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Kids find success in annual Youth Hunt

 

Last weekend, September 17-18, was the annual Youth Hunt here in Michigan. At least three area youth bagged a deer last weekend, all for the first time.

Hunter Hankiewicz

Hunter Hankiewicz

Spencer Township youth gets first deer

Ten-year-old Hunter Hankiewicz, of Spencer Township, pictured right, went hunting for the first time on September 17, in Mason County, and got his first buck. It was an 8-point with a 14-1/2 inch spread. Good job, Hunter!

Brothers both get first deer

Coty Youngs Jr.

Coty Youngs Jr.

Coty Youngs Jr., 10, of Ensley Township, went hunting with his dad, Coty Youngs Sr., on the first day of Youth Hunt, September 17, and got his first deer. It was a nice 8-point buck. He was hunting in the Hardy Dam area, on his Uncle Bill’s place, in Big Prairie Township.

Andrew Youngs

Andrew Youngs

Later that day, Coty’s younger brother, Andrew Youngs, 8, also shot his first deer at Uncle Bill’s place. The boys say thanks for a great place to hunt

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European frogbit detected in West Michigan lakes

 

Frogbit leaf: European frogbit leaves, shown here, are similar in shape, though much smaller than those of the water lily.

Frogbit leaf: European frogbit leaves, shown here, are similar in shape, though much smaller than those of the water lily.

Invasive species alert

The Michigan Department of Natural Resources has confirmed the presence of European frogbit, a prohibited aquatic invasive plant, in Reeds and Fisk lakes in the city of East Grand Rapids. European frogbit was first verified in Michigan in 1996 along the Great Lakes waterways in southeastern Michigan and has since been found in areas along Lake Huron and the eastern Upper Peninsula. The detections on Reeds and Fisk lakes represent the westernmost known locations of this invasive plant in Michigan and the Midwest.

Frogbit colony: Dense colonies of European frogbit can develop quickly in shallow, slow-moving water.

Frogbit colony: Dense colonies of European frogbit can develop quickly in shallow, slow-moving water.

Staff from PLM Lake and Land Management Corporation initially identified the plant during a routine lake inspection and reported the finding through the Midwest Invasive Species Information Network (MISIN), triggering a notification to the DNR and the Department of Environmental Quality’s Aquatic Invasive Response Team. The team currently is assessing the risk level of the situation and working with partners in the community, including the city of East Grand Rapids, Kent Conservation District and the West Michigan Cooperative Invasive Species Management Area, to develop an action plan.

What is European frogbit?

A native of Europe and parts of Africa and Asia, European frogbit is an aquatic plant with small (half-inch to 2.5 inch), heart-shaped leaves resembling miniature water lilies. Unlike similar aquatic plants, European frogbit does not anchor its roots in the lake or stream bed but remains free-floating. Three-petaled white flowers with yellow centers appear briefly sometime between mid-July and mid-August.

Why is it a problem?

The plant quickly forms dense colonies or mats in shallow, slow-moving waters. These thick mats prevent native plant growth, make movement difficult for ducks and large fish, and cause problems for boaters, anglers and swimmers.

European frogbit is spread by plant fragments or by turions—small, quarter-inch buds that break off the plant and overwinter in lake or stream beds. Plant parts easily can be transported to new water bodies on boat motors or trailers, fishing gear and other recreational equipment.

What can be done?      

“Detecting European frogbit in West Michigan is a call to action to all lake, stream and wetland users to clean, drain and dry boats and gear,” said Kevin Walters, an invasive species aquatic biologist with the DEQ. “Take the simple steps of removing all plants and debris from boats, trailers and gear and draining bilges and live wells before leaving a site. Allow boats and equipment to dry for at least five days before moving to another water body.”

Walters said that even waders, fishing nets and inner tubes can harbor invasive species and should be thoroughly dried in the sun or cleaned with a 2-percent bleach solution before being used at a different location.

What if I see European frogbit?

Anyone can help by reporting suspected European frogbit. The easiest way to report this harmful invasive plant is through the MISIN website, at www.misin.msu.edu or by downloading the MISIN app to a smartphone.

First, become familiar with identifying the plant. MISIN offers a short identification tutorial which helps distinguish between European frogbit and similar aquatic plants.

If you encounter European frogbit on the water, take some photos. These can be uploaded on the MISIN website or attached to a report via the MISIN app. Reports are directed through MISIN to DNR and DEQ aquatic biologists.

For more information on European frogbit and other invasive species, visit Michigan’s invasive species website at www.michigan.gov/invasivespecies.

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Insect or wind pollinated

By Ranger Steve Mueller

 

Showy attractive flowers tend to be insect pollinated. Flowers that do not capture our attention are typically wind pollinated. The size of pollen is a critical factor between the wind and insect pollinated flowers. Large pollen weight causes it to fall to ground near the parent plant when dislodged. An insect or bird is needed to carry heavy pollen from flower to flower in order for the plant to have successful fertilization. Tiny pollen is easily carried long distances by wind to improve chances for pollination.

When a bee, butterfly, beetle, other insect, or hummingbird carries pollen from one flower to another, the pollen sticks to the top of a pistil if it is ripe and receptive. Male pollen is equivalent to sperm in animals. When it is released from a flower’s anther, an animal carries it to another flower. Animals that carry pollen improve the chances for pollination because pollen on their bodies has the best chance of reaching a flower of the same species. Wind carried pollen rides the wind wherever it goes.

We notice yellow pollen on a honeybee’s body. Showy flower petals attract the attention of insects. When insects approach a flower, they see “lighted runway” landing strips. They are not as noticeable to our eyes because petals reflect ultraviolet light we do not see. Insects see a broader visible spectrum. We might see dark or light lines on the petals that lead toward the center of the flower.

Those lines are runways that direct the travel of insects like airport runway lights help a plane’s pilot on the landing strip. As the insect walks toward the center of a flower to probe for nectar, it brushes against an anther that sits atop a thin string-like filament that bends when bumped. If the anther is ripe, pollen will be released onto the body of an insect and sticks to its “hairy body.”

The female part of the flower usually ripens later than its flower’s anthers and is not receptive when the pollen is released. This helps prevent inbreeding. The part of the flower pistil that captures pollen has a sticky top called the stigma. Pollen on it digests its way through a long neck called the style and when it reaches the ovule (egg) in the ovary it will fertilize it. The fertilized ovule becomes a seed.

The same process occurs in wind-pollinated flowers like corn, grass, sedges, and ragweed. Ragweed blooms at the same time as showy yellow goldenrod flowers in a field. The pollen on goldenrod is large and fewer in number than minute pollen cells released from ragweed. Goldenrod pollen will not be carried far by wind and falls to the ground. It is insect dependent for pollination. Ragweed pollen, like corn pollen, can float in a gentle light breeze. It will go wherever the wind goes and is less efficient at reaching a flower of its own species. More pollen is produced by wind-pollinated plants and compensates for the lower efficiency.

Pollen from the nondescript green ragweed flowers makes it to our nose and sinuses where it causes an allergic reaction we call “hay fever.” People unjustly blame goldenrod for “hay fever.” Goldenrod pollen is unlikely to get in our noses unless a bee enters our nose. If that occurs, the bee will be of greater concern than the pollen.

Some insect pollinated flowers are green but the insects find them. I wonder if they reflect ultraviolet light. Some flowers can utilize both wind and insect pollination. How I wish I knew more about the secret workings in nature niches. There is always something new to discover outside. Do not blame the insect-pollinated goldenrod for “hay fever.”

Natural history questions or topic suggestions can be directed to Ranger Steve (Mueller) at odybrook@chartermi.net – Ody Brook Nature Sanctuary, 13010 Northland Dr. Cedar Springs, MI 49319 or call 616-696-1753.

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Welcome Back Chargers

Elementary students gather to kick off the school year.

Elementary students gather to kick off the school year.

WOW! We have started another year at Creative Technologies Academy Elementary, we love having so many fresh, new faces in our halls along with the many returning faces! The hallways have been filled with laughter, kindness, and lots and lots of learning in these first couple weeks! One new face in the CTA elementary is Mrs. Mattson, the new Dean of Students, and CTA is very lucky to have her on board as we work on character development and what being a Charger is all about! We are so excited to experience all that she has in store for us this year!

The kids are ready and excited for this school year to begin. Zoey, a returning first grader said, “I am excited to make new friends!” These kids are ready to start receiving the knowledge the teachers at CTA are more than willing to give. “I am excited to read more books,” said Liam, another first grader. The staff and students are ready to have another GREAT year at CTA!!!

GO CHARGERS!!!

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CTA Character Education

 

Dean of Students, Autumn Mattson, meets with high school students to engage them in conversations about Respect - CTA’s character trait of the month.

Dean of Students, Autumn Mattson, meets with high school students to engage them in conversations about Respect – CTA’s character trait of the month.

September Character Trait is RESPECT

Each month, CTA focuses on a character trait that we discuss, learn, collaborate and implement into our lives at school, home and our community. Our administration meets with our high school students twice a month and meets weekly with our elementary and middle school students to focus on this character trait. Our teachers at CTA spend time each day implementing this character trait into their instruction.

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Character Day

 

Over 62,000 groups in 96 countries have already signed up for the third annual Character Day, set for September 22! CTA will join this global conversation around the importance of developing character strengths (resilience, grit, empathy, courage, kindness) – all rooted in evidence-based research.

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CTA Welcomes New Teaching Staff

cta-teachers-photo

CTA welcomes new teachers to the team for the 2016-17 school year. Justin Harding, 8th grade and Middle School Science; Ben Fredrickson, High School Science; Todd Bowmar, High School English and Lisa Perry, K-12 Physical Education.

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CTA Assists With GRPD Appreciation Project

 

cta-grpd-1CEDAR SPRINGS, Mich. – Creative Technologies Academy teamed up with a volunteer group to assemble approximately 200 bags for the Grand Rapids Police Department. CTA parents, Laura Wortz and Ruthanne Brinks, were asked to be involved and plan an appreciation dinner for the GRPD as their husbands both protect and serve as police officers.

“We wanted our school to be a part of this,” Wortz commented. “We wanted them to have the opportunity to give back to the men and women who give so much to all of us.”

cta-grpd-218 members of the CTA Cross Country team, along with their coaches, helped pack the bags with chips, granola bars, gum and mints. CTA’s elementary students and Charger Kid’s Club spent time decorating the bags before they were filled. The bags that were leftover from the appreciation dinner were given to the community officers to share with the youth that they encountered during their shifts.

Meijer was a major sponsor and provided a generous donation for the supplies for the event.

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Chargers Cross Country Team Preps for A Great Season

 

This year’s cross country team is focusing on the importance of leadership in conjunction with its size. As the size of the teams have grown, so has the character of the team grown exponentially, as they learn the value of communication, teamwork and creativity. Great strides are already being made as these core values are being applied in practice and on the race course. Coaches Danielle Davies and Ben Fredrickson are excited about the talent of the teams and are looking forward to the great things that both the Middle School and Varsity Teams will accomplish this season.

This year’s seniors are Ethan Lehman, Tatyanna Lawson and Kenny Roesner. The captains leading the varsity teams are senior Ethan Lehman and junior James Hofstra and sophomore Brianne Calkins and freshman Hannah Hofstra. There are a total of 13 varsity and seven middle school runners this year.

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Charger Kid’s Club

 

CTA’s Kid’s Club is back! The program runs Monday-Friday from 3-6:00 p.m. (1-6:00 p.m. on early release days) for students in grades K-6 and is administered by Vicki Ross. Students will spend time making crafts, doing homework, working on team-building skills, playing games and participating in outdoor activities. Miss Vicki brings 10 years of daycare experience and many years of volunteering with preschool programs. She has four children – one of whom is in 8th grade at CTA – and eight grandchildren. She loves to cook, bake and spend time with her children and grandchildren. She has a passion for working with children, volunteers at the Cedar Springs Library and her church. She is excited about being at CTA and working with the students. Contact Student Services at 616-696-4905 if you are interested in enrolling your child in Charger Kid’s Club.

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