there have been 321 different species recorded along the Trail.
Birding trails are successful in Texas, Arizona, and along Alabama’s Gulf Coast. Dave Barrons, chairman and co-founder of this grassroots effort says the Sleeping Bear area’s distinct seasons, diverse topography, extensive shoreline and large number of natural areas with public access make it a naturalist’s paradise. Barrons says: “I always knew we had the resources to add birding to the area’s tourism brand but the surprise was just how much access to diverse, public land there is along M-22. We have been able to build from a wide range of birding sites that already have public parking and strong stewardship. Some trail initiatives have to attack that challenge first.” “This is not just a single trail where you get out and hike around looking for birds,” he says. “It’s a travel route, a way of connecting a number of birding sites in a way that allows you to include them in your itinerary and enjoy some incredible scenery.”
Mick Seymour, Operations Director and co-founder says, “Birders have never had a better opportunity to make a difference and contribute to citizen science. We now have the ability to meticulously record what we see and hear through the use of eBird and the built-in GPS technology. Birders all over the world are recording where, when, and how many and this data is enormously valuable to the science and understanding of species distribution and abundance. Our Trail embraces this technology and aims to be a microcosm and model for the eBird initiative.” The Trail is especially committed to developing electronic reporting and interactive mapping features which will distinguish it from existing trails.
The Sleeping Bear Dunes Birding Trail is being developed in partnership with Michigan Audubon, Grand Traverse Regional Land Conservancy, The Leelanau Conservancy, and Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore.
FACTS AT A GLANCE ………
- 48 million Americans report they are active birdwatchers; approx 16 million birdwatch while traveling
- more than $32 billion in retail sales
- more than $13 billion in state and federal taxes
- more than 863, 000 jobs
………… Us Fish and Wildlife Service: Birding in the US; A Demographic and Economic Analysis, 2001
By Eric Pyne
MILLS COMMUNITY HOUSE, April 22, 2013—The “Framework for Our Future” Input Expo at the Mills Community House in Benzonia drew members of the public and some protesters. ”The Grand Vision,” a project of the Northwest Michigan Council of Governments, held an open house from 4-7 pm Monday. Scott Gest, one of the presenters, is a regional planner for the Northwest Michigan Council of Governments and is also the founder of the Elberta Land Holding Company, which owns property on either side of Elberta’s Waterfront Park, including the old Koch Fuel property and the former Ann Arbor car ferry aprons. (ELHC is not a partner with NWMCoG in the Framework for Our Future.) Gest described the evening as a chance for the public to walk through and see what the organization was about. He said that the NMCoG was presenting a “toolbox” of guidelines to assist local units of government in planning and zoning. He stressed that adopting these guidelines is completely up to the local units.
The Alert spoke with two of the protesters after the presentation. Kevin McGinty said, “They are bringing in Agenda 21 from the United Nations. This will result in the dissolution of property rights as we have known them.”
Ed Bianco, another protester, told me, tapping my notebook, “Write down U.N. Now there’s ICLEI [the International Council for Local Environmental Initiatives]. That’s who is doing this Northwest Michigan Council of Governments. They are the first regional affiliate pilot in the midwest.”
A release on the ICLEI’s blog, October 4, 2010, confirms that NWMCoG was ICLEI’s first regional affiliate pilot. According to the release: “ICLEI developed the program because of the growing emphasis on regional planning in many places around the country and the need for accessible, streamlined regional data for local governments to make timely, informed decisions about climate protection and sustainability. Pilots are also underway in New York and California. The official program will launch in early 2011.”
Kevin McGinty went on to say that ICLEI wants to move people off the land and into cities. “They use the Delphi technique, to make senior citizens feel happy. But who are they to go someplace else and make a final decision? We can handle it right here.”
Bianco said another NGO (not NWMCoG) had proposed a master plan and zoning for Springdale Township, where he lives. Some members of the community, including Bianco, felt the organization was promoting some of the tenets of the United Nations Agenda 21. “We voted them out,” he says.
See the schedule for the other expos here.
Roving Alert reporter and photographer Jen Wilkins informs us that Ken Bonney and Charlie Hendershott removed the dock tops from the Marina Park inlet yesterday, as directed by Council. She says: “It looks good. They even stacked them nicely at the end there for anyone who wants them to come get them. Only one broke and is standing on end, he said he’d get it tomorrow [Wednesday, today] with the other side docks.”
Council/DPW are hoping people will take the opportunity to use the dock tops as planters or for other purposes, which will save the Village the cost of disposal.
Council and Parks and Rec have been discussing putting a boardwalk around the inlet on the existing support beams. Former trustee Bill Soper took this us as a matter of concern last year. He felt the dock tops, which were askew and loose in places, were unsafe and that especially now with the lack of water and the deep muck in the inlet, posed a serious hazard. —Emily Votruba
Herewith are three handouts from the Planning Commission meeting of April 9, 2013, provided to us by Planning Commission chair Bruce Ogilvie: the Annual Report for 2012, the most recent draft of the Medical Marihuana Caregiver Facility (Land Use) Ordinance, and the Alternative Energy Ordinance Draft. ”These ordinance drafts are just that—the best thinking to date on the subject. They have not been approved or voted on by the PC or presented to the City Council for consideration,” says Ogilvie.
The moritoria on medical marijuana and alternative energy continue until June 30, 2013. The Commission hopes to have the two ordinances ready for a vote by the City Council in May.
SATURDAY, APRIL 20th
Earth Day…just about
BEACH-TO-BEACH CLEAN UP
10 am to 11 am
Start: Elberta Farmers’ Market Pavilion
End: When Trail & Beaches are cleaned!
Bring: Friends and Neighbors
Gloves and Enthusiasm
We’ll Provide: Coffee & Goodies
Friends of Betsie Bay have been dedicated stewards of the Betsie Bay area for 13 years. We facilitate clean up efforts both in the spring and fall, partnering with the Alliance for the Great Lakes.
RAIN, SLEET or SNOW…WON’T STOP US!
VISIT OUR WEBSITE:
Starting pulling out all that stuff you’ve been meaning to get rid of. The Village will hold Spring Cleanup on Saturday, May 11, from 9 am to 2 pm. You may bring as much of your cr*p as you like, at a rate of $20 per full-pickup-truck load; no tires or hazardous waste, please. Ken Bonney and crew will be on hand to manage the affair. All Village and Gilmore Township residents are eligible.
For the third year in a row, the Benzie County Water Festival convenes this coming Friday at Benzie Central High School from 3:30 pm to 9 pm.
This year’s theme is: “Under The Surface,” focused on youth and lesser-understood impacts to our water resources. Once again it brings Michigan musicians, panel discussions, speeches from water luminaries, interactive multimedia projects and presentations, artisan foods and beverages, visual art, children’s activities, and connections to local campaigns and projects. Admission is free; donations go toward future events.
The festival opens with a Water Science Fair at Benzie Central High School during the school day. At 3:30, local organizations will set up displays alongside the student projects and the Dread, a band made up of BCHS students, will take the stage.
Kids’ activities will be ongoing from 4:30 until 6:30 and will include a do-it-yourself water harp, a hydrogen fuel cell car, a watercolor mural, a video station, a stream table, and yes, the live amphibian display returns this year: you can gently meet and hold live Michigan frogs, snakes, and salamanders.
At 5:30pm, Tom Kramer emcees this year’s panel discussions, beginning with Kurt Luedtke of Luedtke Engineering, who will address the recently passed legislation to dredge Betsie Bay.
At 6:00pm, the panel discussion switches to water used for fracking with activist Peggy Case, president of Michigan Citizens for Water Conservation, and journalist Keith Schneider of Circle of Blue.
Stick around for a pizza dinner, available for purchase from the after-school SEEDS program.
At 7:00pm, keynote speaker Hans VanSumeren, one of the most highly regarded underwater vehicle pilots in the nation and director of NMC’s Water Studies Institute, takes the stage to discuss his career as an underwater research innovator and how to encourage young people to enter water studies programs.
‘s role in water stewardship for the future.
At 8 pm, premier Benzie-based Americana band the Fauxgrass Quartet will begin their energizing set.
This is sure to be another deeply local, deeply informative, deeply fun festival, with an appeal as broad as that of water itself.
Below, Jon Maue shares his video coverage of last year’s festival.