Wildlife Blog

Get Outdoors this Spring with Citizen Science!

Bird surveys are a common and enjoyable way to contribute to citizen science. Photo courtesy of Lafarge.

By Colleen Beaty, Conservation Writer, Wildlife Habitat Council  |  April 17, 2015  |   Now that it’s finally spring and things are warming up and beginning to grow, it’s a great time to get your employees and your local community engaged in outdoors activities as part of your corporate conservation program. One great way to do this is by participating in a citizen science project. Citizen science is scientific research conducted, in whole or in part, by non-scientific professionals. Citizen science projects are designed to be user-friendly for amateurs, and typically involve training to ensure everyone participating is comfortable with [more…]

The Soil is Alive!

The eastern mole (Scalopus aquaticus) is just one of many species that lives in the soil ecosystem.  Source: National Science Foundation.

By Colleen Beaty, Conservation Writer, Wildlife Habitat Council  | April 15, 2015  |   This is the second in a series of blog posts about soil. We often think of soil as nothing more than “the dirt beneath your feet,” but soil is much more complex than that. There’s a whole other world of living creatures beneath our feet! Soils provide habitat for a rich, dynamic ecosystem for organisms ranging from microscopic bacteria and protozoa, to fungi and plant roots, to insects, worms, mites, and other invertebrates, and even subterranean vertebrates like moles. Most soil organisms live in the top few inches of [more…]

Pheasants Forever’s Youth Pollinator Habitat Program Aims to Help the Birds, Bees and Butterflies

Photo courtesy of Pheasants Forever.

By Drew Larsen, Habitat Education Specialist, Pheasants Forever, Inc. and Quail Forever |  March 26, 2015  |   WHAT IS THE YOUTH POLLINATOR HABITAT PROGRAM? Pheasants Forever (PF) and Quail Forever’s  (QF) Youth Pollinator Habitat Program provides support to over 750 grassroots chapters and their partners across the country to engage youth groups, families and communities in establishing pollinator habitat projects. The program’s objectives are to increase awareness about declining pollinator populations, educate the general public on the importance of habitat for pollinators and establish quality pollinator habitat across the country. The program will provide tools for chapters and their partners to work [more…]

2015 Huron to Erie Habitat Celebration

Photo courtesy of General Motors Company.

The Wildlife Habitat Council’s regional Huron to Erie Habitat Celebration is coming up June 4, 2015. This year, attendees will have a chance to explore the 2014 Seedling Corporate Habitat of the Year at General Motors Company’s  GM Milford Proving Ground. The event will honor the achievements of 16 corporate wildlife and education teams from 4 organizations in southeast Michigan and southwest Ontario. Of these, two will receive special recognition as the Seedling Habitat and the Regional Corporate Habitat of the year.  Participants will include corporate habitat volunteers, other executives, conservation professionals, and community leaders. The day will include engaging presentations [more…]

Reports of Reptiles and Amphibians Help Shape Michigan Management Strategies

Photo courtesy of DTE Energy.

By Mary Bohling, Michigan State University Extension, Sea Grant Program; and David Mifsud, Herpetological Resource and Management, LLC |  March 23, 2015  |   The Michigan Herp Atlas Program is seeking assistance from people who observe reptiles and amphibians (collectively known as herpetofauna) in their natural habitats across Michigan. According to Program Administrator David Mifsud, volunteer observations are critical to the success of the project. More than 60% of Michigan’s amphibians and reptiles are listed by the Michigan Department of Natural Resources as Species of Greatest Conservation Need. These imperiled species are important indicators of the quality of our natural resources and [more…]

Citizen Science Programs: Volunteer Your Time and Gain Valuable Skills

Wildlife at Belle River PP

By Heather Esper, ENVIRON International Corporation |  March 23, 2015  |   “Citizen science” is scientific research using data collected by a large number of non-professional observers. These programs provide the opportunity for the young and the old, experienced and inexperienced, to connect with nature, observe wildlife, and provide valuable information to scientists. The success of citizen science depends on participants from many communities helping with projects and data submission. Participation in these programs can also provide valuable training, such as in identification of plants and wildlife or in monitoring methodology. Most citizen science programs simply ask participants to observe wildlife or [more…]

Spring Tip: Melting Snow Reveals Potential Rain Gardens

GM Det-Hamt Rain Garden Photo 2 Aug 2011

By Tonya Hunter, ECT Inc. |  March 23, 2015  |   The approach of warmer weather and the melting of winter’s snow provide a unique opportunity to determine a potential location for a rain garden. Those low areas of the lawn that tend to hold onto the snow and stay wet the longest are ideal places to plant some water-loving native plants. Rain gardens are a low-maintenance and fairly inexpensive way to slow storm water runoff and reduce the amount of pollutants that would otherwise end up in our streams, rivers and lakes. Observe your property during a rain event (or snow [more…]

2015 is the International Year of Soils


By Colleen Beaty, Conservation Writer, Wildlife Habitat Council  |  February 23, 2015  |   The United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) has declared 2015 as the International Year of Soils. The International Year of Soils is intended to raise awareness and promote the sustainable use of soils. Soil consists of a mixture of inorganic material (sand, silt, and/or clay), decomposed organic material (humus), living organisms (bacteria, fungi, worms, moles, etc.), water, and air. Healthy soils are a vital component of the world’s ecosystems and agricultural production. They also play a significant role in carbon sequestration. Unfortunately their importance and [more…]

Another Record Year for Snowy Owls

Snowy_Owl_-_Schnee-Eule, CC Thumbnail

By Colleen Beaty, Conservation Writer, Wildlife Habitat Council  |  January 29, 2015  |   Last winter, the Northeast and Upper Midwest U.S. were treated to sightings of a bird species rarely seen so far south—the snowy owl (Bubo scandiacus). Snowy owls breeding in northern Quebec experienced a record nesting season the previous summer, believed to be linked to a boom of their prey, arctic lemmings. So when it came time for the young owls to disperse in early 2014, many of them (mostly males) had to disperse further south than normal to find food. There was even a snowy owl [more…]

Celebrate World Wetlands Day on February 2

Photo courtesy of Pepco Holdings, Inc.

By Colleen Beaty, Conservation Writer, Wildlife Habitat Council  |  January 22, 2015  |   February 2 of each year is World Wetlands Day, which marks the date that the Convention on Wetlands (also known informally as the Ramsar Convention) was signed in 1971. World Wetlands Day provides private and public entities alike with the opportunity to raise awareness about the importance and value of wetlands. The theme for World Wetlands Day 2015 is “Wetlands for our Future.” Wetlands provide vital habitat to a number of species, including (but certainly not limited to) waterfowl, wading birds, frogs and salamanders, aquatic invertebrates, [more…]