Thursday, April 16, 2009

A Weekend of Choices

It appears that this weekend is a great time to get out for some family fun. Here are just four things that are going on.

Woldumar Earth Day Celebration
Saturday, April 18, 10:00 a.m. - 4:00 p.m.

The celebration kicks off with trail grooming, tree planting, and other volunteer projects from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. Everyone is welcome to join the volunteer crew to help get our buildings and grounds in shape for the upcoming season. Anyone can join the party, just come the fun. Groups who are interested in volunteering together can call 517-322-0300.

Blacksmith demonstration.

Prairie Burn Seminar. Find out how Woldumar maintains the prairie habitat and promotes the diversity of plants and animals in it with a yearly prescribed burn. Susan Jones, a Woldumar Board Member and wetland specialist, will explain the process at 1:00 p.m. Admission fee $2/Woldumar members; $3/nonmembers.

Geocache Treasure Hunt. Go on a treasure hunt using a GPS. Pick up the first clue at the office in the visitor center at 2:00 p.m. If you don't have your own GPS unit, Woldumar will loan you one. All participants who finish the hunt and find the treasure will receive a prize. Admissin fee $3/members; $5/nonmembers.

Concessions will be available from 12 noon - 4:30 p.m. in the RE Olds Anderson Barn.


Small Animal Day Saturday, April 18th 9am to 1pm Admission: $2/person

This annual event is hosted by student organizations and clubs in the College of Agriculture and Natural Resources at MSU (NOT by the College of Veterinary Medicine). It is an opportunity to get outside on a spring day and visit the MSU farms and pavilion, and to see newborn animals up close.

Guests are to park at the southwest corner of Mt. Hope Rd and Farm Lane on the MSU campus. Be sure to dress for the weather. Bus transportation will be available to take guests to MSU farms and the MSU Pavilion, where they can see the facilities, meet MSU students, and see the animals, including newborn lambs, calves, foals, etc.

Arrive by 11 if you want to see all of the exhibits. The last bus leaves for the farms at noon.

Small Animals Day information, call: 517-355-9575, or 517-355-0234.


MSU Vet-aVisit Saturday, April 18th 9am-4pm FREE

HOW DO YOU MILK A COW? Give it a try, and learn fun facts about the diary industry, too!
THE STUFFED ANIMAL SURGERY CLINIC lets children and their favorite stuffed furry friends meet with student “doctors” who provide physical exams and treatments.
RUMEN CANULA…Smell, see and touch the inside of a live cow’s stomach!
THE OTS PETTING ZOO allows children and adults to get their hands on a menagerie of farm animals, sponsored by Omega Tau Sigma.
BLOOD DONATION IN PETS? Dogs and cats sometimes need a blood transfusion…Screening, preparing, and storing animal blood is complicated-but very interesting!
ENDOSCOPIC SURGERY…Gown-up like a surgeon and use cutting edge surgical techniques to fish for a treat!
WHAT IS A HEARTBEAT? Learn how blood travels through your body and listen to a real heartbeat!
ZEKE THE WONDER DOG…is making his debut Frisbee performance! Learn how to care for animal athletes and get your picture taken with him!
PROPER PET CARE, including the importance of spaying/neutering, vaccinations, dental work, ear care, and more…to keep your pet healthy!
WALK THROUGH A COW’S DIGESTIVE TRACT…and unravel the truth behind the myth that cows have four stomachs.
THESE AND MANY MORE!


EARTH DAY CELEBRATION
Sunday, April 19. Noon to 4pm. Free!
Join us for a day dedicated to recognizing the splendor of our natural environment, while also giving it a helping hand. Here are some planned events.
• Garlic Mustard workshop (12:30pm) and pulling (any time through the day).
• Guided birding and nature walks throughout the day.
• Visit with our live Michigan reptiles and amphibians. We will feed many of them in front of visitors throughout the day, and take some outside for mini-presentations if weather allows.
• Two showings of the 55-min video, On a Wing and a Prayer (1:30 & 3pm). This program is one of a PBS New Explorers series that originally aired in the late 90s. We are losing our tropical migrant songbirds at an unsettling rate. This program explains why, and what we can do about it. Fenner’s directors, Jim and Carol, assert that, whether you have a personal interest in birds or not, everyone should see this program.
• Incubating Bobwhite Quail eggs! An incubator will be set up in the observation room to begin incubation of the eggs. The Bobwhite is a southern quail. In the northern limits of its range, southern Michigan, populations have a difficult time becoming established because of harsh winter conditions. Most Bobwhite populations that exist in Michigan were established through release programs. When these birds are grown, they will be released on Fenner grounds this summer. We are going to try to time the hatching of the chicks near Mother’s Day!





Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Victory Video

Last year, the kids and I had the privilege of watching the birth of two calves. One, a heifer, we named Miley and a bull calf (Espn). We have enjoyed watching her grow, periodically checking in on how she is doing at the MSU Dairy Farm. Today my daughter and I decided to go visit Miley. While there we noticed a heifer was in labor. This time I took video and captured the miracle of life for your viewing pleasure.
The following video is approxiamately 9 minutes long and fully discloses the birth (it shows her parts and all that is happening, it contains blood and bodily fluids) The whole thing is amazing!
video
Here is the timeline-
9:30am- Valla is taken to the birthing stall
10:55am- Her water breaks, she then stands up and takes a break for about 30 minutes
11:30am- Active pushing...the front two hooves appear
11:40am Calf born- We named it Victory
11:41-12:15- Licked clean by Valla
12:15pm Calf taken to the warming house

If only it could be that simple for us humans. Speaking of humans, the gestation of cows is very close to ours at 9 months 10 days. And now you know.

I hope you watch and enjoy the video!

Saturday, April 11, 2009

Pond Wade

The boy and I went on a pond wade. Surrounded by Spring Peepers and searching for invertebrate life.
This video is our journey....Into a Vernal Pond.
video

Thursday, April 09, 2009

God's Glue- Laminin

A doctor wrote:

A couple of days ago I was running (I use that term very loosely) on my treadmill, watching a DVD sermon by Louie Giglio...and I was BLOWN AWAY! I want to share what I learned....but I fear not being able to convey it as well as I want. I will share anyway.

He (Louie) was talking about how inconceivably BIG our God is...how He spoke the universe into being...how He breathes stars out of His mouth that are huge raging balls of fire...etc. etc. Then He went on to speak of how this star-breathing, universe creating God ALSO knitted our human bodies together with amazing detail and wonder.

At this point I am LOVING it (fascinating from a medical standpoint, you know.) ....and I was remembering how I was constantly amazed during medical school as I learned more and more about God's handiwork. I remember so many times thinking....'How can ANYONE deny that a Creator did all of this???'

Louie went on to talk about how we can trust that the God who created all this, also has the power to hold it all together when things seem to be falling apart...how our loving Creator is also our sustainer. And then I lost my breath. And it wasn't because I was running my treadmill, either!!! It was because he started talking about laminin. I knew about laminin. Here is how Wikipedia describes them:

'Laminins are a family of proteins that are an integral part of the structural scaffolding of basement membranes in almost every animal tissue.' You see....laminins are what hold us together....LITERALLY. They are cell adhesion molecules.. They are what holds one cell of our bodies to the next cell... Without them, we would literally fall apart. And I knew all this already.. But what I didn't know is what laminin LOOKED LIKE. But now I do.

And I have thought about it a thousand times since (already)....

Here is what the structure of laminin looks like...AND THIS IS NOT a 'Christian portrayal' of it....if you look up laminin in any scientific/medical piece of literature, this is what you will see...

cid:05271F69F28B4BED8E9F3FDB6CF3DB83@DELL

Now tell me that our God is not the coolest!!!

Amazing.

The glue that holds us together...ALL of us...is in the shape of the cross..

Immediately, Colossians 1:15-17 comes to mind.

'He is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn over all creation.

For by him all things were created; things in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or powers or rulers or authorities, all things were created by him and for him. He is before all things, and in him all things HOLD TOGETHER. '

Colossians 1:15-17.

Call me crazy. I just think that is very, very, very cool.

Thousands of years before the world knew anything about laminin, Paul penned those words. And now we see that from a very LITERAL standpoint, we are held together....one cell to another....by the cross.

You would never in a quadrillion years convince me that is anything other than the mark of a Creator who knew EXACTLY what laminin 'glue' would look like long before Adam even breathed his first breath!!

"Faith is not knowing what the future holds, but knowing who holds the future."

I wanted you to know and to understand that YOU are being held together by the cross of Jesus Christ! His love! His forgiveness and His marvelous power!

-Author unknown


Amazing! If you want to watch the video he was watching of Louie, it is definitely worth 8 minutes of your time.

http://www.tangle.com/view_video.php?viewkey=152b5103d741aca61093

Tuesday, April 07, 2009

My Parent- Teacher Conference

So today I am sitting down with the kids teacher to see how the kids are doing. It should be fun talking to myself.

For the most part they play well with others. I have one, social child, that talks easily with others. One, quiet reserved, that is growing and making attempts to speak. I have one that excels in sports and one that excels in academics.

Never before have I been more keenly aware of the differences of boys and girls. Or how two children, raised in the same home can be so different. It is 100% absolutely true that each person is a unique individual, with likes, dislikes, strengths and weaknesses. My challenge right now is identifying these things in my kids. Encouraging them in those areas of interest. Strengthening their areas of weakness. Nurturing their God-Given gifts and abilities. Teaching them more than academic skills but life skills as well.

I am reading through a book right now Life Skills for Kids: Equipping Children for the Real World by Christine Field. While I feel academic pursuits are important, I do not want to be remiss and miss the everyday skills needed to function as an adult in this world.

So I guess at this parent-teacher conference I will be having later today, I guess we better discuss those things as well. :)

Saturday, April 04, 2009

FINAL FOUR

Being the MSU fans that we are we ventured out to the Breslin Center for the Final Four game.
The kids chose to decorate themselves for the game.
The boy wanted to go green and white...

While little girl went with GO MSU

The crowd to get in. The place was pretty much packed out.

Little girls shadow...I absolutely love the pig tails in this pic.

Free throw fingers...

and SWOOSH!

The energy at the Breslin was electric. The team was on fire...
Congrats MICHIGAN STATE!!! 82-73
Dance baby dance!

Fenner Wild Times Newsletter

Check it out, there are a lot of great opportunities.

THE FENNER
WILD TIMES
Number 2 APRIL 2009

From the Directors
We hear it every day. Visitors like what they are getting – a high quality experience, whether they stay for a few minutes or a few hours. There are other ways of knowing. Friends of Fenner Nature Center, our invaluable support group, is seeing a marked rise in new memberships. More dollars are showing up in the donation jar. The recent Maple Syrup Festival set a high-water attendance record.
What’s not to like? A staff person greets any one who walks through the doors, determines your specific interest in being there and sets out to help you achieve it. Maybe you are coming to check out the new, huge collection of live native Michigan reptiles and amphibians housed here. With over thirty combined species of snakes, turtles, frogs and salamanders, it is one of the largest in the state.
The aquariums are right out there on tables, much more accessible – and interactive. Are the turtles looking hungry? We’ll give you a handful of food sticks to drop to them. Feed a cricket to a frog or a salamander. Want to touch or hold one of the snakes? We’ll get one out. Have you ever had a “snake-on-astick?” Ask us. We’ll serve one up for you.
There is a downside to providing this kind of attention to everyone who walks through the door. The budget supplied by the city cannot provide for a “continuous presence” in the observation room. Very often, through the week or on the weekends, our limited staff is busy with a scheduled program, a phone call or other functional necessity. We need volunteers.
That’s where you come in. If you’d like to help us in any of the capacities listed above, we would like to recruit you to fill them. Optimally, through all of our open hours, we’d like to maintain this continuous presence, always on-hand to greet and orient visitors. Of course, there will be times, especially during the week, where no one walks through the doors for long periods of time. Bring a book, work on your laptop, or chat with a friend on your cell phone. It can be pretty cushy as far as volunteer work goes. Yet, you’d be providing a valuable service in the center’s overall operation.
Anyone, 16 or older is welcome: college students, homeschool parents (bring the kids!), retirees, or anyone else who can afford a couple of hours or more on any given day, except Monday (closed). Beginning this weekend, we will have a calendar available at the center. Fill out a volunteer form and fill in a day and time, or more, when you would like to cover as the “observation room greeter.” Please call, email, or drop in if you have any questions about it, then come on aboard! Help us make your nature center the best it can be!
-Jim & Carol McGrath

Be a Fenner ATF Agent (Alien Task Force, of course!)
There is a serious botanical, ecological problem currently spreading over much of the eastern U.S. It continues to spread in a cancerous fashion through lower Michigan, including the Lansing area, Fenner Nature Center, and, possibly, your own yard or neighborhood. The invasive, alien plant is a fast-growing biennial called garlic mustard. Although it was introduced from Europe with culinary (and medicinal) intent over a century ago, and while the leaves are high in iron and other nutrients, the American palate never embraced it. Unfortunately, plants that took root here profusely seeded, then spread, explosively so, over the past two decades. Another ecological nightmare has become entrenched.
Some alien plant species that exist in our current landscape - and there are a greenhouse-load of them - are less damaging to the ecology than others. Many of these have been accepted, and fed upon by various forms of insect or other animal life that is currently here, thus keeping their density relatively in check. On the flip-side, there are others like garlic mustard. Nothing eats the stuff! Walk through a patch of woods that has been carpeted with it and see how long it takes to find a single leaf that has had even a notch chewed in it. Add to this the second-year plant’s seed producing prowess – hundreds or even a thousand per plant – and the dilemma comes into stark focus. The plant’s leaves are heart-shaped with serrated edges. The first year plant is a rosette that remains close to the ground. The second-year plant grows from the root as a stalk that often peaks at three feet in height. It produces clusters of small, white, four-petaled flowers.
Garlic mustard grows most freely in soil that has relatively little other plant growth. It is also highly shade tolerant. This makes it a specific menace to our beloved native woodland wildflowers, many of them in states of decline already, like trillium, bloodroot, spring beauty, wild hepatica, wild ginger, wild geranium, jack-in-the-pulpit, and so many more. The stems of second-year plants begin to rise above the ground after the first week of April. They grow rapidly. Most are flowering by May. April and May are the best months to pull them. Since they tend to grow in loose soil, they come up by the root quite easily.
Fenner has many areas that are overrun with garlic mustard. We’d like to rally any and all who love Fenner, native wildflowers, working for an ecological cause, or just enjoying the outdoors with a purpose, to join us in a springtime all-out attack on these plant-diversity destroying alien invaders. We need manpower, womanpower, and even kidpower. Individuals, families, school classrooms, high school and college students, youth and adult clubs and
organizations, community service candidates and anyone we’ve missed can volunteer to pull plants on almost any schedule you arrange with us. Please consider attending one of our short information and orientation workshops and sign up as a Fenner ATF agent. Keep reading for more details.

LIVE AT FENNER: Six Swallows & a Swift
Sunday, April 5, 1:00pm.
$4/person. $2 for members, at the door.
All six of Michigan's swallows (and one swift!) return from the tropics throughout April. In this one-hour Powerpoint presentation by Fenner director Jim McGrath, learn how to tell these agile insect-devouring aerialists apart either in
flight or perched on a wire. Jim will also discuss each species' fascinating behavior and ecology as well as what you can do to make your yard or neighborhood more inviting to them. After the presentation, Jim will lead interested participants on an hour-long birding walk. Bring binoculars if you have them.

GARLIC MUSTARD WORKSHOPS & ORIENTATION
Attend any of these free 20-30 minute events in the visitor center to learn more about garlic mustard and how and where you or your group of “ATF agents” can pull it on the nature center grounds. Pull it by yourself, with your family, or with a small organized group (scouts, after-school kids activity, high school and college students, etc.). Your club or family can adopt an acre (or more, or less), or you can just come out to pull it on a trailside of your or our choice. If you can’t make one of the above meetings, stop in anyway. One of our staff will gladly deliver a quick, impromptu orientation and send you on your mission. Organized groups can contact us for a special orientation appointment.
We do request that anyone interested in pulling stop into the center to check in. It is Fenner’s policy to discourage walkers from leaving the trail in order to minimize disturbance, but, of course, as an ATF volunteer, you are granted special access in order to accomplish your task. We ask that you wear a tag while pulling off the trail to identify yourself and your intentions while you are working.
Workshops
Wednesday, April 15, 4:00pm.
Saturday, April 18, 9am. Our regular monthly “work day.”
Sunday, April 19, 12:30pm. Part of Fenner’s Earth Day event. See page 4.

TODDLER PATROL (ages 2-3 yrs with adult)
Mondays, April 13-May 11.
Enroll for either 9:00-10:00am or 10:30-11:30am.
Fee: $30 Lansing resident; $35 non-resident.
This spring, introduce your toddler to the wonders of nature. This hands-on program, led by naturalist aide, Francine Clark, is designed to enhance the natural curiosity of two and three-year-olds. Each week features activities with live animals, outdoor exploration and a story.

EARTH DAY CELEBRATION
Sunday, April 19. Noon to 4pm. Free!
Join us for a day dedicated to recognizing the splendor of our natural environment, while also giving it a helping hand. Here are some planned events.
• Garlic Mustard workshop (12:30pm) and pulling (any time through the day). See Page 2.
• Guided birding and nature walks throughout the day.
• Visit with our live Michigan reptiles and amphibians. We will feed many of them in front of visitors throughout the day, and take some outside for mini-presentations if weather allows.
• Two showings of the 55-min video, On a Wing and a Prayer (1:30 & 3pm). This program is one of a PBS New Explorers series that originally aired in the late 90s. We are losing our tropical migrant songbirds at an unsettling rate. This program explains why, and what we can do about it. Fenner’s directors, Jim and Carol, assert that, whether you have a personal interest in birds or not, everyone should see this program.
• Incubating Bobwhite Quail eggs! An incubator will be set up in the observation room to begin incubation of the eggs. The Bobwhite is a southern quail. In the northern limits of its range, southern Michigan, populations have a difficult time becoming established because of harsh winter conditions. Most Bobwhite populations that exist in Michigan were established through release programs. When these birds are grown, they will be released on Fenner grounds this summer. We are going to try to time the hatching of the chicks near Mother’s Day!

LIVE AT FENNER: Bird Nesting 101
Sunday, April 26, 1:00-2:00pm.
$4/person. $2 for members, at the door.
As we move into the heart of bird nesting season, what better time to learn more about it. Fenner director Jim McGrath will use Powerpoint images and audio recordings as he covers the nesting lives of birds, both inside and outside of your backyard.
Where do most birds nest? In a bush or a tree? The answer may surprise you. The more we learn about and understand the requirements each species needs to successfully reproduce, the better its chances of success. Find out what environmental factors are most damaging to bird nesting success and what you can do to help minimize their impact.
An hour-long birding walk with a nesting-season slant, follows the presentation.

FENNER NATURE CENTER 2020 E. Mount Hope Road Lansing, MI 48910
(517) 483-4224 fncdirectors@gmail.com

Thursday, April 02, 2009

Giving blood

Been thinking...
I was underweight, pregnant or nursing for most of my adult life which made me ineligible for giving blood. I am no longer underweight (ha!) pregnant (thank God) or nursing(kind of against nursing elementary aged children.) So I guess it is time I get off my butt and do it.


Updated: I just made my appointment. Anyone know how long to expect? Or if they allow children to watch?