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05-07-2020 Outdoors

In honor of Mother’s Day, Nature Notebook is highlighting a dedicated mother in the animal kingdom – the wolf spider. Wolf spiders are one of the most common and widespread families of spider, with over 200 species in North America. When it’s time to lay eggs, many species of spiders attach their egg sac to a plant or structure and abandon it. Others will protect the egg sac from predators. Wolf spiders go above and beyond to protect their young and ensure survival by actually carrying them around! This allows the female to hunt for insects and move around to regulate the egg sac temperature while protecting her babies. To accomplish this she spins a large round egg sac, attaches it to her spinnerets, and drags it around after her until the spiderlings hatch, usually about 20 to 100. Once hatched, the spiderlings climb onto the mother’s back and stay with her for about two weeks before wandering off. If they fall off her back while moving around, they climb back on and hang on to the setae, or bristle like structures covering the spider. Wolf spiders are 1/8 to 1-3/8 inch and can be recognized by their unusual arrangement of eyes. They have two larger forward facing ones with the other smaller ones arranged so the spiders can see well in all directions. Don’t worry about getting close to these spiders. They are docile and want to avoid people.

The Nature Center building will be closed until further notice. The trails will remain open and free during this time. Online donations are being accepted at

Fishing The combination of Mother Nature being kind and the easing of boating restrictions that had been imposed because of COVID-19, encouraged anglers to get out and do some fishing. Ellinee Bait & Tackle on Big Paw Paw Lake by Coloma reported good numbers of anglers were out on the local inland lakes and doing well. Several limits of bluegill were being talked about and plenty of nice crappie was taken out of both Big and Little Paw Paw Lakes. Some nice walleye have been taken out of Little Paw Paw Lake on minnows. Other inland lakes are producing nice catches also. Anglers fishing off the docks that don’t have access to a boat have been using crawlers and wax worms to catch what they can, and the bite seems to be good all over. Captain Kenny Bard of Rampage Fishing Charters said the boat anglers that can get out on Lake Michigan have been catching salmon and some lake trout with spoons. The fish are being caught in 60 to 80 feet of water at 20 to 55 feet down. Because the water has been whipped around, fishing off the pier is very slow as the water is pretty dirty. No sign of perch yet but it’s a little early. Because of the dirty water in the rivers also, fishing has been slow. The Kalamazoo River has been producing some walleye for anglers, but salmon are scarce right now. Guided fishing and fishing charters are still on the closed list, but hopes are high to see that lifted soon.

DNR news regarding facilities The Department of Natural Resources (DNR) under the new updated Executive Order have adjusted opening dates and modifications for public outdoor recreation sites. To slow the spread of the coronavirus Gov. Whitmer has extended the “Stay Home, Stay Safe” Executive Order through May 15. Most state parks, recreation areas, state-managed trails and boating access sites remain open to provide local opportunities to enjoy the outdoors, but social distancing is key. Federal and state health officials consistently have said that keeping at least six feet away from those outside your household is vital to containing the virus spread. Camping, overnight lodging and shelters are set to open June 22. Camping and overnight lodging reservations for dates between May 15 and June 21 have been canceled. No reservation fees or cancellation / modification fees will be charged. Reservation holders must contact the call center at 800-447-2757 by May 15 at 8 p.m. about options. Please note: Reservations extending beyond June 21 will be changed to a June 22 arrival date and canceled nights will automatically be refunded to the original payment method. State Forest campgrounds and DNR-operated harbors are set to open June 10. DNR-managed boating access sites that already were open for the season will remain open. The addition of various amenities such as the placement of courtesy piers and the reopening of bathrooms at boating access sites will begin as staff time and maintenance schedules allow. In order to minimize face-to-face interactions and the exchange of money, the Recreation Passport requirement for vehicle entry to state parks and recreation areas, state forest campgrounds and state-managed boating access sites has been suspended until at least two weeks after the stay-at-home order ends. No hunting information is available this week.


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The numerous, tiny piles of soil that indicate earthworm activity are beginning to appear in yards. The earthworm’s body is mostly water so how did it survive our bitterly cold winter?


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