John Rodwan, the environmental director of the Nottawaseppi Band of Huron Potawatomi, stands among the wild rice seed growth on the tribe’s reservation in Kalamazoo County

Tribes fight long odds to restore wild rice, their history

WILD RICE: Tribes across the state, including the Nottawaseppi Band of Huron Potawatomi in Kalamazoo County and the Bay Mills Indian Community in the U.P. are restoring beds of wild rice, a historically tribal staple grain once common in Michigan but wiped out by development. We talk to tribal experts and the author of a book on wild rice. Sponsors of a proposal to designate it as the official state grain include legislators from Traverse City, Ann Arbor, Lansing, Wyoming, Marquette, Detroit and Hamtramck. By Ashley Zhou. FOR BAY MILLS, MICHIGAN FARM NEWS, TRAVERSE CITY, SAULT STE. MARIE, PETOSKEY, MARQUETTE, HARBOR SPRINGS, STURGIS, IRON MOUNTAIN, THREE RIVERS AND ALL POINTS.

Montgomery County Council Recognizes Parks and Recreation Month 

Montgomery County council members Andrew Friedson and Gabe Albornoz began the June 11 meeting with a proclamation acknowledging the work that parks and recreation have accomplished this year. 

“I circle this date on the calendar every year because it’s an opportunity for us to acknowledge the incredibly dedicated and professional staff of both departments, ” said council member-at-large Albornoz. 

Council vice president Friedson said the recognition has taken new meaning during and after the pandemic. “We have relied on our parks and on our recreation department to provide wellness, community, and health needs,” said Friedson. 

Directors from both Montgomery County Parks and Department of Recreation chose employees in the organization and highlighted the work that they provide for them. 

Every two years, residents fill out a survey of the services in the county that they appreciate and like the most. Both departments come out in the top three each time the survey is done. 

“This is kind of the Super Bowl season, the summer season for our friends at the recreation center,” said Friedson. 

Albornoz talked about how staff members were at the Germantown Fourth of July event until 2 a.m. making sure people got home safely and got to their cars. 

The recreation department shared a video detailing the work that its employees provide for Montgomery County residents. 

“Our team works extremely hard and is relatively a small team, we have about 2,500 seasonal workers from lifeguards, out of school time, to senior programs you name it they do it, ” said Robin Riley, who serves as the director of recreation for Montgomery County Recreation. 

Members of Montgomery County Department of Recreation. Photo By Liz Thomas

Members of the recreation department who were acknowledged worked in different sectors such as high school, elementary, seniors and camp directors. 

“They are the fuel in our engine and the grease on our wheels,” said Riley. 

Montgomery County Recreation has many programs to offer for residents to participate in. 

Montgomery County Park Director Michael F. Riley said the eight year plan that was developed called “The Big Three.” This plan focuses on developing a world class public athletic field at parks and schools, destination trail network and park activation that focuses on bringing community members of diverse backgrounds together. 

“Historically we have built beautiful parks with beautiful facilities,” said Riley. Montgomery County Parks has over 420 parks across 37,220 acres,102 campsites, 136 picnic areas and 276 playgrounds.

Power outages plague Oakland County residents

For West Bloomfield resident Khalid Turaani, every time a big storm comes to town, he is usually one of the thousands of Michiganders who lose power. 

Turaani has had to improvise on numerous occasions during these outages, having to borrow a generator from a friend in order for his two freezers of food not to go bad. Turaani even said that there was a time where his family was relying on the fireplace for heat for two or three days back when over 1.3 million Michigan residents lost power in February. Turaani said he understands that there are circumstances in which nobody but Mother Nature is to blame for these outages but said his biggest issue when the power goes out is the lack of accurate time estimations from power companies like DTE Energy and Consumers Energy. “I know those guys are working as hard as they can, or I assume that they are,” said Turaani. “But they just don’t give you any kind of estimation of any kind, which is probably more frustrating than losing the power.”

​​There have been 1.3 million more power outages between the months of February and June this year compared to 2022 according to the Michigan Public Service Commision.

Aluminum cans and bottles are pressed into bricks of recyclable material, waiting to be shipped and formed into new beverage containers.

Michigan’s bottle law under scrutiny

BOTTLE LAW: – A temporary ban on returning bottles and cans for deposits early in the pandemic may have caused long-lasting changes to the recycling habits of state residents. Michigan’s return rate on bottles and cans, which stood at nearly 89% before the pandemic, has plummeted below 76%. That’s worrying environmentalists and businesses, including recycling companies that rely on a steady stream of aluminum and glass. And it’s fueled a renewed debate about whether the state’s once-revered bottle bill is due for an update. We talk to the Schupan Recycling, Michigan Environmental Council and the Department of Environment, Great Lakes and Energy. By Ashley Zhou. FOR GRAND RAPIDS BUSINESS AND ALL POINTS.

18 aquatic pathways between the Great Lakes and Mississippi River basins

Bubbles, electricity, designed to deter invasive carp from Lake Michigan

INVASIVE CARP: A coalition of organizations is developing an innovative engineering project south of Chicago to block invasive carp from reaching Lake Michigan. The $1.146 billion project, paid for by Michigan, Illinois and the federal government is meant to help prevent catastrophic damage to the $7 billion Great Lakes fishery and prevent untold disruption to the $15 billion boating industry. There’s also concern about grass carp in Lake Erie. We hear from U-M, the Army Corps of Engineers and Ohio DNR. By Vladislava Sukhanovskya. FOR MONROE, ALPENA, ALCONA, ST. IGNACE, MARQUETTE, BAY MILLS, DETROIT, IRON RIVER, CHEBOYGAN, PETOSKEY, HARBOR SPRINGS, MANISTEE, LUDINGTON, HOLLAND, BENZIE COUNTY, CHEBOYGAN, OCEANA COUNTY, TRAVERSE CITY, LEELANAU, PLANET DETROIT, SAULT STE. MARIE AND ALL POINTS.

The U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service classifies the eastern massasauga rattlesnake as a threatened species.

What do Michigan rattlers chow down?

RATTLESNAKES MENU: What’s on the menu today? Yummy! If you’re an eastern massasauga rattlesnake in the Lower Peninsula, the main course is likely to be small mammals like meadow voles and masked shrews, with an occasional side order of bird and snake, according to a Grand Valley State team that did field research in Montmorency, Crawford, Lenawee, St. Joseph, Oakland, Manistee, Barry, Kalamazoo and Alcona counties and on Bois Blanc Island in Lake Huron east of Mackinac Island. By Eric Freedman. FOR BLISSFIELD, MANISTEE, MONTMORENCY, ALCONA, STURGIS, THREE RIVERS, CRAWFORD COUNTY, DETROIT, MONROE, LUDINGTON, ALPENA, CHEBOYGAN, SAULT STE. MARIE AND ALL POINTS.

4-H Butterfly Garden on the MSU campus.

Nature can nurture: Gardens help heal students

NATURE CAN NURTURE: Tucked away in the center of Michigan State’s campus is the nation’s oldest university botanical garden – and a site of the emerging practice of horticulture therapy. The 150-year-old Beal Botanical Garden is a “healing space” where “pretty much everything we do is horticulture therapy.” By Anna Lionas. FOR ALL POINTS.

Children take turns falling off the edge of the pool with Mia Dodd’s support, teaching them how to safely enter the pool

Free swim lessons part of larger effort to reduce drownings

FREE SWIM LESSONS: Free swimming lessons for children in Southeast Michigan are part of a larger effort to reduce drownings in the Great Lakes. There have been 15 so far this year and 1,170 since 2010. Inconsistent red flag warnings such as those at state and local beaches on Lake Michigan also confuse swimmers about whether water conditions are unsafe. We talk with the founders of the Great Lakes Surf Rescue Project, a swim instructor, a DNR expert and a woman whose grandchildren are taking lessons in Howell. By Ashley Zhou. FOR DETROIT, FOWLERVILLE, HOLLAND, PLANET DETROIT, WKTV, MANISTEE, OCEANA COUNTY, BENZIE COUNTY, LEELANAU, TRAVERSE CITY, PETOSKEY, HARBOR SPRINGS, CHEBOYGAN, LUDINGTON AND ALL POINTS.

John Hartig, the retired director of the U.S.-Canada Detroit River International Wildlife Refuge, North America’s only international refuge

GREAT LAKES CHAMPS

GREAT LAKES CHAMPS: A new book by the former head of the U.S.-Canada Detroit River International Wildlife Refuge highlights the importance of grassroots environmental activists in fighting pollution in the Great Lakes region, including contaminated hotspots in the Detroit River, River Raisin, Rouge River and Muskegon Lake. By Jada Vasser. FOR PLANET DETROIT, DETROIT, WKTV, MONROE, ADRIAN, BLISSFIELD, HOLLAND, OCEANA, LUDINGTON AND ALL POINTS.

Pollinator fans take a break from lawn mowing

NO MOW MAY: Communities around Michigan will suspend enforcement of grass and weed codes in May in an effort to give bees and other pollinators a chance to thrive. Michigan cities promoting “No Mow May” this year include Ann Arbor, Ferndale, Royal Oak, Jackson and East Lansing. We talk to a No Mow May enthusiast in Muskegon Heights, the Rochester Hills-based Wildflower Association of Michigan and the West Michigan Environmental Action Council. By Morgan Womack. FOR DETROIT, LANSING CITY PULSE, FARM NEWS, PLANET DETROIT, WKTV, HOLLAND, LUDINGTON, IONIA, GREENVILLE AND ALL POINTS.