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Tag Archive | "Heroes"

Public lands are Earth Day’s unsung heroes


Tahquamenon River fall forest: An aerial view of the Tahquamenon River and the surrounding fall forest, a popular tourist destination in the eastern end of Michigan’s Upper Peninsula.

Tahquamenon River fall forest: An aerial view of the Tahquamenon River and the surrounding fall forest, a popular tourist destination in the eastern end of Michigan’s Upper Peninsula.

Pollution prevention, water filtration among the natural benefits

Want to celebrate an Earth Day hero? Look no further than the nearest parcel of state-managed public land in any corner of Michigan.

Last weekend we celebrated Earth Day, and it’s a good time to appreciate our state-managed public lands for all they do to enhance quality of life in Michigan. The Department of Natural Resources manages 4.6 million acres of land for the public’s use and enjoyment, including state forests, game areas, recreation areas and parks. Aside from the high-value cultural, recreational and economic opportunities they provide, Michigan’s public lands have enormous impact on the quality of our environment and natural resources.

The lands reduce air pollution, protect water quality, provide flood retention and offer critical wildlife habitat. Like true heroes, they do their jobs without fanfare.

“People usually associate public lands with outdoor adventures such as camping, hiking or hunting,” said DNR Director Keith Creagh. “But they may not realize the tremendous natural benefits these spaces provide. Their contributions to the health of Michigan’s environment, natural resources and citizens are many. That’s why proper management of these valued public lands is so critical.”

Maple River SGA: Maple River State Game Area, covering more than 9,200 acres in Clinton, Gratiot and Ionia counties, offers residents and visitors access to wildlife viewing, hunting and other outdoor exploration. It provides substantial acreage for pheasant and other wildlife habitat.

Maple River SGA: Maple River State Game Area, covering more than 9,200 acres in Clinton, Gratiot and Ionia counties, offers residents and visitors access to wildlife viewing, hunting and other outdoor exploration. It provides substantial acreage for pheasant and other wildlife habitat.

Ways in which public lands improve our environment, natural resources and even public health include:

Pollution prevention. Forests and wetlands on public lands benefit the environment by serving as natural “purifiers.” For example, trees help reduce air pollution by absorbing pollutants and increasing oxygen levels in the atmosphere. Wetlands play a vital role by filtering pollutants from surface runoff, and breaking down fertilizers, pesticides and other contaminants into less harmful substances.

Improved water quality.

Tree roots hold soil together and soak up moisture, which enhances water quality and prevents erosion. In addition to filtering pollutants, wetlands improve water quality by recharging groundwater supplies when connected to underground aquifers. They also contribute to natural nutrient and water cycles.

Storm water management.

In natural landscapes like forests, the soil absorbs water and pollutants resulting from runoff from hard surfaces such as driveways and parking lots. This is especially important in reducing flooding.

Wildlife habitat.

Fields, forests, waterways and wetlands provide Michigan’s wildlife with the vibrant ecosystems they need to thrive.

Better health.

Nature plays a huge role in the physical and emotional health of Michiganders. The ability of trees and grasslands to filter air pollution reduces negative health effects on people with respiratory ailments. Plus, state-managed public lands—offering trails, boat launches, campgrounds and other outdoor recreation options—provide any number of opportunities for exercise and fitness. Of course, trees, lakes and rivers offer calming effects that are emotionally gratifying as well.

Good stewardship.

Michigan’s public lands promote good environmental stewardship. They allow for initiatives such as Michigan’s Wetland Wonders, which provide exceptional waterfowl hunting opportunities through the world-class management of the state’s seven premier Managed Waterfowl Hunt Areas. The DNR also is pursuing an innovative wetland mitigation program that harnesses public lands to help offset the loss of wetlands.

“We’re a cleaner, healthier Michigan because of our public lands,” Creagh said. “So much of what they do for us happens without notice. But Earth Day provides a good opportunity to appreciate all our state-managed public lands do for the citizens of Michigan.”

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Everyday heroes at the library


Sgt. Jason Kelly explained that one of an officer’s tools is a bulletproof vest.  Post photo by J. Reed.

Sgt. Jason Kelly explained that one of an officer’s tools is a bulletproof vest. Post photo by J. Reed.

It was great week of summer reading fun at the Cedar Springs Library this past week, with programs highlighting everyday heroes and animal super powers.

Fire Chief Marty Fraser and Firefighter Stacey Velting from the Cedar Springs Fire Department showed up for preschool storytime, Wednesday, June 24. They showed the kids what firefighters look like dressed up in their turn out gear, and then the kids were able to try it on themselves. The children were also able to climb up and inspect the fire truck.  It was a wonderful way to celebrate these everyday heroes!

Mr. Pete from the Kalamazoon Nature Center talked about the superpowers of animals in our own backyards. Courtesy photo.

Mr. Pete from the Kalamazoon Nature Center talked about the superpowers of animals in our own backyards. Courtesy photo.

Mr. Pete from the Kalamazoo Nature Center visited educated kids and parents alike on June 24, at the family program at Cedar Springs Middle School, with the superpowers of some animals we can see in our own backyards. “He started off with the tale of Charlie the Caterpillar, aka Double Identity, and taught us about the beaver, Master Builder, the turkey culture, Super Stomach, and more!” said Kelly Roach, who is in charge of the children’s programming, at the library. “And we taught him what a great community Cedar Springs is with our record attendance!” The program was attended by 188 kids and parents.

Preschoolers got to try on firefighter equipment. Courtesy photo.

Preschoolers got to try on firefighter equipment. Courtesy photo.

On Tuesday, June 29, Sgt. Jason Kelly, and Deputy Jason VanDyke, of the Kent County Sheriff Department’s Cedar Springs Unit, taught kids in fourth through sixth grade about being a police officer. Sgt. Kelly talked to the kids about becoming a police officer, what the physical training is like, the kinds of tools and weapons they use, and more. He and Dep. VanDyke allowed the kids to get hands-on and try out some of their tools, like touching a bullet-proof vest, checking out handcuffs, talking through a megaphone, putting on a gas mask, lifting a police shield, etc. They also got the chance to sit in a police cruiser and switch on the lights. It was a great way for kids to become acquainted with our own police officers. A big thank you goes out to these everyday heroes who help keep us safe!

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Library’s summer reading program kicks off Monday


Cedar Springs Mayor Jerry Hall and his wife (and Library Board member) Amy signing up their young grandsons, Elijah, 1 and EzCedar Springs Mayor Jerry Hall and his wife (and Library Board member) Amy signing up their young grandsons, Elijah, 1 and Ezra, 5, for the many programs ahead.ra, 5, for the many programs ahead.

Cedar Springs Mayor Jerry Hall and his wife (and Library Board member) Amy signing up their young grandsons, Elijah, 1 and EzCedar Springs Mayor Jerry Hall and his wife (and Library Board member) Amy signing up their young grandsons, Elijah, 1 and Ezra, 5, for the many programs ahead.ra, 5, for the many programs ahead.

Whether you are young or old, a parent or a grandparent, aunt, uncle or no relation at all…it’s time to get out to the Cedar Springs Public Library and get everyone signed up for this year’s annual Summer Reading Program!

This year’s theme is “Heroes,” and 25 programs are scheduled from June 8 to August 5. There are programs for every age group, babies to seniors, and every Wednesday at 2 p.m. at the Middle School there is a family program, with exciting presenters, starting on Wednesday, June 17. There will be a master magician, the Kalamazoo Nature Center, Zeemo, the Cool Scientist and Yo Yo Guy, John Ball Traveling Zoo, Master Arts Street Theatre, and the Wolverine Skyhawks will host an Air Show at their landing strip on July 29 out at 13540 West Street.

It all kicks off this Monday, June 8, from noon to 6 p.m. at the Cedar Springs Library. There will be free ice cream from Kelly’s Restaurant, free themed book bags, courtesy of ChoiceOne Bank, a huge Friends book sale (starts at 10 a.m.), and the Double “K” Petting Barn with help from Animal Junction 4H Club. The CS Fire Department will be on hand to give guided tours of our beautiful, shiny, red fire truck.

The reading program ends with a huge Grand Finale Summer Reading Carnival at Morley Park from 2-5 p.m. on August 5, where we will have a giant expo put on by the Kent County Sheriff’s Department with giveaways (bike and helmets). There will be an armored car, mounted police, a robot, and various other vehicles and police equipment to share. The Museum will be open. There will also be a water slide, music, the Solon Wesleyan Obstacle Course they just built, ice cream sandwiches, popcorn and games.

From start to finish, you will want to participate all summer. Every week there will be special coupon prizes for our readers through 12th grade.  Coupons like a free ice cream at KC’s, free Jr. meal at Kelly’s and Big Boy, breadsticks from Hungry Howies, pizza from Riccardi’s, cookie from Main Street, not to mention great final prizes and giveaways. It’s a double pleasure—reading and winning prizes.

And who knows? Maybe next year we will have our summer reading program in a new library facility. Keep checking the library’s website (cedarspringslibrary.org) and the Community Building Development Team’s website (CSCommunityCenter.org) to find ways to get involved and to see what is happening all around you.

For more info on the summer reading program, call 696-1910.

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