By Lauren Captain
The Meridian Times Staff Reporter
One drive through Meridian Township and it is not hard to notice the barrier of woods and the character of the trees that surround the area.
During the winter, this wooded township hosts many events to the families of Okemos and Haslett. Each winter weekend through the months of January and February, they host “Family Winter Fun Weekends.” This is a time when lots of families come out to attend each event and stay connected in their township and roots of Michigan.
With families of all ages to experience this day with the outdoors of winter birds around, even people from outside the community of Meridian came to listen in on the bird calling.
Maci Laurel Robinson, 21, of East Lansing took the children she nannies for; Gwen, Sophia and Carson to this event as well.
“This is not the first family fun weekend I have taken Gwen, Sophia and Carson to throughout 2016. Even if I am not their immediate family, I like keeping them involved with their friends who also attend the weekend events,” Robinson says.
“I do not live in this township, but this is something I still enjoy coming to. I wish my hometown hosted events like this all winter long,” she said.
On Feb. 21, Harris Nature Center on Van Atta Road held a family special called “Birds of Winter” to contribute to the family social events for Meridian Township.
Allison Goodman, a naturalist at Harris Nature Center, presented the Birds of Winter event for families. Goodman knew a little bit about everything regarding parks and recreation.
“I went to Michigan State University and received a degree in parks and recreation and then ended up here at Harris Nature Center not to long ago,” Goodman says.
With Goodman being a specialist, this was easy for her to run the family special regarding winter birds that surround mid-Michigan each winter season.
“The birds that stay in the winter that occupy Meridian are cardinals, nuthatch, chickadees, robins, goldfinches, Morning doves and a few more,” Goodman talks about.
The presentation continued about the winter birds inside Harris Nature Center as families gathered and listened about species that occupy their yards on a daily basis. It is known that this winter has not been as cold like past winters, the birds will still stay here despite the frigid weather. If there is a good source of food, the birds will not leave, which made Feb. 21 a good time to experience and watch the birds.
A lot of the families who attended this event had many questions about the birds that lived around their houses. They were informed that they will notice these birds more often during this time because they are out looking for food and survival, especially robins and blue birds that usually wander south for the winter. But this season has not been cold enough for them to leave, which is why these birds have been noticed more often than other winter seasons.
Everyone who attended this special event was able to experience these birds halfway throughout Goodman’s presentation. Goodman led the families and friends out onto the paved path behind Harris Nature Center. She explained during the walk that Meridian does not have lots of new growths on trees, so the township is trying to make an effort to create the best environment for the birds despite these conditions.
The most prominent birds during the walk were robins and chickadees. They called their songbird noises for the families to hear. By the end of the walk, Goodman explained that the noises heard from the birds were their spring calls for new mates. After the long winter, the birds alert the community that spring is on its way.