Sunday, November 16, 2008

Fall Seed Party

Super Swampers gathered today for a fall seed party.

Cornbread: We took corn off the cob, ground it into cornmeal and made delicious corn bread.

Applesauce: We picked apples (the last of the season) from the Buhr Park orchard and made yummy applesauce - it was red!

Ironweed: we carefully plucked seeds from ironweed stalks to plant next year.

Milkweed storm: we took a bunch of milkweed seeds out of their pods and blew them around the room. It looked like snow.

Saturday, October 11, 2008

Super Swampers Gather Seeds

A group of Super Swampers met today to gather seeds. It was an incredible day to be out and even better for collecting seeds. Many dry days, low humidity and bright sunshine meant that seeds were flying off the plants into our buckets.

The best luck was with bee balm, milkweed (butterfly and common) indian grass and yellow coneflowers.

Sunday, September 28, 2008

Walkin Jim - a success!

Walkin Jim Stoltz delighted the crowd today at Allen School in Ann Arbor. The audience was balanced towards Allen School students and their families, but also included many who have been following Jim's career for years and years.

A highlight was a story like version of "Wild Things Need Wild Places" in which the audience (young and old) was seen dancing, scratching themselves and yes - howling.

Funds raised will benefit Allen School's Green School program.

Monday, September 15, 2008

Walkin Jim Concert - Sept 28, 2008 - 4:00 PM

Walkin’ Jim Stoltz Family Concert
Sunday, September 28, 4:00 p.m.,
Allen Elementary School
2560 Towner Blvd., Ann Arbor , MI
(North of Buhr Park , off Packard, at Easy Street)

Proceeds from this event will benefit the Allen School Pride Team's Green School effort. The Green Schools Program teaches students ecological responsibility by encouraging schools to institute recycling and energy savings programs, learn about alternative energy, become better stewards of natural areas, and support other environmental concerns.

WALKIN' JIM STOLTZ, one of America 's most unique folksingers and backcountry travelers will bring his fun multi-media show for children, Come Walk With Me, to town again this fall. Walkin’ Jim’s incredible photography, fun stories and catchy songs make this one-of-a-kind concert an inspiring journey into our natural world. He’s been a hit with elementary-school age children from coast to coast; older and younger kids enjoy him too.

Want to know more about Walkin’ Jim? Check out

Tickets for the concert will be available in advance and at the door. For advance tickets or more information, please contact Joan Brush at (preferred) or 734-973-9161, or Dale Petty at (preferred) or 734-971-5870.

Ticket prices are: Children (12 and under) $7, Adults $10, Families $25.

Sunday, September 14, 2008

Rain, rain and more rain

At about 9 PM last night there was a surface stream pouring into the upper basin of the west wet meadow. Most of this appeared to be coming from the roof of the skating rink and the downspout at the sw corner.

At 9 AM today (Sunday) there was no visible water anywhere. More rain is forecast for this afternoon, so maybe we'll get some photos.

Friday, September 12, 2008

new signs look spiffy

If you've walked by lately, I'm sure you have noticed the new signs.

Thanks to all who helped - Jeff Dehring, Harry Sheehan, Janice Das, and Jonathan Kittel.

(photo coming soon.)

Saturday, August 2, 2008

Big critters buzzing in the upper basin

If you've walked near the upper (north) basin of the west wet meadow, you've probably noticed some large flying critters. At first they seem like bees, but if you get a better look, you'll see it's a large black wasp with three stripes on the abdomen. It's the eastern cicada killer wasp.

While big, these wasps are not dangerous to people. The males have no stingers, and the females are not aggressive.

(photo from Prof. Chuck Holliday's Cicada Killer Page.)

These wasps breed near sandy areas. The females dig holes and bury cicada bugs for the young wasps to feed on underground. This leaves small mounds of sand you can see when walking by.

There are other web pages about these critters:

More photos and info at "What's That Bug"

and at Dr. Zachary Huang's Cyberbee site.

Sunday, July 20, 2008

Sunday, July 13, 2008

What's In Bloom?

Yellow Coneflower at Buhr Park Children's Wet Meadow
During a walk this morning we noticed these things in bloom:
  • Yellow Coneflower
  • Bee Balm
  • Tickfoil ?? looked a little like loostrife to me
  • Prairie Dock
  • Butterfly Milkweed

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Sunday, June 22, 2008

learning about native bees from the Internet

Here are some kid-friendly free materials on native bees and other pollinators.

5 Things Kids Can Do to Help Pollinators (a one-page b&w handout)

You might ant to consider building nests for native bees from plant stems or blocks of wood (2 pp. color)

Extension Bulletin E2985 Conserving Native Bees on Farmland (4 pp. color, with great photos of Michigan's native bees)

"Nature's Partners: Pollinators, Plants, and You" a curriculum for grades 3-6

Sunday, June 15, 2008

June 21 potluck picnic and pollinator program

On June 21, from 4 to 6 PM, we will have a picnic at the Wet Meadow area in Buhr Park. Please bring a dish to pass, your own tableware, and a blanket or lawn chairs. Hats and sunscreen are always a good idea.

We'll chat about butterflies, native bees, and other pollinators that are essential to the ecosystem. We'll look at photos and talk about how we can make our yards and gardens more friendly to pollinators. We'll also talk about how kids can be safe around bees and wasps.

We’ll build nest boxes from the hollow stems of native plants, and install nest boxes. We’ll talk about the importance of pollinators for the serviceberries, raspberries and elderberries growing nearby.

We'll see whats blooming in the wet meadows and look for butterflies and other visitors.

(This is a green bee visiting a spiderwort blossom.)

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

photo-voltaic and wind-powered turbine

The Buhr Park entrance on Packard Rd. is now illuminated by a photo-voltaic and wind-powered turbine. The device was designed by Mojtaba Navvab at the University of Michigan, and manufactured by Full Spectrum Solutions in Jackson, Mich.

You can read a newspaper article here:

Monday, May 19, 2008

Summer 2008 To Do List

As part of an annual meeting, we got together and did a quick tour of Wet Meadow II to admire the beauty and to see what might need to be done this summer.

Invasive Plant Removal
  • Remove Canadian thistle from SE corner of wm2 lower tier
    Thistle has a thick and prickly body and leaves. Best to pull it after a rain. Wear gloves.
  • Remove sweet clover - not widely distributed, but we need to stay on it.
    Also good to remove after a rain by pulling
  • Bindweed or wild morning glory - SE of WMII under walnut tree
    Keep plastic in place to smother it.
  • Pull buckthorn from Palace of Nature
    Anytime, but especially after a rain. The little seedlings will keep coming up, but they are easy to pull.
General Stuff
  • Path maintenance
    The new east to west path needs to be weeded and stomped from time to time.
  • Protect wafer ash w tree cage and sign at north end
    Two tree cages and signs
  • Sandbox sign
    Welcome sign and also remind people to play within the sandbox (and don't throw the rocks)
  • Weed and woodchip and plant north end of palace of nature
    Careful of the new redbuds coming up. Plant more wild strawberries and cinqfoil.
  • Build 7 Tree cages
    easy: 3 ft tall fence with 2x4 slots, 36 inch circumference (17-19 2" sections), 3 foot metal stake
  • Build a New path from kiosk to bench
Kiosk and Signs
  • Update signs in kiosk
  • Caulk kiosk
  • UV protection for kiosk

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

Summer gatherings at the wet meadow

We've scheduled three dates this summer to enjoy a potluck picnic near the wet meadows, see what's blooming and buzzing, and perhaps pull a few weeds.

Saturday June 21, 4-6 PM

Saturday July 19, 4-6 PM

Saturday August 16, 4-6 PM

All are welcome - please join us or stop by and say 'Hi'.

Wednesday, April 30, 2008

Sharing at the Earth Day celebration

Kids and other friends of the Wet Meadows turned out in large numbers at last Sunday's Earth Day Celebration.

They dressed up for the All-Species parade.

Also, Super Swampers demonstrated the storm water model (made from three paint trays) and talked to many kids and parents.

Sharing our info and enthusiasm has a long tradition.

Monday, April 14, 2008

Super Swampers Build a Path

The Super Swampers met today and worked on a new path going across Wet Meadow II. It was a little bit snowy at the beginning, but it got better and we all warmed up with the hard work.

Feel free to walk on the new path as much as you want.

12 people, 1.5 hours= 18 volunteer hours of work

Wednesday, April 2, 2008

Weather to burn - finally

The prescribed ecological burn at the Buhr Park Childrens' Wet Meadow on Wednesday, April 2 was a success.

Many families and adult spectators gathered to celebrate Spring and watch the burn.

Trained staff from the City of Ann Arbor Natural Area Preservation unit explained the purpose of the burn and safety considerations. They conducted the burn while the spectators oohed and aahed.

Sunday, March 16, 2008

Super Swampers, Global Warming and Observations

The Buhr Park Children's Wet Meadow Super Swampers met today to talk about the city of Ann Arbor mayors visit to the Blossom Eco Circle. They also took a stroll around the park to post signs and see what was happening at the wet meadows.

We compared our carbon footprint pie charts - they showed where the carbon we produce carbon comes from. And we talked about different things that we can do around our homes to reduce our carbon output.

We checked out Wet Meadow I. It still had water and slush in it. The winter melt that fills the wet meadow doesn't soak in to the frozen ground.

We also noticed that some small shrub seedlings at the north end of Wet Meadow II had been pummeled by sledders. They might not have noticed that the stakes and plastic guards were protecting small plants. Maybe we'll need to mark them more carefully and sturdily next time.

We also put up signs for the upcoming Wet Meadow Burn on March 26.

Wet Meadow I

The Wet Meadow still has some snowmelt.

Monday, March 3, 2008

Design Vindicated!

This afternoon's rainfall and snowmelt combined with frozen ground to yield large quantities of surface run off.

The three basins of WM II functioned exactly as designed - the swale behind the ice rink fed the upper (northernmost) basin.

When that filled, it overflowed through its spillway to the middle basin.

That one, in turn, filled and overflowed to the lower basin.

It's the most water I've seen since WM II was built in 2004.

Hats off to Jane Kleiner, the designer, Chris Mueller who excavated the basins and built the spillways stone by stone, the teens who helped plan, and everyone who helped.

Monday, February 18, 2008

Wet Meadow Full of Water

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A day later, the rain and warm temperatures change the snow in Buhr Park to fine deluge. Note the ducks in this photo.

Winter thaws cause the largest buildup of water in the wet meadows, since the ground is frozen. It takes much longer for the water to disappear.
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Sunday, February 17, 2008

Wet Meadow Full of Snow

A day of sledding near Wet Meadow I. A beautiful sunny day, but the forecast was for a thaw.

Saturday, February 2, 2008

February 2, 2008 - Superswampers Seed Collecting

Today we collected seeds for Yousef's project on the south slope of Wet Meadow. If you didn't know, Yousef is working to make the front of WM II thicker with native plants. He is also trying to get the turf grass out. He is also a busy guy in many other ways.

We collected these seeds:
  • Bee Balm
  • Indian Grass
  • Yellow Coneflower
  • Black Eyed Susan
It was very cold and you could get tired really easy because there were so many seeds. It wasn't so cold, and we weren't too tired because Luke and Clare did a little sledding.

After collecting seeds we had hot chocolate, corn puffs and cider.

We also talke about the upcoming burn and global warming. When thinking about global warming, Fiona (who was very late indeed) rememberd seeing a video online about a man who powers his washing machine with a pedal power.

We also noticed that utility trucks were driving in the swale on the east side of Buhr Park. Jeannine chased them out this morning. Go Jeannine! We hope you get well soon.