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Archive | August, 2022

Library celebrates end of summer reading program

The Cedar Springs Fire Department kept kids cool at the summer reading program event last Thursday. Post photo by J. Reed.

By Judy Reed

It was hot, sunny day last Thursday, August 4, when the Cedar Springs Public Library celebrated the end of their summer reading program with a special event in the Heart of Cedar Springs park.

There was a special foam event with lots of bubbles, a slip and slide, the Kent County Sheriff’s Office Mounted Unit, deputies and their dogs from the Kent County Sheriff’s K9 unit, and the Cedar Springs Fire Department was also on hand to cool kids off. They gave away a lot of cool prizes, too! See the Post next week for more information on their summer reading stats and what’s coming up.

Kids had a lot of fun on the slip and slide. Post photo by J. Reed.

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US gas prices fall below $4 per gallon; first time since March

$1/gal drop since peak in mid-June spurred on by rising supply, economic concerns

Gasbuddy.com reports that the U.S. national average price of gas has fallen back under the $4 mark to $3.99 per gallon for the first time since early March. At press time Wednesday, gas was $3.97/gallon at Wesco in Cedar Springs.

Gas prices have declined over $1 per gallon since peaking at $5.03 on June 14, fueled by falling oil prices over the last month. Americans today will spend nearly $400 million less on gasoline than they did in mid-June.

It’s been a record-breaking year at the pump, with a majority of motorists seeing three different handled prices, including $3, $4 and $5. Beginning in March, gas prices in the U.S. rose above $4 per gallon for the first time since 2008, as Russia launched its invasion of Ukraine. Global supply began to tighten, with demand also rising into the summer, causing inventories to tighten to uncomfortable levels. The previous record-high of $4.10 per gallon was broken in April, and gas prices soared to a new all-time high average of $5.03 per gallon in June. Areas of California saw average prices near $7 per gallon this summer, and diesel prices saw their biggest premium to gasoline prices ever.

“We’ve never seen anything like 2022 at the pump, highlighted by once-in-a-lifetime events including the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic, which caused myriad imbalances, exacerbated by Russia’s war on Ukraine. As a result, we’ve seen gas prices behave in ways never witnessed before, jumping from $3 to $5 and now back to $3.99,” said Patrick De Haan, head of petroleum analysis for GasBuddy. “While the recent drop in gas prices has been most welcomed, the issues that led to skyrocketing prices aren’t completely put to bed, and still could lead prices to eventually climb back up, should something unexpected develop.”

GasBuddy recommends drivers always shop around for gas, as conditions are changing quickly and stations within a few blocks can vary in price by over 30¢/gal. GasBuddy also offers users the opportunity to receive notifications when prices at their favorite stations change in order to not get caught paying too much.

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Bridge work to close southbound M-37 in Sparta 

Starting August 15

The Michigan Department of Transportation is investing $400,000 to repair the M-37 bridge over Nash Creek just north of 13 Mile Road in Sparta. Work includes joint replacement, approach reconstruction and surface sealant. The start date is Monday, August 15, and will last into early October.

During the first half of the project, southbound M-37 will be closed and detoured using 15 Mile Road, Fruit Ridge Avenue and 13 Mile Road. Northbound M-37 will remain open with lane closures and traffic shifts. MDOT said this work will provide a safer and smoother driving surface and extend the service life of the bridge.

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Drug take back event encourages safe disposal of unwanted meds  

Drop-off site to be at Leppinks Food Center in Howard City

HOWARD CITY, Mich., August 9, 2022 – Everyone is encouraged to clean out their medicine cabinets and take advantage of a free drug take back event Wednesday, August 17, in Howard City.

Unused and unwanted items may be dropped off at Leppinks Food Center at 730 Shaw Street in Howard City from 3 p.m. to 6 p.m. on August 17.

This free and anonymous public service is sponsored by Spectrum Health United and Kelsey Hospitals, Montcalm Prevention Collaborative, Montcalm Care Network and the Montcalm County Sheriff’s Office.  

Items accepted include over the counter and prescription medication, liquids, ointments, inhalers, needles, and pet medications. Full needle containers can be exchanged for empty containers while supplies last.

Naxolone (Narcan) will also be available free to community members after education about the overdose prevention medication is received. Naxolone quickly restores normal breathing to someone who may be suffering a life-threatening accidental overdose from prescription and other opioids.

The United States Drug Enforcement Agency advises the public not to flush medications down the toilet or throw them in the trash because doing so poses potential safety and health hazards.

For more information, call 231.592.4204.

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Payment Apps (P2P Apps) and Scams

Within the last thirty days, the Department of Attorney General has received numerous complaints of scams involving payment apps such as: Zelle, Venmo, Cash App, and PayPal.

Many consumers use these payment apps to easily and conveniently pay others. Unfortunately, scammers have adapted their tactics to take advantage of the quick, and often anonymous, access to cash that they provide.

What to look out for:

  • Scammers impersonating your bank may call to alert you about “suspicious activity” on your account
  • Fraudsters may reach out claiming to represent a fraud department or merchant and ask you to confirm information such as your bank account username and password
  • Fraudsters may try to convince you that you’ve been paid more than you were owed.

Protect Yourself:

P2P apps are not federally insured, regulated, or supervised, even if they partner with an FDIC-insured bank.

Review the app’s fraud protection policies and understand whether and how you can recover funds if a problem arises.

When sending money using a P2P app, the payments and transfers are instant and mostly irreversible. Link your money transfer app to a credit card rather than a debit card or your bank account.

If you think you are a victim of a scam involving peer-to-peer payment apps you can file a complaint with the Federal Trade Commission. For concerns about P2P services, contact the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau at https://tinyurl.com/5e9nd4pa.

For more information, go to: https://www.michigan.gov/ag/consumer-protection/consumer-alerts/consumer-alerts/scams/payment-apps-and-scams.

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Student earns Eagle Scout badge

Ivan Zonavetch was recently awarded his Eagle Scout badge. Courtesy photo

Ivan Zonavetch, 18, the son of Michael and Amy (Haynes) Zonavetch, both graduates of Cedar Springs High School, received his Eagle Scout badge at a ceremony at Riverside Park, in Grand Rapids, on July 24.

He completed his Eagle project in December 2021, when he designed, fundraised, and built a new trash enclosure for North Kent Presbyterian Church of Rockford, where Troop 282 meets. Some of his troop helped him with the construction.

In his seven years of scouting, Ivan earned 33 badges. When asked which were the hardest and the easiest, he said, “Cooking was definitely the hardest and kayaking the easiest.” He went on 130 camping trips and earned the National Outdoor Award for camping. Even the Covid pandemic didn’t stop the troop from camping. In April 2020 they had their first “in your own backyard campout,” followed by a second one, “Polar bear back yard campout” in January 2021. 

Ivan graduated in the spring from Grand Rapids City High School, where he excelled academically. He is currently employed at Spectrum Hospital while considering the field he wants to pursue. 

During his Eagle Scout ceremony, he gave special recognition to his troop leaders for their encouragement and help along the way; to his parents, Michael and Amy, who were also both involved in scouting; and to his grandparents, Roger and Elise Haynes, and Jim and Janet Zonavetch, both longtime Cedar Springs residents, who encouraged him to finish and helped with his Eagle project.

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BBB warns job seekers of suspicious job offers 

Company claims to be in Cadillac

August 10, 2022 — Better Business Bureau in Western Michigan (BBB®) is warning job seekers of a business using a Michigan address to appear legitimate. Turbo Quad Post claims it offers services including package forwarding. Its website lists an address in Cadillac, but according to Haring Township records, no such location exists. 

Employment scams are one of the top three scams targeting consumers, according to the 2021 BBB Scam Tracker Risk Report. It has been one of the riskiest for consumers for the past 5 years. 

“Be wary when a company reaches out to you with a job offer without an interview, as it is likely a scam,” says Lisa Frohnapfel, President and CEO of the Better Business Bureau in Western Michigan. “Do more research about the company before accepting the offer. If the job requires little work for a lot of pay, walk away.”

Recent complaints to the BBB Scam Tracker tell a similar story. Victims claim scammers are reaching out to job seekers looking for remote work on popular employment websites. Potential employees are contacted by text message, asked to watch a short video, then asked to send personal sensitive information for a background check. Victims are told they passed almost immediately and are hired on the spot. The job description consisted of receiving packages at home, checking the items for damage, then reshipping them. Victims are offered thousands of dollars in salary, plus extra compensation for each package processed. But, once it is time to get paid, employees say communication is cut off, and they never receive the pay they are expecting. 

BBB has received numerous complaints about this job scam since June. So far, each victim has lost personal identifiable information to the company, and did work for free, but did not lose any of their own money. 

“In addition to losing your private information, people caught up in these reshipping jobs are often helping the scammers victimize others,” says Frohnapfel. “The items received in these reshipping scams are usually purchased with stolen credit cards. These “employees” become a middle-man to help get the stolen products to the scammers.”

BBB recommends these tips to avoid job scams: 

Be cautious of work-from-home jobs that involve receiving and reshipping packages are likely scams.

Be wary of job offers that don’t require an interview. Reputable companies prefer to talk to top job candidates before hiring them. If a job offer is presented without an interview (on the phone or in person) or is offered only via the internet, do a little more digging.

Be wary of big money for small jobs. If an employer is promising outrageously good wages for what seems like simple tasks such as reshipping packages, stuffing envelopes, or answering phones, this is a red flag. These too-good-to-be-true offers are often an attempt to steal your personal information from a fake job application.

Research the job offer. Call or go directly to the actual company’s website for contact information to verify the job posting. Do an internet search with the name of the employer and the word “scam” to see if there are reports involving job scams.

Check on businesses at BBB.org if they claim to be offering jobs. 

Examine the email address of those offering jobs to see if it matches the protocols used by an actual company. Be alert to gmail business email addresses.

Be cautious in providing personal information such as your full address, birthdate, and financial information in your resume or to unverified recruiters and online applications.

Be wary of vague job descriptions.

Victims of job scams should report them to:

Better Business Bureau – BBB.org or BBB.org/scamtracker.

Federal Trade Commission (FTC) – reportfraud.ftc.gov or call 877-FTC-Help.

Internet Crime Complaint Center (IC3) – ic3.gov/complaint.

Learn more about employment scams at https://www.bbb.org/article/tips/12261-bbb-tip-employment-scams.

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Unsuccessful Sterling Heights council candidate charged with election fraud

By Judy Reed

Michigan Attorney General Dana Nessel has charged a candidate who unsuccessfully ran for a city council seat in November 2021 with election fraud.

According to a news release issued by the AG’s office, Paul Manni, 27, of Sterling Heights, faces felony charges related to absentee ballot application forgeries. 

He was arraigned on August 5 in Macomb County’s 41-A District Court on nine counts of forging a signature on an absent voter ballot application, five-year felonies; and nine counts of making a false statement on an absent voter ballot application, 90-day misdemeanors.

According to information released by the AG’s office, the City Clerk for Sterling Heights became suspicious when Manni, a candidate for city council, personally dropped off approximately 50 absentee voter applications with his signature and an indication that he was delivering the applications at the voters’ request.

Nessel indicated that nine of the voters included in the applications were reached by clerk staff to verify if they did, in fact, wish to apply for an absentee ballot. Each of the nine individuals advised they did not seek to apply for an absentee ballot.

The Clerk then contacted the Bureau of Elections (BOE) to report the suspected fraud, which prompted an investigation. When that investigation was complete, it was referred to the Department of Attorney General (DAG) for evaluation.

The news release stated that none of the applications turned in by Manni resulted in a valid ballot going to the voter.

The Post emailed the AG’s office to get a little more context and find out if any of the voters in the batch wanted absentee ballots, how he supposedly gathered the ballots, etc. but our email had not yet been returned at press time.

“These charges prove the state’s signature matching standards and other election security checks and balances catch instances of wrongdoing, prompt thorough investigations and result in appropriate action,” Nessel said. “I appreciate our ongoing partnership with the BOE to root out attempts to undermine our elections.”

Nessel explained that reports of voter fraud are often first reported to local law enforcement or the BOE for initial investigation, and then routed to the Michigan State Police or to DAG if investigators believe criminal activity occurred.

A probable cause conference is scheduled for August 18 at 1:00 p.m.

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Beware of deals that seem too good to be true 

From the Better Business Bureau

August 3, 2022 — School will soon be in session, and the rush to buy supplies has already begun. According to the National Retail Federation, higher prices and an increase in product shortages will have consumers looking at more cost-effective, unfamiliar brands to fill their back to school lists. The Better Business Bureau Serving Western Michigan (BBB®), warns shoppers to be careful of online deals that may be too good to be true.

According to the 2021 BBB Scam Tracker Risk Report, Online Purchase Scams were the riskiest for consumers, and continue to cost shoppers in 2022s

“Scammers are finding opportunities by enticing shoppers with discounted products,” said Lisa Frohnapfel, President and CEO of the Better Business Bureau Serving Western Michigan. “Each year scammers take advantage of shoppers who don’t do their research, and instead look only for the lowest price.”

BBB Tips for back to school shopping: 

Beware of too good to be true deals. Scammers may offer free or very low prices on hard to find items. With many products being hard to find this back to school season, scammers will be looking to take advantage of consumers desperate for certain supplies. 

Do your homework. Learn more about the seller by looking them up on bbb.org. Do not rely on reviews from the company’s website. 

Think before you click. Be especially cautious about email solicitations and online ads on social media sites. Many sketchy retailers advertise great deals or trendy clothing that don’t measure up to the promotional hype.

Finish your shopping early. With supply shortages and high prices, there will be a large number of shoppers all looking for the same products. Start early and finish early so you are not in a hurry, allowing you to avoid higher prices or being enticed by a bad deal.

Research big ticket items. Before purchasing any major item, research the brand and check the product’s warranties. Only shop with businesses you know and trust to ensure you’re getting a quality product and good customer service. 

Check the site’s security. If the site is secure, its URL should start with “https://” and include a lock icon on the purchase page. Only enter payment information on secure sites.

Pay with a credit card. Credit card companies give you an extra layer of protection, offering you the opportunity to dispute any charges if the transaction goes bad. 

Read the fine print. Look for the return policy; although many online orders can be returned for a full refund, others have restocking fees. Some items cannot be returned; know before you buy.

Report scams. Report any suspicious websites or advertisements to bbb.org/ScamTracker.

For more information visit https://www.bbb.org/all/back-to-school.

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3 tips to make back-to-school easy for kids and parents

(BPT) – The back-to-school season can be overwhelming for the whole family. While there’s excitement about reuniting with friends and starting a new school year, it can be challenging for parents and kids to get back into a solid routine.

To help busy parents prepare their children mentally and physically to return to the classroom, Registered Dietitian and Nutritionist Dalina Soto has provided the following three simple tips that you can easily incorporate into your fall routine.

1. Reestablish a sleep routine

Summers often consist of late nights and mornings, so it can be tough for parents and children to adjust to weekday school hours. Before school begins, establish firm sleep and wake times for yourself and the kids.

You don’t have to do it all at once. Ease into it by adjusting bedtime and the morning alarm to a half-hour earlier than your current routine. Once a week or every few days, keep moving it earlier until you have reestablished the school year sleep routine. Your family will still get to enjoy the summer and not be completely shocked by the switch come September.

2. Double down on hydration

During the hot summer months at home, you can keep a close eye on your kids and ensure they drink plenty of water as they play outside. However, during the school year, you aren’t able to remind them in between classes to grab a drink. Staying hydrated has its benefits. In addition to helping your child stay healthy, regular hydration can boost your child’s mood, memory and attention, according to HealthyChildren.org.

To encourage your kids to hydrate during the school week, add a reusable water bottle to your back-to-school shopping list. As you shop, help your child pick out a fun water bottle they can fill up at home and at school.

3. Start the day with a nutritious meal

One way to make your life easier and alleviate stress as you head into the busyness of the fall season is to have some simple, nutritious meals and snacks you can make in a pinch. Eggs are an easy, delicious and nourishing ingredient you can incorporate into any meal at any time of the day.

To start your child’s school day off right, cook up a meal with Eggland’s Best eggs. Compared to ordinary eggs, they contain more than double the Vitamin B12, which naturally boosts energy to keep your child physically active. Eggland’s Best eggs also have 25% less saturated fat, six times more Vitamin D and more than double the Omega-3s, to help improve your child’s concentration and brain function in the classroom.

Make breakfast fun with these delicious Robot Egg and Cheese Roll Ups inspired by Disney and Pixar’s Lightyear. They’re packed with superior nutrition and are easy for parents to make, fun for kids to enjoy and provide lasting benefits for their school day!

Robot Egg and Cheese Roll Ups

Prep Time: 10 minutes; Cook Time: 5 minutes; Serves: 2

Ingredients

4 large Eggland’s Best eggs (2 whole eggs, 2 egg whites)

1/4 cup diced onion

1/4 cup diced red bell pepper

1 tablespoon chopped chives

2 6-inch whole wheat tortillas

1/8 cup low-fat shredded mozzarella cheese

2 black olives

Directions

1. Spray large pan with nonstick cooking spray and heat to medium-low.

2. In a small bowl, whisk Eggland’s Best eggs and egg whites with onion, peppers and chives. Season with salt and pepper.

3. Pour egg mixture into pan and cook on medium-low heat, stirring frequently until cooked through about 4 minutes. Add cheese and allow to melt slightly.

4. Immediately transfer eggs to tortillas and roll up tightly. Garnish with olives for the eyes, chives and bell pepper to create robot antennas.

To find this and more easy and quick recipes that you can make this school year, visit egglandsbest.com.

Eggland’s Best has teamed up once again with Disney and Pixar’s Lightyear to give families the chance to win Lightyear DVDs and more, Eggland’s Best swag, and the Grand Prize of $5,000 to plus up their at-home movie watching experience. Enter daily now through September 24 for a chance to win. For recipes and more information, visit www.EBFamilySweeps.com. Add Lightyear to your Pixar collection. Now on Digital and own it on Blu-rayTM‚ September 13th.

NO PURCHASE NECESSARY TO ENTER OR WIN IN THE EGGLAND’S BEST “SUPERIOR HERO” SWEEPSTAKES. Open to legal residents of the 50 US & DC, 18 or older. Void where prohibited. Sweepstakes starts 8/3/22 at 9:00 AM ET and ends 9/24/22 at 4:59 PM ET. For Official Rules, which govern, click here. Sponsor: Eggland’s Best, LLC.

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Meet Michigan’s forest fruit trees

Some you may not have heard of

By Rachel Coale

Communications representative, Forest Resources Division

Michigan Department of Natural Resources

Chokecherry flowers blooming on a May morning in Marquette County.

Following your feet down a woodland trail just might lead to a trove of wild treats—tiny, sweet strawberries, tart blueberries and juicy black raspberries—but peering upward into the forest canopy can also reveal unusual or forgotten fruits not found in a grocery store.

Read on to meet a few of these forest fruits found across portions of Michigan’s 4 million acres of state forest lands. 

Chokecherry – Prunus virginiana

Pucker up! True to its name, the reddish-black fruit of the chokecherry tree (usually growing as a large bush) has a tart, astringent flavor that will cause you to make a sour face if you’re not expecting its assertive taste.

However, many foragers know that this mega-tart fruit can be tamed with the addition of sugar or honey and makes a tasty jelly or syrup. 

Chokecherries can be found growing in thickets and generally reach 10-20 feet tall. They have white flowers in the spring that attract butterflies, followed by small fruits in mid-summer.

Oval leaves are serrated and come to a point. Young trees have reddish-brown bark that turns darker brown with age. Chokecherries can be found in many different soil and growing conditions throughout Michigan but are especially common on woodland edges and along roads and trails. 

Do not eat the leaves or pits of chokecherries, which can make people and animals sick. Always consume chokecherries cooked, not raw.

Elderberries are shown growing along a stream in Marquette County.

American elderberry – Sambucus canadensis

American elderberries are a late-summer forest treat, with juicy, purple fruit that is rich in flavor and healthful antioxidants.

This small tree or large shrub ranges from 5 to 12 feet tall and grows in thickets. Cream-colored clusters of star-shaped flowers open in early summer, benefiting bees and butterflies, followed by glossy purple berries in August or September.

Try using them in baked goods, preserves and in pies. They can also be used as a dye or to make ink. Don’t eat uncooked elderberries, which can result in stomach upset.  Blooms can also be used to make fragrant elderflower syrup.

According to the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Forest Service, the American elderberry is usually found in moist forest edge habitat, in full or light shade. It often grows near lake and pond shores, low areas along roadways or in old fields.

Juneberry – several species in the Amelanchier genus

Juneberries are a delightful fruit of summertime in Michigan. (Shutterstock image)

Depending on where you live in north America, juneberry varieties have a plethora of colorful names – juneberry, serviceberry, sarvisberry, shadbush, sugarplum and saskatoon are just a few. 

Whatever you call them, these small trees or multi-stemmed bushes produce delicious, dark purplish fruits similar in size and taste to a blueberry. Fruits have a fringe-like crown on the end.

They can be used in much the same way as blueberries, eaten fresh or cooked into pies, muffins, pancakes or preserves. True to their common name, you can find the fruits ripening in June to July. 

You can find juneberries growing back in open spaces after a wildfire or prescribed burn takes place, or on woodland edges. Juneberries are native to the upper Midwest and Canada, preferring cold climates and fire-adapted ecosystems.

Juneberries are recognizable by small white flowers that bloom in early spring and oval, finely toothed leaves that turn reddish in autumn. 

Mulberry – Morus alba

Most of us are familiar with the childhood rhyme, “all around the mulberry bush,” but have you ever tasted a mulberry? 

Although the trees that bear these purple berries are widespread, the white mulberry is actually a non-native fruit brought to the United States during colonial times – and not for its berries!

Initially, colonists imported them with hopes to establish a silk industry. The silkworm’s preferred diet is mulberry leaves. 

With its aggressive growth habit, the white mulberry has become naturalized into the landscape and is even invasive in some habitats. Known as a “messy tree,” for its abundant and staining berries, foragers can take a similar approach as with lemons – when life hands you mulberries, make a pie! 

The mulberry tree has lobed leaves and orange-brown bark. The fruit ripens from white to purple in midsummer and resembles an elongated blackberry. It can be harvested by laying a sheet or tarp under the tree and gently shaking the branches to dislodge ripe berries.

Michigan is also home to a native species of mulberry, the rare red mulberry (Morus rubra), found in forested floodplains and swamps of the southern part of the state. 

“The red mulberry is a protected, state-threatened species,” said Michigan Department of Natural Resources endangered species specialist Jennifer Kleitch. “If you find one, help protect this species by leaving it intact and do not pick fruit from the plants.”

Help scientists gather information on red mulberry distribution by reporting it to the Michigan Natural Features Inventory. 

Pawpaw – Asimina triloba

With a taste described as a flavorsome cross between a banana and a mango, the pawpaw, also known as the prairie banana, is a little-known native tree with a taste of the tropics.

This small, deciduous understory tree has unusual, three-petaled purple flowers. It produces a large, funky, bean-shaped fruit 3-6 inches long with creamy, custard-like flesh.

They’re the only member of their family in North America; its closest relatives are trees native to Asia and include custard apples and ylang-ylang. 

But why aren’t they more popular? The simple answer is, pawpaw fruits have a short shelf life and are too soft to ship well, so commercial production hasn’t taken off.

To taste this fascinating fruit, you’ll have to go right to the source, though the pulp can be frozen for future baking. Look for patches of these umbrella-shaped trees in shaded areas near stream banks and flood plains of the Lower Peninsula and follow your nose; the large leaves of this plant can smell faintly of gasoline! 

Heading out: Preparation is key

Michigan farmer’s market stalls are overflowing with tasty goodies like peaches, pears and plums. But if you head to the forest, you might be able to find something a little wilder.

Before you go foraging, make sure you have done your homework. Be able to correctly identify any wild plant that you plan to harvest and know methods to safely prepare it. Be aware of your surroundings – avoid picking from plants near roadways and ditches that collect runoff. 

Also know what you can and can’t pick depending on where you are. In a state forest, harvesting fruits, berries, nuts and mushrooms is permitted. Activities that harm or kill a plant upon harvest are not permitted.

If you are canning your haul, always use a safe, tested recipe. University-produced publications such as those from Michigan State University Extension and the National Center for Home Food Preservation are good sources for up-to-date jam, jelly and syrup recipes.

Blogs and social media creators are not required to meet tested safety standards and may contain unsafe recipes.

Learn more about foraging and wild foods at Michigan.gov/Foraging.  

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West Michigan, U.P. preserves highlight must-visit destinations 

Sand beach at Bete Grise Wetland Preserve.The 62-acre Bete Grise Wetlands Preserves consists of just over 4,000 feet of sandy shoreline along Lake Superior leading to dune and swale wetlands and 1,000 feet of frontage on the Mendota Ship Canal. Bete Grise © Gina Nicholas

Cap off summer with memorable trips to mountains, beaches or rare coastal plain marshes

LANSING – Michiganders looking to squeeze every bit out of summer before school starts have plenty of options for outdoor adventures, including visits to some of The Nature Conservancy in Michigan’s (TNC) most popular preserves—some of which are off the beaten path.

 “TNC is proud to own and manage nearly 80,000 acres at preserves throughout the lower and upper peninsulas, which means we have something for every interest and skill level—from hikers looking to scale a mountain to families who want a day at the beach,” said Helen Taylor, state director for TNC in Michigan. “While flipping the calendar over to August can signal summer vacation is winding down, there’s still plenty of time to enjoy the great outdoors.”

Top summer activities at TNC preserves include:

Trekking to the top of “lookout mountain,” also known as Mt. Baldy at the Helmut & Candis Stern Preserve, which sits 730 feet above Lake Superior. You might spot black bear, snowshoe hare, peregrine falcon, ruffed grouse, golden-crowned kinglet, black-throated green warbler and yellow-rumped warbler on the six-mile roundtrip hike.

Lounging at the beaches at Bete Grise Wetlands Preserve in Bete Grise or Carl A. Gerstacker Nature Preserve at Dudley Bay. Bete Grise Wetlands Preserve boasts nearly one and a half miles of high-quality sand beach along Lake Superior. The Carl A. Gerstacker Nature Preserve features five miles of beautiful shoreline across four bays on Lake Huron, two small islands, Big and Little Trout Lakes, and parts of two creeks.

Hiking Ross Coastal Plain Marsh Preserve, which offers a diverse landscape of forested back-dunes, wetlands, ponds, and rare coastal plain marshes. You can experience it all along more than five miles of trails where you’ll come across reptiles and amphibians around the coastal plain marshes and small ponds on the preserve. Keep a lookout for a red fox and coyote too. You’ll also come across what remains of the Ross family’s vacation house, which overlooks a small lake on the preserve.

Audio tours are available for several of TNC’s preserves, including the Helmut & Candis Stern Preserve and Carl A. Gerstacker Nature Preserve at Dudley Bay and Ross Coastal Plain Marsh, allowing outdoor lovers to learn as they go—or from afar.

The Nature Conservancy is a global conservation organization dedicated to conserving the lands and waters on which all life depends. Learn more online at nature.org/michigan.

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