Event Archive

Descriptions of past events

2017

Seed Collecting and Processing

Many native plant seeds are only available for collecting for a few weeks in the fall, so we need as much help as possible during harvest! Seed collecting is a fun, relaxing way to learn new native plant species while experiencing unique natural areas. We use the seed to restore areas where we have removed invasive plants. All workdays are 12:30 – 3:30 pm.

  • Seed Collecting – October 6, 12, 19, & 26. Meet at the Paint Creek Cider Mill, 4480 Orion Road, before heading to our site for the day.
  • Seed Cleaning, December 5: Meet at Watershed Ridge Park, 1720 W. Buell Rd.

Wet Prairie Invasive Shrub Control

We will remove invasive shrubs such as buckthorn and autumn olive at the Paint Creek Heritage Area – Wet Prairie. This special natural area contains a rare prairie plant community. Expect work to be physically demanding. Meet at the Silver Bell Rd
parking lot along the Paint Creek Trail. All workdays are 9 am to 12 pm.

  • November 2, 11  cancelled, 16, and 30

What to Bring

Please remember to wear long pants and closed-toe shoes suitable for uneven terrain.  Please dress for the weather and bring gloves if you have them. We provide tools, light snacks, water, and know-how. All minors must have a waiver signed by a guardian, and minors under 14 must be accompanied by a guardian.

Controlled Fire: Why and How Do We Use Prescribed Burns?

  • Ben VanderWeide, Natural Areas Stewardship Manager, Oakland Township Parks and Recreation
  • Thursday, February 23, 6:30 pm at the Paint Creek Cider Mill

Regular prescribed fire benefits many of our forests, meadows, and wetlands. Learn more about reasons for using controlled fire in our natural areas, preparations for controlled fire, and how a controlled fire crew conducts a burn. We will also review the Oakland Township parks scheduled for controlled fire in 2017.

Volunteer Fire Crew

Volunteer Fire Crew Training

  • 9 am to 2:30 pm on Saturday, February 25 at the Paint Creek Cider Mill

If you are interested in volunteering with our prescribed fire crew, join us for this training workshop. We will cover reasons for using prescribed fire, preparations for conducting a fire, necessary tools, roles of each burn crew member, and ignition patterns. Weather permitting, we will do a small demonstration burn after lunch. New crew members are required to attend; past volunteers are encouraged to attend as a refresher. Snacks provided, but please bring your own lunch. RSVP required to bvanderweide at oaklandtownship dot org or 248-651-7810 ext. 401 by Thursday, February 23.

Watch the Woodcock Dance: an Earth Day Observation

  • Ben VanderWeide, Natural Areas Stewardship Manager, Oakland Township Parks and Recreation
  • Friday, April 21, 7:30 pm at Cranberry Lake Park south parking lot

 

We’ll savor s’mores and watch “timberdoodles” do their cool aerial mating dance! While we wait for sunset, we’ll enjoy snacks, a spring evening, and some cool facts about woodcock biology. As the light fades we will watch with hushed anticipation for this avian spectacle. Bring a comfortable lawn chair, binoculars, and layers to add as the night cools down.

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American Woodcock. Who wouldn’t want to see a cool bird like this? Photo by Flickr user guizmo_68. Used under Creative Commons License cc-by-2.0

Flora and Natural Communities of Southeast Michigan

Max registration is 15 people. $20 for township residents, $35 for non-residents. First two classes are free. Sign up by March 16 for the March, April, May, and June classes.

This class will meet monthly to learn about the plants of southeast Michigan, focusing on local examples in Oakland Township. We will learn about the basics of plant anatomy and morphology, winter woody plant identification, identifying common plant families, and natural communities of Michigan. All adults 16+ are welcome, no plant experience necessary. Meet at the Paint Creek Cider Mill one evening per month (two in February), 6:30-8:30 pm. Includes fields trips to locations within a 5 minute drive. Course continues through the summer! Course dates and tentative topics listed below.

  • Feb 9: Jesse Lincoln, Ecological Surveys of Southern Michigan (free)
  • Feb 23: Fire dependent plant communities (free)

Registration required for March – June classes

  • March 23: Winter woody plant ID and family overview
  • April 27: Spring wildflowers
  • May 25: Early summer blooms
  • June 22: Grasses, sedges, and rushes

Protecting Michigan’s Rare Amphibians and Reptiles – including the Massasauga Rattlesnake!

  • David Mifsud, Herpetological Resource Management
    From the HRM website: David Mifsud “Turtle Dave” is a certified professional wetland scientist through the International Society of Wetland Scientists and a certified professional ecologist through the Ecological Society of America. He has worked for over fifteen years in wildlife biology, wetland ecology, and habitat conservation and management, with an emphasis on herpetofauna. He is an authority in Michigan on conservation and management of amphibians and reptiles. David administers the Michigan Herpetological Atlas project, sits on the State of Michigan Amphibian and Reptile Technical Advisory board, and chairs the Michigan chapter of Partners in Amphibian and Reptile Conservation (MIPARC). He serves as an expert on Great Lakes turtles for the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) Tortoise and Freshwater Turtle Specialist Group. He has also served on the board of the North Central Chapter of the Society of Wetland Scientists and currently serves as a co-chair for the Michigan Wetland Association Research and Science Committee.
  • Thursday, January 19, 6:30 pm at the Paint Creek Cider Mill

 Michigan is home to over 60 species of reptiles and amphibians (called “herpetofauna”). More than half are designated as “Species of Greatest Conservation Need” by the Michigan Department of Natural Resources (MDNR). In 2016 the Eastern Massasauga Rattlesnake was elevated to Federally Threatened by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. This designation has significant impacts on the conservation and management of these snakes in Michigan. This presentation will focus on rare amphibians and reptiles in Michigan, with emphasis on the Massasauga Rattlesnake, and discuss the basic natural history, threats, and conservation needs for these species.

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Eastern Massasauga Rattlesnake. Photo by Andrew Hoffman, used under Creative Commons license CC BY-NA-ND 4.0. No changes were made to the photo.

Ecological Surveys of Southern Michigan: The Importance of Public Land

  • Jesse Lincoln, Ecologist, Michigan Natural Features Inventory
  • Thursday, February 9, 6:30 pm at the Paint Creek Cider Mill.

 Through oak savanna, floodplain forest, and prairie fen, Jesse Lincoln traverses southern Michigan to document the condition of its public lands. These surveys reveal both the natural beauty and imperiled state of our public natural areas. Jesse will share his observations of these treasures, concerns for their future health, and the shared responsibility to care for our natural heritage. Jesse has been conducting ecological surveys on public lands across Southern Michigan for past 7 years as an ecologist for the Michigan Natural Features Inventory. Don’t miss this great opportunity to learn about our natural heritage!

2016

Earth Day for the Birds!

  • Ben VanderWeide, Natural Areas Stewardship Manager, Oakland Township Parks and Recreation
  • Friday, April 22, 7:30 pm at Cranberry Lake Park, 388 W. Predmore Road, Oakland Township, MI

Join us to eat s’mores and watch woodcock do their cool aerial mating dance! Woodcock begin dancing just after sunset, which is at 8:22 pm on Earth Day 2016. While we wait for sunset we will enjoy snacks, a spring evening, and a brief intro to woodcock biology. As the light fades we will quiet down so that we can enjoy this avian spectacle. Bring a comfortable lawn chair, binoculars, and layers to add as the night cools down.

Coyote – Our Urban Adapter

  • Thursday, January 21, 6:30 pm
  • Paint Creek Cider Mill
  • Laurel Zoet, Naturalist, Nature on the GO! As a Naturalist Educator, Laurel has over 10 year of experience, working as a Explorer Guide with the Michigan DNR, interpretive naturalist with Huron-Clinton Metroparks, Naturalist with West Bloomfield Parks and Recreation, and School Program Coordinator with the Leslie Science and Nature Center. Laurel is passionate about connecting people of all ages with the diversity and wonder of the natural phenomenon right in their own backyards.

Native Americans told legends about the coyote and yet today this wild canine only seems to see bad press. How can one animal be feared by some and revered by others? Utilizing data collected in recent big city studies, this one hour educational presentation will look at the biology, the myths, and the facts about one of North America’s most highly adaptable animals.

Learning About the Lakeplains Oak Openings Region

  • Thursday, February 11, 6:30 pm
  • Paint Creek Cider Mill
  • Mike Losey, Natural Resources Manager, Springfield Township, MI. Mike grew up in Oakland County, and even spent some time with Oakland Township as a seasonal stewardship technician. Most recently Mike spent 6 years working in the Oak Openings region in northwest Ohio with The Nature Conservancy. He recently returned to the area as the Natural Resources Manager for nearby Springfield Township.

The Lakeplain Oak Openings is a unique region spanning seven counties in southeast Michigan and northwest Ohio. With over 150 state or federally listed species, it is well recognized as a biodiversity hotspot within the Lake Erie watershed. However, despite its noted importance the natural habitat is highly fragmented and stressed by incompatible land use.  These modifications have negatively impacted the native flora and fauna as well as compromised the ecosystem services the region provides.  Attendees will learn about the special features of this region, how it compares and contrasts with the landscape of northern Oakland County, and what efforts are underway to restore this important part of our natural heritage.

Controlled Fire in Oakland Township Parks

Ben VanderWeide, Natural Areas Stewardship Manager, Oakland Township Parks and Recreation

  • Public Meeting6:30 pm, Thursday, February 25, Paint Creek Cider Mill. Regular prescribed fire benefits many of our forests, meadows, and wetlands. Learn more about reasons for using controlled fire in our natural areas, preparations for controlled fire, and how a controlled fire crew conducts a burn. We will also review the Oakland Township parks scheduled for controlled fire in 2016.
  •  Volunteer Crew Training – 9 am to 2 pm on Saturday, February 27, Paint Creek Cider Mill. If you are interested in joining our volunteer prescribed fire crew, join us for this training workshop. We will cover reasons for using prescribed fire, preparations for conducting a fire, necessary tools, roles of each burn crew member, and ignition patterns. Weather permitting we will do a small demonstration burn after lunch. Snacks will be provided, but please bring your own lunch. RSVP required to bvanderweide@oaklandtownship.org or 248-651-7810 ext. 401 by Thursday, February 25.

Prescribed Ecological Burn Public Meeting

When: Annually in February. 2016: Thursday, February 25. 6:30 pm

Where: Paint Creek Cider Mill, 4480 Orion Rd, Rochester, MI 48306

Description: Regular prescribed fire benefits many of our forests, meadows, and wetlands. Learn more about reasons for using controlled fire in our natural areas, preparations for controlled fire, and how a controlled fire crew conducts a burn. We will also review the Oakland Township parks scheduled for controlled fire in 2016.

Prescribed Fire Volunteer Crew Training

When: Annually in February: 2016: Saturday, February 20. 9 am – 2 pm

Where: Paint Creek Cider Mill, 4480 Orion Road, Rochester, MI 48306

Description: If you are interested in joining our volunteer prescribed fire crew, or would like to learn more about using prescribed fire as a land management tool, join us for this training workshop. We will cover reasons for using prescribed fire, preparations for conducting a fire, necessary tools, roles of each burn crew member, and ignition patterns. Snacks will be provided, but participants should bring their own lunch. Weather permitting we will do a small demonstration burn after lunch.

Prescribed Fire Volunteer Crew Training

When: Saturday, December 12, 2015. 9 am – 2 pm

Where: Paint Creek Cider Mill, 4480 Orion Road, Rochester, MI 48306

Description: If you are interested in joining our volunteer prescribed fire crew, or would like to learn more about using prescribed fire as a land management tool, join us for this training workshop. We will cover reasons for using prescribed fire, preparations for conducting a fire, necessary tools, roles of each burn crew member, and ignition patterns. Weather permitting we will do a small demonstration burn after lunch.

RSVP required to bvanderweide@oaklandtownship.org or 248-651-7810 ext. 401 by Wednesday, December 9.

Our prescribed fire contractor burns at Gallagher Creek Park, spring 2015.

Our prescribed fire contractor burns at Gallagher Creek Park, spring 2015.

Invasive Shrub Control

We will work to remove invasive shrubs like buckthorn and autumn olive in some of our special natural areas. Expect work to be physically demanding. All workdays are 9 am to 12 pm.

  • Paint Creek Heritage Area – Wet Prairie. Prairies are one of the least common and most endangered natural communities in Michigan. Come to one of these workdays to see a spectacular example of prairie right in Oakland Township. Meet at the Silver Bell Road parking lot along the Paint Creek Trail. Workdays for summer and fall 2016 are listed below.
    • Saturday, June 25
    • Thursday, June 30
    • Thursday, July 7
    • Saturday, July 16
    • Thursday, July 21
    • Thursday, July 28
    • Thursday, August 4
    • September 27
    • November 1
    • November 12
    • November 15

Garlic Mustard Pulls

Now a rite of spring, get out to enjoy the warm spring breezes while pulling garlic mustard. This invasive biennial degrades even healthy woodlands.

  • Bear Creek Nature Park – 740 W. Snell Rd., 9 am to 12 pm. May 3 and 10
  • Blue Heron Environmental Area – 3320 N. Rochester Rd., 9 am – 12 pm. May 17 and 24.