Foraging For Roots
Oct
13
12:00 PM12:00

Foraging For Roots

Fall roots offer an abundance of food to the intrepid forager. This class will serve as a reminder that we only see half the plant and often the underside is just as useful as the top. This class will cover harvesting, preparation and the cooking of wild edible roots. 

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Fall Colors Walk
Oct
26
3:00 PM15:00

Fall Colors Walk

Join Sarah in the time honored tradition of “leaf-peeping.” Every fall the leaves put on a display that draws nearly every one to the woods. Sarah will guide us along a easy hike to enjoy the colors and give insights as to how the leaves REALLY get their color.

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Nut Processing
Nov
23
10:00 AM10:00

Nut Processing

Hickories and acorns in focus.  We will look at what constitutes a good nut for eating and storage, go through the different steps of processing acorns into delicious, nutritious flour, and make hickory milk.  Also discussed will be tools for that tough nut to crack, ideal storage conditions and in the end will partake in some delicious nutty refreshments that we create.  Feel free to bring walnuts, hazels, acorns, hickories, chestnuts or any nuts you have collected to process some of those too. Come experience what the forest critters have been so excited about all this time!

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Fire Building & Maintaining
Nov
30
2:30 PM14:30

Fire Building & Maintaining

The key to a good fire is when it lasts long into the wee hours of the night. Building and maintaining a fire that long takes care and attention to a few simple rules that add up to a delightful, easy to maintain flame. Whether in a campfire ring or  the basement wood stove nobody likes struggling for the warmth of a fire. This class will cover the creation and care of fire from the first sparks to its dying embers; touching on topics such as starting methods,  ideal woods, and how to make fire do what you want it to.

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Winter Tree Identification
Dec
7
10:00 AM10:00

Winter Tree Identification

Hackberries, red oak, white oak, ashes, elms, sassafras, cottonwood, big-tooth aspen, sugar maple, red maple, box-elder, ironwood, sweet cherry, dogwoods, tulip poplars and eastern red cedar. Trees are the bones of our landscape.  Each species has many unique characteristics of which their leaves are only one.  Come and learn to recognize some of our common arbor neighbors as we take a hike in the last days of fall.  Gain some skills to be able to greet the trees by name all winter long and learn about some of their qualities plus signs to help identify them.

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Guided Fall Stargazing
Sep
20
9:00 PM21:00

Guided Fall Stargazing

Look up!  The night sky changes a little bit each night throughout the year.  Come to explore some of the shapes and stories that adorn our sky and enrich our human history.  Sarah will point out constellations with a nifty green laser - taking some of the guesswork out of  learning your stars.  Here comes the Moose!

Please bring a flashlight, weather-appropriate clothing and blanket, chair, yoga mat or sleeping pad with you (to lay on)!  This will be a sitting/laying down event. After the class will be a bonfire, snacks and chance to enjoy the night.

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Fall Wildflowers
Sep
15
12:00 PM12:00

Fall Wildflowers

The leaves aren't the only beauties of fall to be enamored with, many flowers come in only as the evenings start to cool. Join Jeremy on this hike as the glory of asters and goldenrods herald  the changing of the seasons.  Come prepared with comfortable hiking shoes and dress for the weather.

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Primitive Fire
Aug
31
10:00 AM10:00

Primitive Fire

Feel like starting a fire isn't hard enough? Learn the secrets of primitive fire making as we dive hands first into the art of the bowdrill fire. This skill is not often practically useful but will give you a better appreciation for the ability of our ancestors and the qualities of the woods around you. Flint and steel fires will also be covered though not as in depth. Get ready to sweat as you feel the heat, from the bowdrill action if not your fire.

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Reawaken Your Senses Workshop
Aug
18
10:00 AM10:00

Reawaken Your Senses Workshop

This class is designed to help you become a better naturalist by increasing your awareness of the world around you through improved use of all your senses. We will immerse ourselves in the landscape and participate in various guided exercises and games to strengthen our powers of observation through seeing, hearing, smelling, tasting, touching, and various other senses such as balance, direction, temperature, etc...

This will be very “hands-on” and experiential, so come prepared to get off the beaten path and enter into close contact with the wild elements. Many of the techniques we will be practicing are inspired by the guide books of Tom Brown Jr. founder of the Tracker Survival School and John Young author of Coyotes Guide to Connecting with Nature.

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Butterflies of Michigan
Aug
3
10:00 AM10:00

Butterflies of Michigan

  • Watkins Lake State Park & County Preserve (map)
  • Google Calendar ICS

Butterflies fill our world with beauty. They also play an important role in the functioning of our ecosystems, and are significant indicators of environmental health at the local level. We will discuss the basics of butterfly biology then go for a hike to find and identify some of the species who make their home in the Irish Hills. Close focusing binoculars will help, but are not essential. Also many butterflies love wet meadows and fens, so come prepared to walk on water.

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Birding 101
Jul
20
10:00 AM10:00

Birding 101

Come learn the basics of getting to know our feathered friends. Throughout the course of a walk we will cover how and what  to observe when identifying and watching birds, what different kinds of bird calls mean and apply  this knowledge to identifying some of the birds we see as we are out and about. Wear sturdy shoes and bring binoculars and a field guide if you have them!

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Summer Wildflowers
Jul
6
10:00 AM10:00

Summer Wildflowers

Come out on these hot days with us and visit with some of the plants that are thriving right here, right now, exactly where they want to be. We will visit a few different ecosystems and make sure not to miss the beautiful floral displays of summer.

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Summer Stargazing
Jun
29
to Jun 30

Summer Stargazing

Look up! The night sky changes a little bit each night throughout the year. Come to explore some of the shapes and stories that adorn our sky and enrich our human history. Sarah will point out constellations with a nifty green laser - taking some of the guesswork out of learning your stars. It’s summer triangle time!

meet at:

11007 Mull Hwy

Tipton, MI 49287

There will be a 5 minute hike out to our stargazing destination (and fire pit). Please bring a flashlight, weather-appropriate clothing and blanket, yoga mat or sleeping pad with you (to lay on)! This will be a sitting/laying down event.

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Exploring Vernal Pools
Jun
1
10:00 AM10:00

Exploring Vernal Pools

Walking through a woods in spring you may come upon a seemingly insignificant puddle. Do not be deceived, however, these "Vernal Pools" as they are named play host to a significant number of species. From amphibians and birds to the otherworldly Fairy Shrimp, Vernal Pools are alive with the lives of often secretive creatures. Come out and explore how these temporary wetlands are critical to a forest's health, what threats there are to their continued existence and of course, what amazing creatures call them home. Be prepared for walking some distance to get to the pools and wear sturdy shoes

Meet at 11703 Noggles Rd, Manchester MI

sign-up here!

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Foraging for Spring Greens
May
25
10:00 AM10:00

Foraging for Spring Greens

We will go out to search and collect shoots and greens at their most tender and delicious stage.  Garlic mustard, honewort, violets, stinging nettles, wood sorrel, wild asparagus, milkweed shoots and dandelion greens are some of the plants that we may encounter, learn to identify and enjoy.

We will bring back what we collect and cook it up over an open fire for a light lunch.  

Folks are encouraged to bring a basket to collect into.

sign-up here

See you there!

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Spring Bird Migration
May
4
8:00 AM08:00

Spring Bird Migration

One of the most beautiful displays of spring is the passage of the bright and brilliant wood warblers on their flight to their breeding grounds in the north. Their dazzling array of colors is all around us for a few weeks in May, as they stop in for a snack to fuel up for the rest of their journey. Yet, as showy as they are they can be easy to miss if you don’t know where and when to find them. We will learn how to locate these special visitors and to become better observers through learning about their habitat, behavior, songs, as well identifying species through visual characteristics. Bring binoculars.

sign-up here

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Spring Ephemerals
Apr
27
10:00 AM10:00

Spring Ephemerals

Together we will search the forest floor and learn to identify these small yet significant seasonal blossoms. We will look into the reasons they make such a short appearance, attempt to understand their role in the ecosystem, and learn something about the habitats they prefer here in southern Michigan. The focus will be on flowers, but we will also explore some of the non floral spring ephemera such as frog song, sap flow, flooding and fiddle heads.

sign-up here

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Cordage Workshop
Apr
6
10:00 AM10:00

Cordage Workshop

Not much thought is given to lowly cordage or rope in how it has shaped our growth as humans. From the first fishing nets to the lines on ships cordage has taken us above and beyond our primitive origins. Take a step back in this workshop where we will be exploring the making of cordage from natural materials. Topics to be covered will include the I.D. of good cordage plants, ethical harvest practices and of course hands on practice making your very own cord. A short walk will be included to harvest some of our own materials The ability to make cordage is helpful to practicing other primitive skills and great for making your own bracelets and necklaces. See you there!

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Stargazing
Mar
23
8:00 PM20:00

Stargazing

Look up! The night sky changes a little bit each night throughout the year. Come to explore some of the shapes and stories that adorn our sky and enrich our human history. Sarah will point out constellations with a nifty green laser - taking some of the guesswork out of learning your stars. Wear warm clothes and welcome spring with us!

meet at:

11007 Mull Hwy

Tipton, MI 49287

There will be a 5 minute hike out to our stargazing destination (and fire pit). Please bring a flashlight with you!

photo courtesy of Trevor Jones www.astrobackyard.com

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