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Tag Archive | "bluegrass music"

Emerald Ash Borer


Ash firewood with EAB damage. Photo by Troy Kimoto, www.forestryimages.com

Ash firewood with EAB damage.
Photo by Troy Kimoto, www.forestryimages.com

Ranger Steve’s Nature Niche
By Ranger Steve Mueller

Cedar Springs removed Ash Trees that were killed by the exotic Emerald Ash Borer. Different species were used to replace killed trees. This is happening in cities, towns, and villages throughout Michigan and other areas. People’s yards have dying ash trees. The epidemic is not normal in a healthy functioning ecosystem.
So what is not healthy about the ecosystem in Cedar Springs and other affected regions? It is not a new story but it one that evades many people’s attention. Early European people unknowingly carried diseases that were not usually lethal to them but were devastating and killed most Native Americans. Native Americans had not developed immunities over a period of centuries and suddenly introduced diseases caused massive deaths among native peoples.
A fungal blight unknowingly brought to North America almost completely eliminated the American Chestnut trees from the Oak-Hickory-Chestnut dominated forest in eastern US. The chestnut had not evolved with the fungus and they had developed no defenses. The remaining eastern forest is now described as Oak-Hickory Forest. The American Chestnut was an important species in the economy of early America and would still be if it continued to thrive.
Elm trees were devastated by the exotic Dutch the Elm Disease. Again the species had not developed immunities. Each of those species has unique nature niche stories regarding their demise. A common factor that all share is human caused introduction of exotics resulted in the ecological and economic loss. Many native species depended on those species and when they died it cause death or reduction for many other additional species.
Last summer I noticed the Emerald Ash Borer had infected and killed trees on neighbors’ property. I knew for years it was matter of time of before our area would experience massive deaths. I was told an inoculation costing about $35 per tree could save the tree. Repeated treatment every couple years would be necessary. With well over a hundred large ash trees at Ody Brook it not a feasible option.
This past winter I noticed most of the large ash trees at Ody Brook were riddled by woodpeckers. They remove bark on the trunks to feast on emerald ash borer larvae. Unfortunately, the help from woodpeckers was too little too late. The adult borers are members of the flat-headed woodborer beetle family. Many native species of borers thrive here with checks and balances that prevent them from wiping out their food source. Not so for the exotic species.
The emerald beetles first appeared in the Detroit and it is thought they probably arrived in packing material. The population was noticed in 2002 and rapidly expanded killing tens of millions of dollars worth of ash trees in Michigan. They eliminated trees that provide food for hundreds of native insects, birds, and mammals. The adults emerge from under the bark in spring and feed on ash leaves where damage is minor and not noticeable. Females lay more than 100 eggs on the bark. Eggs hatch about two weeks later and borrow through the bark to feed on the phloem. Phloem is the layer that transports water, minerals, and food upward to branches. This is where deadly damage occurs.
The larvae in the phloem cause lethal damage and treetops show evidence of dying. Within a couple years, the trees die. Ash trees will sprout new shoots from roots and it will help prevent complete loss of the tree species. When the shoot sprouts get large enough, they too will be killed. Google Emerald Ash Borer for details about the insect’s life cycle and impact on our economy and nature niches.
Natural history questions or topic suggestions can be directed to Ranger Steve (Mueller) at the odybrook@chartermi.net Ody Brook, 13010 Northland Dr, Cedar Springs, MI 49319-8433.

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Fallfest Bluegrass Music Festival


Bluegrass music is American music, pure, honest and beautiful in it’s simplicity. It came out of the mountains of Appalachia from a rich musical heritage of Scotch/Irish immigrants and was passed down from generation to generation. Come celebrate and enjoy this most American music at Fallfest 2009. Join us on September 18-20, 2009 at the Kent County Youth Fairgrounds in Lowell, Michigan for a music festival that the whole family can enjoy. We will have instrument workshops, a huge bake sale, craft and food vendors, and lots of campsite jammin’. And then there are our Bluegrass music stage acts all weekend long.

We have two great headliners this year. They are the Hardline Drive Bluegrass Band and the Schlitz Creek Band. Bluegrass doesn’t get any better than these two great bands. Be sure to bring lawnchairs/blankets for the concert under our all weather canopy. It’s Bluegrass music, come rain or shine.

Friday night the Thunder Floor Cloggers, The Bluegrass Echoes, Out of the Blue, Black Canyon and Nobody’s Darlin will entertain you from 6:00-10:00 p.m. Friday admission is just $10.00.

Saturday it’s great music from noon until 10:00 p.m. The Hardline Drive Band performs at 4:00 p.m. and 8:25 p.m. The Schlitz Creek Band plays at 3:05 p.m. and 7:30 p.m. In addition, there will be The Thunder Floor Cloggers, Lonesome Journey and The Flatbellys Bluegrass Band. Saturday’s price is only $15.00 for the entire day’s events.

Sunday at 10:00 a.m. enjoy the gospel sounds of Bluegrass Echoes along with our audition bands and a chance to win $100. Sunday admission is $5.00. Save money and come for the whole weekend for $20.00 advance ticket or $25.00 at the gate. For advance tickets, send your check payable to WMBMA and a SASE to Norma Noall, 12530 Heim, Lowell, MI 49331. Children 15 and under are admitted free with parent(s) admission. Campsites are available.

Fallfest 2009 is sponsored/produced by the West Michigan Bluegrass Music Association. Fore more information call WMBMA President Dave Simmonds at (616) 897-6220 or visit our website at www.wmbma.org.

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