Letters 11-23-2015

Cheering From Petoskey While red-eyed rats boil fanatically up from the ancient sewers of Paris to feast on pools of French blood, at the G20 meeting the farcical pied piper of 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue thrusts a bony finger at the president of the Russian Federation and yells: “liberté, égalité, fraternité, Clinton, Kerry--Obamaism!”

The Other Mothers And Fathers Regarding the very nice recent article on “The First Lady of Yoga,” I have taken many classes with Sandy Carden, and I consider her to be a great teacher. However, I feel the article is remiss to not even give acknowledgement to other very important yoga influences in northern Michigan...

Drop The Blue Angels The last time I went to the National Cherry Festival, I picked the wrong day. The Blue Angels were forcing everyone to duck and cover from the earsplitting cacophony overhead...

Real Advice For The Sick In the Nov. 16 article “Flu Fighters,” author Kristi Kates fails to mention the most basic tool in our arsenal during Influenza season... the flu vaccine! I understand you might be afraid of being the victim of Jenny McCarthyism, but the science is there...

Keeping Traverse City in the Dark Our environment is our greatest asset. It sustains our lives; it drives our economy. We ignore it at our peril. Northern Michigan Environmental Action Council (NMEAC) has submitted letters of concern to both the city commission and planning commission regarding the proposed 9-story buildings on Pine Street. We have requested an independent environmental assessment with clear answers before a land use permit is granted...

All About Them Another cartoon by Jen Sorensen that brings out the truth! Most of her cartoons are too slanted in a Socialist manner, but when she gets it correct, she hits the nail on the target! “Arizona is the first state to put a 12-month lifetime limit on welfare benefits.” That quote is in the opening panel... 

Unfair To County Employees It appears that the commissioners of Grand Traverse County will seek to remedy a shortfall in the 2016 budget by instituting cuts in expenditures, the most notable the reduction of contributions to various insurance benefits in place for county employees. As one example, the county’s contributions to health insurance premiums will decrease from ten to six percent in 2016. What this means, of course, is that if a county employee wishes to maintain coverage at the current level next year, the employee will have to come up with the difference...

Up, Not Out I would like to congratulate the Traverse City Planning Commission on their decision to approve the River West development. Traverse City will either grow up or grow out. For countless reasons, up is better than out. Or do we enjoy such things as traffic congestion and replacing wooded hillsides with hideous spectacles like the one behind Tom’s West Bay. At least that one is on the edge of town as opposed to in the formerly beautiful rolling meadows of Acme Township...

Lessons In Winning War I am saddened to hear the response of so many of legislators tasked with keeping our country safe. I listen and wonder if they know what “winning” this kind of conflict requires or even means? Did we win in Korea? Did we win in Vietnam? Are we winning in Afghanistan? How is Israel winning against the Palestinians? Will they “take out” Hezbollah...

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The Boardman River Nature Center

Erin Crowell - April 19th, 2010
Wild Times in the City : The Boardman River Nature Center
By Erin Crowell
Before the Boardman River Nature Center opened its doors two years ago, there wasn’t an education facility dedicated to conservation efforts in the Grand Traverse region.
“It’s kind of shocking for this kind of community,” says Colleen Masterson-Bzdok, education director of the Boardman Center.
Located on Cass Road, just south of Traverse City in the Boardman River Valley, the center opened in 2008 as the gateway to seven miles of trails running through 500 acres of forest, fields, marshes and wildlife habitat along the river. In addition to being the starting point for a trail system along the Boardman River, the center has provoked a positive response from the community with the multitude of programs and events. It is also at the center of activity with the Grand Traverse Conservation District.

The motto of the nature center is “Nature is Calling,” and visitors both young and old can find a way to answer. With programs geared to preschools up through adults, the nature center’s goal is to get everyone involved.
“This has allowed us to reach the whole community, especially children,” says Masterson-Bzdok. “Kids are much more disconnected from nature. The things they actually do outside like soccer and baseball and soccer are structured activities. There’s not a lot of free play and they’re allowed to do that here – to explore nature.”
Every Tuesday, preschoolers and their guardians are invited to participate in Peepers – the program with seasonal nature themes, from 10-11:30am. Families of all ages can enjoy weekend programs like All About Owls, held Saturday, April 24, from 1-2pm. Most programs have a recommended donation of $5, unless otherwise noted.
Other eco-conscious organizations have used the nature center to present programs, including the Grand Traverse Audubon Club and the Grand Traverse Hiking Club. On Thursday, April 22, the Audubon Club presents a program on wind power, from 7-9pm for teens and adults. On Tuesday, April 20, from 7-9pm, listen to the story of Ray Raehl’s and Roger Landfair’s journey through Bhutan by bicycle, presented by the Hiking Club.
“Generally we expect anywhere from 10 to 20 people at a program,” says Jon Prins, outreach specialist with the center. “At our spring break nature program, we got over 300.”

While educational programs remain at the heart of the center, residents can put that knowledge to work. Conservation programs such as the Land Management Service and the Native Plant Rescue Program have maintained trails, uprooted invasive species, and restored eroding stream banks.
In 2009, the Land Management Services team maintained 24.5 miles of trails on 3,000+ acres in eight parklands, according to the Conservation District’s Annual Report. Over 4,500 plants were rescued from areas booked to be bulldozed.
The nature center also hosts an annual seedling sale, offering a variety of native plants, with close to 8,000 white pine seedlings to be donated to area schools. With financial support from Traverse City Light & Power, the seedling sale is one of the major fundraisers for the Conservation District.
The center relies on grants, contracts and donations to support its operations – an expense close to $706,000. Last year, education programs accounted for $11,000, contributing to the $642,000 that helped cover 2009’s operating expenses.
Masterson-Bzdok says the community plays a big role in supporting the center financially. “We know it’s difficult to spend money on extracurricular activities, and so we try to keep program fees low,” she says.

The Boardman River Nature Center is located at 1450 Cass Road in Traverse City. Hours are Tuesday-Saturday, 10 a.m.-4p.m. For more information on programs, visit www.natureiscalling.org or call 941-0960.

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