Today (Saturday), there will be an event called Things with Wings, in which participants can learn about what kinds of winged creatures inhabit the Ottawa County park at 8115 West Olive Road in West Olive. The meadow by the Nature Center is home to a number of flying bugs.
“It’s an opportunity for kids to get out and use nets to catch insects to investigate the different ways they fly,” said Curtis Dykstra, a park naturalist with Hemlock Crossing. “The focus is on insects like dragonflies and butterflies.”
The meadow has some wetlands and flowers that attracts these kinds of bugs.
From 1-2 p.m., kids can catch some of the insects in the area and discover how they fly. Things with Wings is geared toward children ages 8-12, but younger kids can attend with adult supervision.
“That’s the age right when their curiosity and ability is peaking,” Dykstra said.
Bug-catching supplies and containers will be provided. Registration is not required, and the walk will be on easy terrain.
On Sunday, July 2, Hemlock Crossing will host a Prairie Wildflower Walk. At this event, participants will head out into the meadow and see an array of native wildflowers that bloom in the summer.
“They change seasonally,” Dykstra said. ”(The meadow) looks different every time you visit it.”
There are a number of flowers that people attending the event can expect to see, including foxglove, false indigo, St. John’s wort, black-eyed Susans and milkweed. Dykstra said the local insect life is particularly interested in the milkweed.
“Butterfly weed is another milkweed species,” he said. “It’s such a pretty orange flower. It’s a showstopper that people like to see, and it provides for the monarchs.”
This time of year, there is a lot to explore in the meadow.
“The peak time is really about now, as far as diversity in the flowers,” Dykstra said. At the end of June and at the beginning of July, many of the summer flowers are in bloom. “Now is the perfect time,” he said.
The Prairie Wildflower Walk will run 3-4 p.m., and registration is not required. The hike will be on easy terrain. Dykstra suggested that people joining the walk should be prepared for the weather.
“It’s a sunny place, so bring sunglasses, a hat and some sunscreen,” he said.