Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Mary Beth Doyle Nature Preserve

The Mary Beth Doyle Nature Preserve is in southeast Ann Arbor, Michigan, USA.

For Mapquest or similar program enter the street address: 2870 Packard Road, 48104.

In Topozone.com, enter lat/long as 42.2431 north 83.7073 west.

In Google Earth, enter as "42.2431 -83.7073" (Be sure to include the negative sign, or you'll end up viewing far north-west China.)

Here's an aerial photo from at least 4 years ago. This was before the condos were built on Cardinal Ave., along the northwest boundary.

Monday, April 21, 2008

insects and milkweeds

Prof. Mark Hunter gave a fascinating presentation on "The Natural and Un-Natural History of Milkweeds: Insects, Toxins and Other Stories" at the combined meeting of the Michigan Botanical Club - Huron Valley Chapter and Wild Ones - Ann Arbor Chapter on Monday, April 21, at Matthei Botanical Gardens, 7:45 PM.

Many insects use milkweed blossoms. Native bees and wasps, butterflies and moths all feast on the nutritious nectar.

You may be aware that Monarch butterflies depend on milkweed as a larval host. That is, the adults lay eggs on milkweed leaves, and when the eggs hatch, caterpillars eat the leaves.

There's a nice overview on the Monarch Watch site.

Monarchs have evolved a way to deal with the specialized chemicals that milkweeds produce, and may use it to reduce the effects of a parasite (Ophryocystis elektroscirrha).

Many other species have evolved tolerance, including a specialized food chain of aphids, crab spiders, and pampilid wasps. Here's a milkweed beetle.

Tuesday, April 8, 2008

Ecological burn Tuesday afternoon April 8 2008

Natural Area Preservation conducted a prescribed ecological burn on Tuesday April 8 at Doyle Park in southeast Ann Arbor.

The overcast skies and slightly damp conditions caused more smoke than usual. The burn extended through about 70% of the woods.

Prescribed burns play an important role in setting back non-native species.

Sorry, we have no photos this year.

Thursday, April 3, 2008

Scouts are great helpers

Scouts have played a significant role in the ongoing efforts to improve the Mary Beth Doyle Nature Preserve.

Girl Scouts from the Huron Valley Council have helped to build trails.

Two eagle scout projects are noteworthy:
Austin Quinn Riker and Troop 7 built a footbridge between about halfway between the Verle entrance and the pedestrian bridge that crosses I-94. The bridge is on the north side of the paved sidewalk, and crosses a fairly-deep drainage ditch. They finished this in 2004.

Allen Eyler built a wooden walkway just south of the pedestrian bridge that crosses Malletts Creek in late spring 2005. This crosses an intermittent stream just inside the woods - the trail continues southward at this point.