Restocking Isle Royale wolves raises questions about which species get rescued

By MARK NEUZIL & ERIC FREEDMAN
Capital News Service

LANSING — Isle Royale is one of the most remote U.S. national parks, stretching across one large island, its namesake, and more than 400 smaller ones in northwest Lake Superior. The park’s main draws are wilderness and wildlife, including beaver, otters, moose, martens and – for the moment – a very few wolves. This fall the National Park Service released four wolves captured from the mainland on Isle Royale. Once there were 50 wolves on the island, but inbreeding, climate change and disease all but wiped them out in the past decade. Meanwhile, moose – the wolves’ chief prey – are eating island greenery down to the nub, adversely affecting many other species.

Clean Plates at State weighs in on food waste

It’s dinner time at Case Hall on the Michigan State University campus. Students have endless options of food items at the nine on campus cafeterias. “I had the honey chicken with rice and brussel sprouts, mozzarella sticks and cantaloupe,” senior, Ellen Dipietro, said. “I ate it all”

Elizabeth Lytle, a department aid at the residential housing services on campus, doesn’t care what’s on the menu. She wants to know what’s on the plates after dinner.

Recording lures lovestruck birds to woods

By KALEY FECH
Capital News Service

LANSING — While Michigan’s efforts to restore a popular but endangered songbird succeeded by doubling its goal, nearby Wisconsin is experimenting with a new way of increasing its population. Every day the love song of a Kirtland’s warbler calls throughout the Bayfield County Forest in northwestern Wisconsin. But it isn’t coming from a bird. It’s a recording created to lure the endangered species to the forest. “We had a handful of birds on the landscape, but none of them was finding each other,” said Nick Anich a conservation biologist for the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources.

Starbucks’ new lid designed by 2011 MSU graduate

Starbucks recently joined a growing number of businesses nationwide looking to eliminate the need for straws. 2011 MSU graduate, Emily Hill, designed a new lid for the coffee giant that eliminates the necessity of the straw. It’s all apart of the nation wide campaign to reduce plastic waste. MSU School of Packaging Director Susan Selke was excited to see another former student accomplish great things after their time at MSU. “Oh it’s great to see that,” Selke said.

Watch Focal Point: Penalties that could come with tailgating, new Spartan innovations and more

On this week’s episode of Focal Point News, some things you may do while tailgating that could get you in trouble with the law. Also, a new church opened, but in an unusual location. Plus, an over 40-year-old service offered on campus is stopping for good. Homecoming is this week, we’ll take a look at some events that happened on campus and speak with the grand marshal of the parade. In sports, we recap the game against CMU and what to expect against Northwestern.

Land conservancies protect natural areas across Michigan

By NICK KIPPER
Capital News Service

LANSING — Thousands of acres of endless trees and undisturbed waters belong to one of Michigan’s best-kept secrets. The 26 land conservancies spread out in every region of the state protect natural land from development and give residents an escape into nature. Conservancies acquire land either donated by property owners or purchased through grants and fundraising efforts.   

Heart of the Lakes, a statewide organization that represents the majority of Michigan’s 26 land conservancies, found in its 2017 survey that their members control 638,317 acres. There has been no recent change in the number of conservancies throughout the state, but there has been a steady expansion of already established lands, increasing by at least 10,000 acres every year since 2013.

Are common species worthy of conservation?

What happens when saving the few – in this case, a small number of plants or animals in a species at high risk of extinction – may harm the many – here, members of more common species? That’s a real problem as conservation experts and public land agencies wrestle with how to allocate scarce funds for habitat protection. A new study by scientists from the Nature Conservancy’s Michigan chapter and three universities says tradeoffs are necessary, based on their research of about 35 species of native migratory fish – some extremely rare, some extremely common — in the 1,833 largest tributaries of the Great Lakes.