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Archive | September, 2020

Cedar Springs wins over Thornapple-Kellogg, 34-7

Junior Aiden Brunin runs with the ball against Middleville Thornapple-Kellogg. 

By Judy Reed

The long wait is over for varsity high school football, and last Friday’s game at Red Hawk Stadium did not disappoint. The Cedar Springs Red Hawks showed fans Friday night that they are serious about being a contender in their new conference—the OK Gold. 

“It was a very solid effort against a good Thornapple-Kellogg team,” remarked Coach Gus Kapolka. “I was proud of how our kids responded after all the interruptions we’ve had in the preseason. It was great to be back out on the field and achieve a sense of normalcy during a very strange period in all of our lives.”

Thornapple-Kellogg scored first with 3:23 left in the first quarter on a run by Cole Shoobridge for 2-yard  touchdown. The extra point was good.

Cedar Springs scored their first touchdown with 11:46 left in the second quarter on a 29-yard run by sophomore Antwuan Nicholls. Junior Aiden Brunin ran in the extra points, making the score CS 8, TK 7.

The Red Hawks scored again toward the end of the second quarter when Brunin ran the ball in from the 1-yard line. His extra points attempt was no good. The score at the half was CS 14, TK 7.

Cedar Springs scored again with 2:51 left in the third quarter on an 11-yard run by Brunin. Senior QB Jeremy Campione’s pass for extra points was incomplete.

The Red Hawks then scored twice more in the fourth quarter, first on a long 45-yard run by Campione, with 11:51 left to play; and then again on another long run, this time by Nicholls, who took the ball and scampered 59 yards to the endzone with 5:46 left to play. Da’montae Barnett’s run in for extra points he 

Senior quarterback Jeremy Campione runs toward the endzone for a touchdown.

The Red Hawks had 340 yards rushing, with Nicholls leading the way with 137 and two touchdowns; followed by Campione with 70 and one touchdown; Brunin with 68 yards and two touchdowns ; Barnett with 33; Alex Ream 12; Kyle Hoort 10; David DiPiazza 7; and Nate Elliston 3.

Wayland had 163 yards on the ground, led by Mitch Middleton with 72.

Defensively, Josh Kriekaard led the Red Hawks with five tackles, followed by Logan Petty, Dylan Greenland, and Brennan Porter, who each had four. Fourteen others had 3 tackles and below.

The Post asked Coach Kapolka what he thought the team did well.

“We played well on defense,” he said. “TK is a triple option football team that forced us to play extremely disciplined, and with a few exceptions we were up to the task.”

What does he think they need to improve on?

“Our offensive line play needs to improve moving forward, and we need to do a better job of protecting the ball,” he explained.

What does Kapolka think the Red Hawks need to do to win against Wayland this Friday?

“We need to work on a 1001 little things that go into winning this week.  We have a lot of improving to do,” he said.

Instead of shaking hands after the game, the two teams waved their helmets at one another (due to COVID-19 restrictions).

Wayland fell to the division four state champions Catholic Central last week 44-7, and went 0-9 last season. Cedar Springs has faced them 24 times, going 12-12. The last time they played each other was in 2013, when Wayland won 28-26.

For those subscribing to the NFHS Network (nfhsnetwork.com) you can find the link to stream this Friday’s game at https://www.nfhsnetwork.com/events/wayland-union-high-school-wayland-mi/gam3ea22a1125.

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Volunteers plant pollinator garden near creek

By Judy Reed

Jamie Vaughan, with Trout Unlimited, planting native plants in a wetland restoration north of Cedar Creek and east of the White Pine Trail. Photo by J. Reed.

The third part of a wetland restoration along Cedar Creek was completed this week with the planting of almost 3,000 native plants to create a pollinator garden that will help improve water quality and filter storm water.

Josh Zuiderveen and Jamie Vaughan of Trout Unlimited headed up the restoration that was done on city land just north of the creek and to the east of the White Pine Trail.

The restoration was made possible by a $200,000 grant two years ago from the Department of Environmental Quality to Trout Unlimited for this project in the Rogue River watershed. The City of Cedar Springs and the Cedar Springs Community Building Development Team contributed $22,000 to this project.  

The first two projects took place behind the Cedar Springs Public Library and further upstream. This third project included excavation of the land that lies to the north of the creek and up to Pine Street. They installed a berm for water to flow over, and volunteers planted 2,850 plants, made up of a dozen different types, according to Vaughan. She also said the Cedar Springs Brewing Company donated lunch for volunteers that day. 

Josh Zuiderveen, of Trout Unlimited, near the berm that will help with stormwater runoff. Post photo by J. Reed.
Some of the native plants being planted in the
pollinator garden as part of the wetland

restoration. Post photo by J. Reed.

Zuiderveen explained that the pollinator garden will help capture stormwater runoff from the road and reduce flooding downtown. It will also help clean the water. “The area is pretty flat,” he said. 

He also explained how the berm would work. “During a rain event, a little puddle will get bigger. And during a big rain event, that puddle will get all the way up to the top and then slowly overflow over here,” he said pointing at the berm.

He said maintenance will involve a periodic check to make sure the drain isn’t clogged, and they may have to scrape out the basin once every 10 years to clean out a build up of sediment. 

A long view of the area from just south of Pine Street towards Cedar Creek. Post photo by J. Reed.

Cedar Creek is one of the coldest tributaries to the Rogue River and supports healthy populations of brook, brown, and rainbow trout, but is at risk due to the continued development of the watershed and wetland loss. 

These wetlands will not only improve water quality of Cedar Creek and the Rogue River but also provide the Cedar Springs community many opportunities to experience nature through enjoying the birds and butterflies, observing the blooms of native flowers throughout the seasons, and hearing the songs of spring peepers and other wildlife. 

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Community’s Red Flannel Fun song now has Youtube video

This famous photo from a special edition of LIFE magazine that featured the Red Flannel Festival is one of the photos in the new Youtube video celebrating its history.

By Judy Reed

This time of year brings fond memories of and anticipation of two Red Flannel weekends of fun. This year, you might be missing those days gone by, especially with the cancellation of this year’s Red Flannel Festival, due to COVID-19. But there is a way to relive some of those memories through a new video that was recently posted online. 

Mark Del Covell, the self-taught musician who brought us the “Red Flannel Fun” song, has now produced an accompanying video that brings the lyrical story to life, through the wonderment of his three-year-old son, Christian.

“My goal in making this video was to give something to the loyal festival patrons that might help them fill the void of this year’s missing fun activities and anticipated buzz that surrounds this town every beginning of the autumn season,” explained Covell.

Through numerous photos from the Cedar Springs Post, Cedar Springs Historical Museum, family members and more, Covell ties together the early days of Cedar Springs as a lumbering community with the eventual introduction of Cedar Springs’ red flannel long john underwear to New York city and the nation. 

“What I’ve learned in making this and what the casual viewer may not be aware of, is the time it takes to put together an image-type video of this length,” said Covell. “I’m pleased with how it all came together.  My only regret was not being able to fit every Queen, noteworthy person or festival image that certainly deserved to be recognized during the past 80 years, as space was limited within the six minute song.”

Take a moment this season to reflect and reminisce by checking out the video at  www.youtube.com/watch?v=GJCDawhwCbA.

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The Wishing Tree raises funds for library

The Kamstra family—Brad, Dana, and daughter MaeLynn—bought a variety of books from the library’s Wishing Tree wish list. Courtesy photo.

The “Wishing Tree” at the Cedar Springs Public Library has been a big help to the library in terms of fundraising for new books.

“Since the idea of a Wishing Tree was thought of by staff person Mary Garner in February, our community library has been blessed with about $900 to spend on books, beyond our meager budget!” noted Library Director Donna Clark.

They have received at least 86 books.

Anyone can participate. Books can be purchased in honor of others as a gift, and their name can even be put inside the cover. To choose a book title, you can either visit the tree at the library, or visit their website, where there is a link to their Amazon wish list for books. Just go to: http://cedarspringslibrary.org/news/online-giving-tree/.

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Health Department reports drop in COVID-19 testing

Test sites are operating below capacity; wait times for appointments and test results are low

GRAND RAPIDS, MI (Sept. 21, 2020) – The Kent County Health Department (KCHD) has seen a sharp decline in the number of people seeking appointments and getting tested for the coronavirus at the department’s three testing sites as well as partner sites in recent weeks. Several sites are operating well under capacity, with low or no wait time for appointments.

As a result, turnaround time for test results has dropped as well, with the vast majority of KCHD test results coming back within 48 hours, some as fast as 24-36 hours. Wait times for test results were running as high as seven to ten days at their peak in July.

“We want people to know that testing is free, quick, easy and available,” said Christopher Bendekgey, Community Clinical Services Division Director, Kent County Health Department. “People are still contracting the virus, but we suspect they’ve heard it’s hard to get an appointment or others have waited over a week for results, and they’re thinking, ‘why bother?’ But it’s vital that we continue to track and work to stop the spread of this disease in our community.”

In the recent weeks, the health department has seen a decline of about 300 test per week across its three sites. Other community partner testing sites are reporting similar lulls in their testing.

Testing sites with immediate availability include:

  • Kent County Health Department Fuller Clinic, 700 Fuller Ave NE, Grand Rapids MI 49503
  • Kent County Health Department South Clinic, 4700 Kalamazoo Ave, Kentwood MI 49508
  • Kent County Health Department Baxter test site, 935 Baxter St SE, Grand Rapids, MI 49506
  • NxGen MDx test site located at LINC UP, 1167 Madison Ave SE, Grand Rapids, MI 49507

Tests at these locations are free and appointments at the health department sites can be made online or by calling (616) 632-7200. Appointments at the LINC UP site can be made by visiting https://nxgenmdx.com/covid-19-testing-mi/.

KCHD, in accordance with CDC guidelines, recommends a person get tested if:

  • You have symptoms of COVID-19, i.e.,

Any 1 of the following

  • Cough
  • Shortness of Breath
  • New loss of taste or smell

Or any 2 of the following

  • Fever
  • Chills
  • Body aches
  • Headache
  • Sore throat
  • Nausea or vomiting
  • Diarrhea
  • Fatigue
  • Congestion or runny nose
  • You’ve been in close contact with someone with COVID-19 (within 6 feet; 15 minutes)
  • You suspect you’ve been exposed to someone with COVID-19.
  • You are in a high COVID-19 transmission area and have attended a public or private gathering of more than 10 people where people weren’t wearing masks or social distancing.

Looking ahead, the department anticipates that some current test sites will close as other new sites come online.

For more information on COVID-19 and coronavirus testing, visit www.accesskent.com/health/coronavirus.

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Sand Lake firefighter appreciation

The Sand Lake Fire Department. Photo by Maggie Merritt.

The residents of the Village of Sand Lake and Nelson Township showed the Sand Lake Fire Department last week just how much they appreciate them.

The event, organized by residents, included a drive-by parade. The firefighters stood in front of Rosie’s Ice cream as vehicles drove by with banners, honking horns, and waving. Rosie’s served the firefighters and families supper beforehand. 

“We had a wonderful turn out of residents,” said one Sand Lake resident. “Lamp posts down Main Street had a fire truck for each firefighter with their names on them and balloons. Our kids painted the firetrucks. We appreciate everything our firefighters do for us and they are the best family of firefighters and first responders around.”

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Final Adopt-A-Highway cleanup of year starts Saturday

September 21, 2020 — Volunteers will soon be scouring the roadsides looking for trash during the year’s final Adopt-A-Highway pickup. Thousands of volunteers in the popular Michigan Department of Transportation (MDOT) program will be picking up litter along highway roadsides from Saturday, Sept. 26, through Sunday, Oct. 4.

In accordance with Gov. Whitmer’s recent executive order, MDOT requires all Adopt-A-Highway volunteers to wear a mask outdoors when they are unable to consistently maintain a distance of 6 feet or more from individuals who are not members of their household.

There are normally three scheduled Adopt-A-Highway pickups each year: one each in the spring, summer and fall. A spring pickup period was canceled this year due to coronavirus concerns.

Every year, Adopt-A-Highway volunteers regularly collect more than 60,000 bags of trash. The popular program began in 1990 and has grown to involve more than 2,750 groups cleaning 6,300 miles of highway.

Motorists should be on the lookout beginning Saturday for volunteers wearing high-visibility, yellow-green safety vests. MDOT provides free vests and trash bags and arranges to haul away the trash.

Getting involved in the program is easy. Volunteers include members of civic groups, businesses and families. Crew members have to be at least 12 years old and each group must number at least three people. Groups are asked to adopt a section of highway for at least two years; there is no fee to participate. Adopt-A-Highway volunteer groups are recognized with signs bearing a group’s name posted along stretches of adopted highway.

Sections of highway are still available for adoption. Interested groups should check the MDOT Adopt-A-Highway website at www.Michigan.gov/AdoptAHighway for more information and the name of their county’s coordinator, who can specify available roadsides.

Fast facts:

  • The final Adopt-A-Highway of the year is Sept. 26-Oct. 4.
  • Adopt-A-Highway volunteers collect more than 60,000 bags of litter annually.
  • In accordance with Gov. Whitmer’s recent executive order, MDOT requires all Adopt-A-Highway volunteers to wear a mask outdoors when they are unable to consistently maintain a distance of 6 feet or more from individuals who are not members of their household.
  • Sections of highway are still available to adopt. Go to www.Michigan.gov/AdoptAHighway for more information.

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Kent District Library expands in-branch hours

Upgraded printing and scanning services

 Kent District Library is pleased to announce expanded in-branch hours starting Monday, September 21. Branches will return to their normal published hours with one exception – all branches will remain closed on Sundays. Curbside pick-up is offered during open hours.
For health and safety reasons, KDL will continue to have guidelines in place:

  • Masks are required.
  • Private study rooms are not available for use and play spaces will be closed.
  • Patrons are asked to limit their visits to one hour. Computer use will be limited to an hour a day.
  • Returned items remain in quarantine for 96 hours.
  • The governor’s Executive Order requires KDL to limit building capacity to 25%.
  • Programs will continue to be conducted online.

KDL has also upgraded its printing and scanning services to make them more robust, intuitive and easy to use.

TBS Printing, installed at all KDL branches, allows patrons to effortlessly print documents, emails and web content from any internet enabled smartphone, tablet, laptop or desktop directly to KDL’s existing printers. Print jobs can be sent to the system at kdl.org/wireless-printing.
Each KDL branch now has a ScanEZ Station, an easy to use touch screen scanning solution that can scan, save and send your documents or photos practically anywhere. The new system provides users high speed scanning and copying via a patron-friendly interface. Patrons can even restore old, faded photos and documents and translate copy to text or audio in over 100 languages.

“We see a lot of value added for our patrons with this new system, and KDL staff are excited to show patrons how seamlessly it all works,” said Trish Reid, Training Manager at KDL. “The wireless printing capability and new scanning system allows patrons to finish their tasks much more quickly and efficiently than ever before.”

KDL is committed to offering free printing to patrons through at least the end of 2020.

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Red Hawk tennis takes wins against South Christian, Northview

#3 singles Trevor Marshall in action. Courtesy photo.

The Cedar Springs Red Hawks boys tennis team had a busy week in competition last week, losing one match but winning or placing in three others.

On Monday, September 14, the team travelled to Grand Rapids Catholic Central for a dual. According to Coach Lee Cornelius they competed well but lost 0-8.

On Wednesday, September 16, the Red Hawks hosted Grand Rapids South Christian. It was a highly competitive dual that saw a lot of matches go to 3 sets and tiebreakers. Cedar Springs prevailed and took the win 4-3.

The highlights of the match for the Red Hawks:

#1 Singles, senior and captain, Ethan Plummer won 4-6, 6-3, 6-0.

#2 Singles, senior and captain, Trevor Marshall won 7-6 (2), 6-4.

#2 Doubles, Landon Kolodziej and partner Timothy Minnema won 6-3, 6-1.

#3 Doubles, Owen Drake and partner Cole French won 6-0, 2-6, 6-4.

On Thursday, September 17, Cedar Springs hosted Northview High School for a dual. Another day of competitive tennis with the Red Hawks winning their second straight match finishing 6-2.

Cedar’s 6 points came from wins by:

#1 Singles, Ethan Plummer, winning 6-2, 7-6 (2).

#2 Singles, Sophomore Aricin Thompson, winning 2-6, 6-3, 10-4.

#3 Singles, Trevor Marshall, winning 4-6, 6-4, 10-8.

#1 Doubles, Walker Glyshaw and partner Chase Moore, winning 7-5, 6-0.

#2 Doubles, Landon Kolodziej and partner Timothy Minnema, winning 6-3, 4-6, 10-7.

#3 Doubles, Owen Drake and partner Cole French, winning 7-5, 6-4.

On Saturday, September 19, the Cedar Springs team travelled to Hamilton high school for a tournament. The boys were tired but pushed through it by taking 1st and 2nd place in several flights.

#2 Doubles, Landon Kolodziej and partner Timothy Minnema, took first place after finishing off Hamilton and Calvin Christian, both in 3rd set tiebreakers.

#2 Singles, Aricin Thompson, took 2nd place.

#3 Singles, Trevor Marshall, took 2nd place after a big 3rd set tiebreaker win against Calvin Christian.

#3 Doubles, Owen Drake and partner Cole French, took 2nd place after coming from behind 1-5 and winning 6 straight games to beat Calvin Christian 6-4, 7-5.

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Volleyball season has started!

Varsity volleyball team picture courtesy of Cindy Kulak-Fettig.

Through all the new changes including required masks, no hand shaking, limited crowd size and shorter preseason practice, one thing remains unchanged, the excitement to be back on the court and competing.

The Red Hawk Varsity Volleyball team started their shortened 2020 season with a full and aggressive first two weeks in a new conference division, the OK Gold. The season opener had the Lady Red Hawks losing in the first conference match at Forest Hills Eastern 0-3. 

On Saturday, September 12, the team traveled to NorthPointe Christian for a Varsity quad. They kicked off the day’s competition with thrilling 3-2 marathon match win over host NorthPointe Christian (25-23; 25-23; 23-25; 18-25 and 15-10), followed with losses to Greenville (19-25; 13-25; 20-25) and Hopkins (21-25; 16-25; 19-25). 

Week 2 began with the home opener on Tuesday, September 15, resulting in a tough 2-3 loss to Thornapple Kellogg (23-25; 25-11; 29-27; 25-23; 8-15). 

Thursday, September 17, brought the Red Hawks an 0-3 loss at Wayland. 

The week concluded at the Zeeland East Varsity quad on Saturday, September 19 with an opening 0-3 match loss to host Zeeland East, and followed by 0-3 losses to both NorthPointe Christian and Jenison. The Lady Red Hawks are 1-8 overall and 0-3 in conference.

 Stat leaders for the season to date include senior middle hitter Arianna Rau with 40 kills and 23 blocks (including 15 solo). Outside hitter Aaliyah Calkins has recorded 25 kills and 27 digs, while setter McKenna Outwin tallied 127 assists and team high 12 aces. Libero Elizabeth Fettig has 104 digs and 207 serve receives. Alyssa Detweiler has put down 24 kills and 20 blocks at middle and Kennedi Jager added 23 kills. Defensive Specialist Isis Polczsk contributed 111 serve receptions and 39 digs.  

“We graduated 5 of our 6 starters last year. The girls this year are working hard to learn the game together on the court and push and support each other to be the best they can be. We preach to the girls that this is a process, a marathon not a sprint, and if we keep working together, we will be where we want to be in the end,” stated Varsity Coach Ashley Lowing.

The Lady Red Hawks traveled to Catholic Central Tuesday, September 22. Next week the teams will host South Christian on Tuesday, September 29, then travel to Ottawa Hills on Thursday, October 1.  

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Deer check and CWD/TB testing changes for 2020 hunting season

The Michigan Department of Natural Resources advises deer hunters to be prepared for big changes to DNR deer check stations this fall. Photo courtesy of Michigan DNR.

The Michigan Department of Natural Resources advises deer hunters to be prepared for big changes to DNR deer check stations this fall.

Staffing and financial shortages, due to both funding associated with long-term declines in the hunter base and the COVID-19 pandemic, will result in reductions in check station and drop-box locations, dates and hours operated, and the number of deer heads that will be accepted for chronic wasting disease testing (CWD).

Additionally, to protect hunters and DNR staff, some procedures will be changed to make deer check stations safer for all. Hunters are required to wear masks and follow social distancing guidelines, staying 6 feet away from other people, at DNR deer check stations. At many check stations, hunters will be required to stay in their vehicles while their deer is checked.

“It is an unprecedented time in our state’s history, with serious challenges that affect everyone. We ask for your patience and grace as we adapt to meet these challenges,” said acting DNR Wildlife Division Chief Dan Kennedy. “Michigan hunters have a long history of partnering with the DNR for the benefit and health of the state’s deer population. Let’s continue working together to protect public health, too.”

Deer check stations and drop boxes

Deer check station locations will be reduced this fall. Check station days and hours of operation also will be reduced across much of the state. Many check stations will be open only during parts of the firearm deer season in November. Wait times may be longer than usual, especially during the firearm deer season, due to staffing reductions. It’s important to note, too, that any changes in the state’s COVID-19 situation could result in changes to planned locations and hours of operation.

In parts of the state where CWD and bovine tuberculosis (TB) samples are needed, check stations and drop boxes will be available to hunters beginning Oct. 3 and continuing into December and January.

Deer cooperator patches will be available at DNR deer check stations, during their hours of operation, while supplies last.

Deer disease surveillance

The DNR still needs hunters help to learn more about the status of CWD in Michigan. Since the DNR no longer has the resources to test the same volume of deer heads as in the past, the department will prioritize gathering deer heads from in and around known CWD areas to gather more information about the extent of the disease in these locations. See 2020 CWD testing goals map at https://tinyurl.com/y2ycjlf2.

In 2020, deer heads from southern Jackson, southern Isabella and western Gratiot counties and from the core CWD surveillance area in the Upper Peninsula (portions of Delta, Dickinson and Menominee counties) will be accepted for CWD testing from Oct. 3 to Jan. 4.

Deer heads from Clinton, Dickinson, Eaton, Gratiot, Ingham, Ionia, Jackson, Kent and Montcalm counties will be accepted for testing Nov. 15-18 only. USDA-approved lab testing is also available for hunters in these areas at any time. 

Those who hunt in the remainder of the state and want their deer tested for CWD must submit their deer head to a USDA-approved lab for testing and will be charged a fee. Visit Michigan.gov/CWD for information about USDA-approved labs conducting CWD testing.

Carcasses from deer displaying symptoms of CWD will be tested throughout the deer season, regardless of where they were killed.

Deer will continue to be collected for annual TB surveillance in DMU 487 (Alcona, Alpena, Iosco, Montmorency, Oscoda and Presque Isle counties). TB tests also will be conducted in Cheboygan, Crawford, Ogemaw, Otsego and Roscommon counties, as well as parts of Allegan, Barry, Calhoun, Emmet, Kalamazoo, Ottawa and Saginaw counties as part of the state’s agreement with the U.S. Department of Agriculture and continued commitment to conduct surveillance for potential TB expansion. See 2020 deer TB testing map at https://tinyurl.com/y4ggwtfo. Although these are the DNR’s priority areas for TB surveillance, deer from anywhere in the state will be accepted for TB testing.

This fall, hunters coming in for disease testing are asked to bring only deer heads to check stations, removing them ahead of time, if possible. Those who would like to keep the antlers are asked to please remove those from the head but bring the antlers when they visit a check station so that antler measurements can be taken.

Information about the new check station procedures can be found in the 2020 Hunting Digest at https://tinyurl.com/deerhuntingdigest2020 or at Michigan.gov/CWD. Hours and locations of deer check stations will be updated this week and will be available at Michigan.gov/DeerCheck.

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Who would do that?

Ranger Steve

A woman drove up the drive and started to back out. I opened the door and motioned for her to return. She said she was looking for Ody Brook Nature Sanctuary but this is a private residence. I said yes on both accounts. 

“I am Ranger Steve, the sanctuary manager and ecologist that lives here. This is our private property where we allow visitors to experience nature.”

She said, “Who would do that with their private property?”

People post property with no trespassing or keep out signs. It means this is mine and others are not welcome. People have sound reasons because people might hunt without permission, dig up plants, or otherwise despoil the land instead of respecting the rights of plants, animals, and the human residents. 

As a young person, I decided to do good for others and share. People farm their property raising livestock and crops for a living. To support them we buy produce at the farmers market and the grocery instead of raising them here. Farmers make money from animal and plant crops to sustain families. It is my hope that each landowner will set aside at least ten percent of their property to sustain a natural healthy sustainable world. 

I do not think that is adequate so at Ody Brook we leave 80 to 90 percent of the land wild where we manage habitat diversity to support as many species as possible. Many people own property where they allow it to thrive naturally. Periodically they might harvest timber selectively to help pay property taxes. 

My naturalist career did not provide a large income but we were able to purchase 61 acres over the course of living here for 41 years by buying property from neighbors. My neighbor wanted me to protect and enhance nature by acquiring her floodplain that was not suitable for farming. She wanted to keep it until her death. In the last year of life, she needed money to live in a care facility and sold me land. Her tillable land and home were sold to others. She was pleased knowing I would be a good steward caring for the land. 

We lease seven acres for tilling, but the income does not cover the taxes. My pension and social security allows us to live simply to enhance biodiversity. College interns help manage the sanctuary to develop skills for employment advantage. High school students assist with habitat management labor to meet our mission of “biodiversity enhancement.” 

Non-curable multiple myeloma cancer was expected to take me years ago. I continue to survive to write this column, maintain the sanctuary, and share it with people, plants, and animals to promote a sustainable environment for present and future generations. Retirement investments were used to purchase the property. Pension and social security make it possible to live simply. Mostly staying home allows me a good life with my health limitations and I explore the sanctuary daily. I tire quickly and have benches along trails for resting.

We have not charged people to explore natural wonders. Donations and help are appreciated. Interpretive signs line trails. Fallen trees are removed from paths as are exotic plants that cause harm to native ecosystem species. 

Most people do not donate and it is not required for access. Some volunteer time with projects. As my health and abilities decline, it becomes more challenging to do the physical work. I have a 10-pound lifting limit because of brittle cancer bones and have experienced ten fractures. The cancer and chemo tire me and I need frequent naps. Being tired, weak, and brittle is no different from what other seniors experience. We all keep plugging along and doing our best to stay productive for the benefit of community members and family.

For me, being productive is helping enhance living conditions for plants and animals that share the property and being willing to allow people to come learn about nature’s biodiversity that sustains human life. That answers the question “who would open their private property to others?” I hope you will do that with your property and set aside at least 10 percent for native wild species survival. Donate to land conservancies, nature centers, and conservation organizations. It will help economic, social, and environmental sustainability. Be kind and giving. 

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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