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County parks offer summer fun

Anonymous • Jul 21, 2015 at 11:37 AM

The Summer Interpretive Programs Series are naturalist-led walks, for adults and families, focus on a variety of topics and last about 90 minutes. The program will be canceled if raining. There are no program fees and advanced registration is not required. Bring insect repellent and dress for the weather.

A walk focused on Red-backed Salamanders is scheduled for 2 p.m. Saturday, July 7, at the Nature Education Center. This walk will cover the fascinating life history of the red-backed salamander and its importance to the woodland ecosystem.

At 9 a.m. Saturday, July 28, join mushroom expert Dennis Dunlap for a Summer Mushroom Hike. This walk will take place at Riley Trails to look for and identify a variety of fungi along the trails. Please, no collecting on this hike. Riley Trails is located in Park Township on Riley Street between 160th and 168th avenues. Meet in the parking lot.

A Grand River Park Hike will be at 10 a.m. Saturday, Aug. 4. This walk will take place at Grand River Park and features a hike through the floodplain forest, upland woods, wetlands, and the tall grass native grassland established in 2000. Meet near the picnic building. Grand River Park is located in Georgetown Township. From the intersection of Fillmore Street and 28th Avenue, travel north on 28th Avenue to the park entrance. Meet near the picnic building.

A Fern Identification Workshop is scheduled for 10 a.m. Saturday, July 14. This five-hour workshop is for adults wishing to learn how to identify native ferns and to learn about fern natural history. The workshop will begin at the Nature Education Center with an indoor program on how to use a simple key to identify common ferns. The group will then drive to a nearby park to observe and identify ferns along the trails. There is no fee for the workshop; however, a copy of Fern Finder by Hallowell is required for each person/couple. The $4.95 book may be purchased at the Nature Education Center the day of the workshop. Advanced registration is required. Transportation to the field trip site is via personal vehicles. Naturalist Chip Francke is the instructor.

There is still time to register for the remaining summer Pigeon River Kayak Trips. Trips for adults are scheduled on Thursday, July 5; Saturday, July 21; Wednesday, Aug. 8; and Saturday, Aug. 25. All trips begin at 10 a.m. and last about four hours. Each trip includes a lesson on the basics of kayaking. No prior kayaking experience is needed. The 3.5-mile paddle trips begin at Hemlock Crossing and end at Sheldon Landing. Return transportation to Hemlock Crossing is via carpool. The fee is $35 per person and includes a kayak, paddle and life jacket. There are also a limited number of spaces for those bringing their own kayak for $15 per person. Advance registration is required for everyone. A letter with trip details will be sent in advance to those registered.

The Shoreline Amateur Astronomical Association will continue to offer Summer Astronomy Sky Viewings on selected Fridays during the months of July and August (weather permitting) in the parking lot near the Nature Education Center. If the viewing is canceled due to weather on Friday, it will be rescheduled for Saturday. Telescopes will be provided or you may bring your own. Bring a lawn chair, binoculars (if you have them), and insect repellent. There are no program fees and advance registration is not required. Programs are for adults and older children and are scheduled for 9 p.m. July 13, 9 p.m. July 27, 8:30 p.m. Aug. 10, and 8:30 p.m. Aug. 24.

The Nature Education Center is located at Hemlock Crossing County Park in Port Sheldon Township. From U.S. 31, travel West of Croswell Street just over the railroad tracks to West Olive Road. Travel south on West Olive Road to Hemlock Crossing. The center is at the end of the park drive.

For a full schedule of summer programs, visit miottawa.org/parks and click on the newsletter icon on the home page. For information or to register for programs, please call 616-786-4847.

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