Our network

Urban Wildlife

My Town: Goats on the loose at Eastmanville Bayou

My Town: Goats on the loose at Eastmanville Bayou

OTTAWA COUNTY, Mich—Visitors to Eastmanville Bayou will encounter the county’s new set of four-legged landscapers.

The Ottawa County Parks and Recreation Department says a herd of grazing goats has been released at the bayou to begin its work reducing invasive species.  Visitors are welcome to watch the goats at work, but should remain clear of the electric fence surrounding them and not pet the goats.  Plant oils from the poison ivy and other invasive plants the goats are munching on could be on the goats’ coats, making them transferrable to humans.

The goats are also being used at Bur Oak Landing in Coopersville and Riverside Park in Grand Haven. 

My Town: Four-legged landscapers coming to Ottawa County parks

My Town: Four-legged landscapers coming to Ottawa County parks

COOPERSVILLE, Mich.--  Three Ottawa County parks will welcome some four-legged landscapers next month.

The Ottawa County Parks Department is bringing in goats to combat invasive plant species.  The goats will be released at Bur Oak Landing in Coopersville, Eastmanville Bayou in Allendale and Riverside Park in Grand Haven in May.  Parks officials say eating plants instead of grain is healthier for goats, and the animals like to eat graze on woody, shrub-like plants including poison ivy, which is in abundance at the parks. The Ottawa County Parks Department says repeated use of grazing goats has been shown to eliminate 90 percent of invasive, woody plants over three years.

Date set for 2014 Berlin Fair

Date set for 2014 Berlin Fair

MARNE, Mich.—The date is set for the annual Berlin Fair.

This year’s event will run from June 16-21.  The Berlin Fair has been showcasing community agriculture and crafts since 1855. The fair also features carnival rides and live entertainment. Previous years have included dog agility competitions and horse shows.

For more information about reserving a booth or becoming a fair vendor, email info@berlinfair.org.

Top state official helps Ottawa County mark milestone

Top state official helps Ottawa County mark milestone

COOPERSVILLE, Mich.—The Director of the Michigan Department of Agriculture and Rural Development visited West Michigan earlier this month as Ottawa County  celebrated the 75th anniversary of the Eastmanville Farm Park.

As part of the event, roughly 150 people were treated to a picnic of food grown exclusively in Ottawa County.  Visitors also explored the historical park and listened to an address by MDARD Director Jamie Clover Adams.   A bus tour also took visitors to four farms verified by the Agricultural Environmental Assurance Program, including Bowerman Blueberries, H&H Turkey, Sietsema Farms and Countryside Greenhouse.

A Fun Silly Dance Party with Mo Williams Tonight!

A Fun Silly Dance Party with Mo Williams Tonight!

March 25th at 6:30pm - Let's Celebrate Mo Williams. Follow this link to register

We trade our Urban Wildlife for a rare sighting -- The elusive badger

We trade our Urban Wildlife for a rare sighting -- The elusive badger

Meet Bella, Bucky and Barry:

We leave the urban wildlife in Forest Hills and head to our cabin in Wisconsin.  In Michigan, you would call our cabin a cottage.  In Wisconsin, they are known as cabins.  Anyway I digress - our cabin is on 10 hilly acres of grassland in the bluff country of southern Wisconsin. 

Wisconsin is known as the dairy state, but the “state animal” is not a cow.  It’s the badger.  Yes, Wisconsinites have seen Bucky the Badger, the University of Wisconsin’s mascot.  But very few of them have ever seen a real badger.  Our property in Wisconsin was invaded by three badgers last year!!!!

The first sign of a badger invasion:

The first sign of the badger invasion was the yard, which was dug up.  Badgers prefer to live in open grasslands, fields and pastures.  My husband mows about four acres of our property and lets the rest of the grasses grow wild.

A break from urban wildlife for a day at the beach

A break from urban wildlife for a day at the beach

LAKE MICHIGAN -  Even a dog has to take a break from all the excitement of his backyard kingdom.  On this sunny summer day, George, my husband, and I head to the beach.  Our friends, Nancy and Don, own a cottage on Lake Michigan, and they have invited the three of us to spend the day at the beach.

This is George’s first visit to Lake Michigan.  The waves were a little intimidating at first.  He would sniff the water, but he would not allow himself to get wet.  He wouldn’t even dip his paw into the water to check it out.  Then something caught his eye.  George noticed the beautiful white birds walking along the water’s edge.  He tried to get close to these interesting critters, but they would simply fly off.

Silly me, I thought seagulls only lived by the ocean, and then I moved to Michigan and discovered the Big Lake is home to a thriving population of seagulls.  I have since learned that seagulls or gulls will live al