From March Madness to April showers, the signs of spring have been making their arrival in Michigan these past few weeks. You’ve probably also noticed a few more bird songs accompanying those first rays of morning light. Bird enthusiasts such as Harris Nature Center bird naturalist Clare Bratton have been venturing out more and more lately, binoculars at the ready.
All sorts of migratory birds that winter in the southern United States are returning to their northern breeding grounds. Many birds that live in Canada and Alaska are passing through Michigan. Bird watchers are keeping a close eye out for one particular subspecies whose numbers have plummeted over a period of decades.
Pandas, with their distinctive markings and decidedly cuddly appearance, are an international symbol for conservation. But because wild pandas are incredibly elusive, little research has been done on their behaviors in the wild. For a long time, the Chinese government outlawed using radio collars to track pandas. Now, a team of MSU researchers are among the first to be allowed to use GPS to track wild pandas in China, and they found out some surprising things about these elusive creatures.
For decades, first time visitors to the Natural Resources building on the MSU campus have been startled by the guard keeping watch by the north doors. Standing nine feet tall and weighing 300 pounds, a huge polar bear stands frozen in time, in a menacing pose. Polar bears have been on the Endangered Species list since 2008, and though long dead, the MSU bear is once again in danger. The bear was killed in Barrow, Alaska in 1957. It’s showing some wear and needs to be repaired soon.
Madelyn Armstrong (left) and Chloe Hypes are among a group of students from Stockbridge High School who spent 24 hours in a submersible chamber in Key Largo, Florida. They spoke with students back in Stockbridge via Skype.
Back in October, we told you on this program about a team of students at Stockbridge High School in rural Ingham County who build robots. The Stockbridge students build underwater robots that search for downed World War Two aircraft in the South Pacific. Now, some of the kids are off on another expedition where it’s considerably warmer than it is here.
If you discovered a new species that no one had ever seen before, what would you name it? For most of us, that’s a hypothetical question. But not for Dr. Pam Rasmussen, an assistant professor in the department of Integrative Biology at MSU, and assistant curator at the MSU Museum. She has named and described nine species of birds that were new to science and was part of a team that recently described a new bird species in Indonesia.
We often presents stories of Michigan history, and this is one of our state's oldest. Before the existence of life on our planet, geologic forces were working to form the stuff of our world, the very earth beneath our feet. It's the passion of Lake Gitchee Gumee Museum of Agate and History director Karen Brzys.
About a decade ago, Lake Huron’s fishing game was not very abundant because of a steep decline in overall fish numbers. To see how the lake is doing now, Current State’s Melissa Benmark spoke with David Fielder, Fisheries Research Biologist for the Department of Natural Resources and a doctoral student at Michigan State University.
May is an important month for birdwatchers. "Birdwatching in our Parks" is a series of walks presented by Meridian Township Parks and the Capitol Area Audobon Society. The final walk of the season takes place Sunday at 8 a.m. at the Davis Foster Preserve on North Van Atta Road.
During the month of May, a different type of hunter takes to the Michigan woods. Their prey is now low-lying honeycomb shaped fungi, morels. The woodlands mushroom is highly coveted by chefs and known for its unique taste. Current State spoke with Phil Tedeschi, President of the Michigan Mushroom Hunters Club and Ruth Johnston, author of the book "The Art of Cooking Morels".
With more daylight and the end of school, lots of kids will have the opportunity to play outdoors more in the coming weeks and months if they choose to. Outdoors time has decreased drastically for children. A new MSU study indicates that there are benefits to outdoor free play besides the physical exercise.
There are many expecting parents around Mid-Michigan, but few will produce offspring as rare as Eckert and Viper’s. The peregrine falcons are waiting for three little ones to hatch, after nesting at the Lansing Board of Water and Light’s Eckert electric generating plant.
From now through early June, some volunteers will be standing guard over the Black River in Northern Michigan. They’ll be on the banks of the river making sure that the lake sturgeon, a rare and threatened species in the state, are able to leave their homes in Black Lake and successfully spawn in the Black River. Why do the fish need guarding?
Since 2006, a deadly bat fungus called white nose syndrome has spread its way throughout the eastern U.S. and Canada, decimating bat populations. This April, the Michigan Department of Natural Resources confirmed that the disease has been detected in Michigan.
Here in mid-Michigan we’re finally starting to see signs of spring after the long winter. Current State’s Melissa Benmark has been enjoying the humor, and hopefulness, of a spring ritual she’s been witnessing in her back yard.
As you drive west from Ionia, Michigan, you’ll come to the little town of Saranac. Its streets are lined with a bountiful number of large old maple trees. And this time of year, it’s not uncommon to see many of them with pails and spouts attached to collect sap for maple syrup.
Last year, Janet Moreland became a legend in the world of kayaking. She became the first woman ever to solo paddle what’s called "Source to Sea," the full length of Missouri River-Mississippi River system, from Brower’s Spring, Montana to the Gulf of Mexico. The 38-hundred mile journey took almost eight months to complete.
A long hike or bike ride on a warm Michigan spring day may seem like a long way off right now. However, plans are in the works to build a new trail line in mid-Michigan north of Lansing. Bids could go out as soon as next month to build a 42-mile trail on the site of an abandoned rail line from Owosso to Ionia. The project is part of a much larger plan that would create a sweeping 125-mile trail that would loop through parts of five counties.
The Great Lakes State celebrates our beautiful outdoors, and outdoor activities year-round. Current State's Peter Whorf checked in late last week at Meridian Township’s Harris Nature Center to find out about upcoming events.
The Puerto Rican crested toad is endangered. At Lansing’s Potter Park Zoo, officials are involved in a project to help save the toad from extinction. The Puerto Rican crested toad is a native species of toad that cannot be found anywhere else.
With the start of Michigan’s sometimes eternal-seeming winter, many of us may be taking refuge in seed catalogs or planning for next summer’s gardens. There's something else you might see in an increasing number of yards: hives of bees.
8 pm Wed., Nov. 13 on WKAR TV | From the wilds of Costa Rica to the suburbs of our own country, NATURE explores the difficulties of raising parrots, why some breeders and owners become rescuers, and conservation efforts in the wild.
Former state representative Mark Meadows has been thinking about hiking the Appalachian Trail for decades. This summer, he did it … well, about half of its 2,200 miles.
Meadows started his south to north hike in Georgia in March, expecting warmer weather than the sub-freezing overnight lows he encountered during the first week. He stopped for the season after about 100 days, in Maryland, with his son by his side for part of the time. He hopes to complete the rest of the hike next year.