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Posted May 28, 2016

From the Quill of Matthew Hackett

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The ways we are connected to nature.

Through History:

We live in Oakland County. Surveyors in 1816-17 reported this area had “good oak land.” Thanks to the Twelve Oaks Mall, we can remember how many species of oaks are found in the Great Lakes State. (Yes it is 12 species.) We travel Maple Rd. (how many letters?). There are 7 native maple trees in Michigan. Three known for their color: Silver, red, and black. One with compound leaves we call box elder (aka Manitoba Maple—gotta love those Canadians); striped maple, moosewood and sugar maple round out the native maples. Hazel Park, MI was once known for the hazelnut trees found there.

native maples Link

Michigan has 83 counties, and depending on what you include, (some make small trees shrubs, and others make big shrubs into trees) there can be 83 species of trees in Michigan. At the Troy Historic Village, we haven’t room for 83 trees, and some of those 83 grow best in da U.P. (eh?).

83 Counties and if —if— and it’s a BIG IF—one includes all of the Great Lakes Basin—count 83 species of mammals. (It is closer to 70 mammal species actually in the state.) At THV we see evidence here of cottontail rabbits, white-tailed deer, raccoons, opossum, white-footed mice, house mice, skunks, woodchucks, and the occasional bat. There are 9 insect-eating bats possible in Michigan. Historically, bears and wolves were part of the local fauna—200 years ago. The last bear hunt in Troy Township was in 1829.

There are 9 insect-eating bats Link

 

What we see ourselves:

Recently the butterflies are making a showing. The giant swallowtail is Michigan’s largest. When they are looking for a host plant Zanthoxylum americanum is the preferred host-plant for the giant swallowtail. Some know this small tree as northern prickly-ash. It is not an “ash” in any sense . . . so it will not be bothered (killed) by the emerald ash borer which has killed MILLIONS of ash trees. You should know another name is the pioneer or common name” toothache tree”.

In May of 2016, our nesting crows are stalking the grounds—gleaning for bit of food to feed their nestlings. You might spot the nest above the east parking lot in the tree nearest the Main (brick) Building—Old Township Hall. Finally—if you have a moment for beetles—check out the eyed-elater. We had one here last year.

eyed-elater Link

 

Leave here knowing :

1. How many counties are there in MI?

2. What mammals might you see in suburban southeast MI?

3. You will see neat bugs this year!

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