MSU junior creates clothing to reduce waste

Does a garment have to be just a garment or a platform for multiple garments? For Timosha Krivtsov, a junior in the department of Apparel and Textile Design, the answer is the latter. After discovering that the fashion industry is the second most polluting industry, Krivtsov embarked on a journey to create a new recipe for clothing, one that would reduce fabric waste and harm the environment less. He found that a lot of the same silhouettes are used recurrently. “For instance, a hoodie and a crew-neck are essentially the same thing, but a crew-neck just doesn’t have a kangaroo pocket and a hood,” he said.

Harris Nature Center puts focus on educating the community

The sound of leaves crunching under your feet, the Red Cedar River flowing right beside you and birds chirping: The sounds and sights of nature are an experience, the Harris Nature Center staff is hoping all visitors can have. “Basically the biggest thing is, that we like people to understand that a nature center is not just the building it’s like the entire park is the nature center that’s where you’re going to have your experience,” said Kit Rich, coordinator of the nature center.  “We want you to come into the building say hello and see what we have in here, but then get outside, kind of create your own experiences.”

The center is tucked away in the woods lining Van Atta Road and is just off the bank of the Red Cedar. First opening its doors in 1997, the center has proclaimed itself as a place for recreation and education. “The nature center means a lot to us,” said Liza Potts, an associate professor at Michigan State who frequents the park.

Two species – one to preserve, one to control – challenge dam removal

By IAN WENDROW
Capital News Service
LANSING — A proposed dam removal along the Grand River faces significant delays due to its potential to disrupt river ecosystems. The environmental risks involve the fate of two species: sea lamprey and snuffbox mussels. One needs to be kept out while the other needs to be protected. The Sixth Street Dam in downtown Grand Rapids was installed in the mid-1800s to help ship milled logs downstream by controlling the water’s height and flow. It drowned the river’s naturally occurring rapids, allowing logs to float over them. Eventually log transportation no longer relied on the river, but the dam remained.

Lawmakers want citizen oversight of environmental decisions

By LAINA STEBBINS
Capital News Service
LANSING — Bills introduced by House and Senate Democrats would establish citizen oversight commissions to restore a layer of accountability in environmental enforcement – commissions which have not existed in Michigan for a quarter-century. The boards would allow public input and oversight over the Department of Environmental Quality’s air quality, water quality and oil and gas operations throughout the state. Rep. Sheldon Neeley, D-Flint, the House sponsor of one bill, said high-quality oversight like this is necessary to ensure that incidents like the Flint water crisis will not happen anywhere else in the state. “We had multiple failures in the state department, which had been tasked with making sure things were safe for residents,” said Neeley in regards to Flint. “Moving forward, I think if we put these commissions back into place, we won’t see another [crisis like] Flint,” said Neeley.

Tough choice: Fight insect invaders or protect pollinators

By IAN WENDROW
Capital News Service
LANSING — Neonicotinoids, a class of insecticides frequently used in agriculture, get plenty of bad press for killing pollinators like honeybees. But they’ve also emerged as an important combatant of the emerald ash borer, an invasive insect that has devastated ash populations all over the United States with the highest risk in the Midwest and the northern half of the Eastern seaboard. For pollinator protectors in Michigan, that’s a problem. With the recent designation of the rusty patched bumble bee as endangered by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service – the first time any bee species in the U.S. has landed on such a list — the race for effective conservation tactics has accelerated. That includes proposed bans on neonicotinoids for personal and professional application.

State gets “fair” rating — or worse — in environmental survey

By MARIE ORTTENBURGER
Capital News Service
LANSING — The Michigan public is dissatisfied with state government’s handling of environmental issues. That’s what the latest State of the State Survey finds. The telephone survey of more than 1,000 Michigan residents explored how they feel state and local government officials are doing on the environment and asked them to rate officials as “excellent,” “good,” “fair” or “poor.”
State government is responsible for regulating air and water quality, parks, hunting and fishing, wildlife, land development and alternative energy, among other environmental  topics. The largest group of residents surveyed (42 percent) rated Gov. Rick Snyder as “poor” in carrying out environmental responsibilities, and 32 percent rated him “fair.” Only 2 percent gave him an excellent rating for his efforts on environmental matters. State agencies and the Legislature generally received “fair” ratings for their roles in environmental regulation.

Can cormorants help control Great Lakes invaders?

By ERIC FREEDMAN
Capital News Service
LANSING — Double-crested cormorants are the bane of many Great Lakes anglers, devouring prize game fish and damaging the sport and commercial fishery. At least that’s a widely held belief about these birds — and a generally wrong one, Northern Illinois University researchers say. Cormorants’ fish-stealing rep may be a bum rap — and the truth is more complex, as the first dietary study of cormorants in southern Lake Michigan shows. Even better news: The cormorants are chowing down instead on invasive species — mainly alewife, round goby and white perch — which together accounted for 80 to 90 percent of their diet. “Because this is the first such study to be completed in southern Lake Michigan, its results will help to inform discussion among local stakeholders and will provide valuable data to other researchers studying cormorant diet in the region,” said lead author Patrick Madura, who led the study as a master’s student.

Private land finds home in Qualified Forest Program

By DAVID POULSON
Capital News Service
LANSING — A state program that more than tripled the private land managed for forestry in just three years earns unusual praise from both forest products producers and environmentalists. If there is one thing the two groups agree on, it’s that both of their preferred uses “are better than subdivisions,” said Marvin Roberson, a forest ecologist with the Michigan chapter of the Sierra Club. “If you got 160 acres and your only choice is to sell to a subdivision because you can’t afford the taxes, this keeps it in forested land.”
The Qualified Forest Program gives tax breaks to landowners who agree to manage their forests under a plan developed by a state-certified forester. The plans help them harvest their land sustainably, but they also can consider how to better provide for wildlife or keep invasive species from overtaking the land. Industry officials agree it’s been a success.