03-19-2020 Outdoors; Ric Seager, Watervliet Schools Superintendent was the guest speaker at a recent

A spot frequently passed by naturalists on the nature center grounds exposed a cecropia moth cocoon last week. The cecropia moth is the largest moth in North America, and the fact that we did not see this 4-inch cocoon after months of passing the same dogwood tree, is a triumph of its stealthiness. The cryptic cocoon was made in the fall by the larva, or caterpillar, after feeding for months on host plant trees such as beeches, elms, maples, poplars, or dogwoods. Cecropias are silk moths and use their self-produced silk to create their papery, tough, brown cocoon, characteristically attached to a twig on one side. Sometimes, leaves or twigs may even be incorporated into its structure. The caterpillar must beware ichneumon wasps, among other predators. The wasp will parasitize the caterpillar while it spins its cocoon and actually lay its eggs inside of the caterpillar. If the caterpillar is not parasitized, the double-layer cocoon protects the caterpillar, which changes into a pupa, and then in May or June, the 5-7 inch adults emerge and fly. Sarett Nature Center building will be closed until further notice due to COVID-19 concerns. During this time, all programming previously scheduled will be canceled. However, if you need some fresh air, our trails will remain open, free of charge, and currently feature a Storybook Hike for families. Please check our website and social media for any updates.


In accordance with Gov. Gretchen Whitmer and the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services’ recommendations designed to help prevent the spread of Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19), the Michigan Department of Natural Resources (DNR) announced a series of closures for several state-managed facilities. The following facilities will be closed to the public March 14-April 13. These are closed-door facilities that draw large numbers (over 100) of people during the day: The Outdoor Adventure Center, Anna Scripps Whitcomb Conservatory and Belle Isle Aquarium (Detroit); Michigan History Museum and Archives of Michigan (Lansing); Michigan Iron Industry Museum (Negaunee); DNR visitor centers at state parks, and the Oden and Wolf Lake state fish hatchery interpretive centers. The DNR will consult with Michigan’s State Emergency Operations Center for the latest on COVID-19 in Michigan to determine if additional events and programs need to be canceled or postponed. Before traveling, please check Michigan.gov/DNRCalendar for updates. For current and up-to-date information regarding the coronavirus, visit Michigan.gov/Coronavirus or CDC.gov/Coronavirus. Fishing The DNR reminds anglers that pike and walleye season on the Upper Peninsula Great Lakes, the St. Marys River and U.P. inland waters as well as all Lower Peninsula inland waters closed at midnight March 15. The season is open all year on the Lower Peninsula Great Lakes, Lake St. Clair, the St. Clair River and the Detroit River. Musky season on all the Great Lakes and inland waters as well as the St. Marys River also closed March 15. In the southwest Lower Peninsula, as the ice comes off the lakes, pike move into shallow areas to spawn. Walleye will begin moving farther up into the rivers for spawning as well. River fishing is in full swing for steelhead. The Grand, Kalamazoo and St. Joseph rivers are producing good numbers using spawn under a bobber, drifting spawn or plugging. Coho salmon are moving earlier than normal. Fishing has been good, and some fish have made it all the way up to South Haven, Holland and Port Sheldon. At New Buffalo the coho fishing has been good for pier anglers using spawn. The Galien River continues to produce a few coho near the mouth. The St. Joseph River steelhead activity is heating up. All the fish ladders have been cleared of debris, and the camera at Berrien Springs is up and running. Hunting The 2019 Consumers Energy-sponsored Wetland Wonders Challenge was drawn. The seven winners are Geoffrey Erwin of Columbiaville, Jeff Keibler of St. Clair, Bob Ruth of Saginaw, Joel Sweezea of Grand Blanc, Jared Tippett of Flushing, James Wendt of Chesterfield and John Zecklin of Grand Junction. To have been entered in the drawing, participants had to hunt at three or more of the seven southern Michigan Wetland Wonders. Each winner will receive prize packages worth approximately $750, including a Zink custom duck call, a $500 Cabela’s gift card and a “Golden Ticket” good for one non-reserved first-choice pick at a managed waterfowl hunt area for the 2020-2021 season. Michigan black bears soon will be rising from hibernation and searching for a replenishing meal. In order to help local communities avoid potential conflicts with bears, the DNR recommends that residents consider taking down bird feeders and removing any food sources that might attract wildlife. Despite the abundance of natural food sources available in the springtime, bears prefer bird feeds and suet because of their high fat content and easy accessibility. When bears discover a birdfeeder filled with a calorie-rich meal, they won’t soon forget and could become repeat visitors. Anyone who has removed a bird feeder and is still experiencing bear problems two to three weeks later is encouraged to contact the nearest DNR office and speak with the local staff for assistance. To learn more about Michigan’s black bear and how to be “bare smart”, visit Michigan.gov/Bear. Slip into summer planning with harbor reservations. It’s easy to understand why Michigan is known as the Great Lakes State. Michigan not only boasts the longest U.S. freshwater coastline, but it is home to 82 state-sponsored harbors and endless fishing opportunities. Planning a day or overnight trip is easy. Residents and visitors can bookmark the DNR’s Boating the Great Lakes page for easy access to the digital harbor guide, including harbor locations, amenities, reservation info and more. Additionally, there is an online map that shows which harbors take online reservations and which ones accept reservations by calling the harbor directly. Please note that watercraft, unless exempt, must be registered with the Michigan Secretary of State. Registrations expire March 31 in the third year of issuance.

Ric Seager, Watervliet Schools Superintendent was the guest speaker at a recent Paw Paw Lake Rotary Club

Ric Seager, Superintendent of Watervliet Public Schools (WPS) gave an overview of the state of the Watervliet School District to the Paw Paw Lake Rotary Club on Wednesday, Feb. 26.

Annual Tree and Shrub Seedling Fundraiser

The Berrien Conservation District would like to announce that orders are being accepted for their Annual Tree and Shrub spring fundraiser sale. A variety of bare root seedlings of evergreens, deciduous trees, shrubs, and fruit trees are being offered along with strawberry and raspberry plants. Rain barrels and composters are also available. Orders may be placed on-line at www.berriencd.org or, order forms may be obtained from the office at 3334 Edgewood Road in Berrien Springs, printed from the website, or you may request one to be mailed by calling 269-471-9111 ext. 3. Orders are due by April 10. Quantities are limited.

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