Nature’s most beautiful wildflower, as voted by hundreds of botanists, is in full bloom at Sarett. The cardinal flower’s brilliant red is easily spotted among the other plants enjoying the damp soil in the wetlands. Ruby-throated hummingbirds are the flowers’ other fans. Just when the birds need to start fueling up for their migrations this flower enters its blooming season, providing much needed nutrition. In return the birds are the flowers’ chief pollinators. French-Canadian explorers sent samples of the plant back to France. The people there thought that the long tube of the flower resembled their Catholic cardinals’ miters, hence its common name. This tube contains the sexual parts of the plant. When the plant first blooms the pollen-bearing stamens stick up at the tube’s tip. As the flower ages, the stamens fall off and the sticky, Y-shaped pistils extend from the tube waiting to catch pollen from younger nearby plants. Native Americans admired the plant also as a drug store. It can be prepared in teas from the roots and leaves to use as remedies for stomachaches, fevers, headaches or colds. Visit Sarett’s outdoor, netted Butterfly House this summer! Learn more and make reservations by visiting www.sarett.org. Sarett is also offering naturalist-led hikes and programs outside on the nature center trails starting the month of August for one family group at a time. Go to our website to learn about the events!
Fishing More anglers were out as catch rates improved with cooler temperatures in the early morning and evening the Department of Natural Resources (DNR) reported. The inland lakes are producing panfish, bass, walleye and pike, across the state. Boats in Lake Michigan are trolling closer to shore early and late as salmon prepare to move into the river systems. Remember, all anglers 17 years of age and older are required to have a fishing license. Ellinee Bait & Tackle on Paw Paw Lake by Coloma reported some good bass fishing going on. Bass have been biting on soft plastics, artificial baits and Wacky-Worms. Panfish and some walleye are biting, but the bite is slow. One angler reported he had limited out on perch on Big Paw Paw Lake, but it was slow. Catfish are biting in the rivers, mostly on cut bait. South Haven anglers targeting perch were south of the piers, but the catch rates were very slow. Salmon anglers out on Lake Michigan reported good catches to the north where chinook, lake trout and a few coho were taken in much deeper waters. Pier fishing was slow for all species. Good perch fishing continues north of the St. Joseph piers in 40 feet of water. Pier fishing was slow for steelhead, and most caught freshwater drum on shrimp. Boat anglers caught lake trout in 110 feet and the occasional salmon well past 120 feet. The DNR gave some fishing tips for catching big pike in the summer. Most anglers consider winter the best time to catch a trophy-sized pike, but following a few key pointers can make summer pike fishing worthwhile. When it’s very warm out, think about where pike will hide – places with cooler water. These spots include along the thermocline (the layer of water between the deep and surface water), where cold-water streams/rivers flow into lakes or around springs. Look for bodies of water that aren’t densely populated with pike, so the ones there may have a chance to grow fairly large. Also consider locations that have special regulations like size limits. Lastly, focus on bodies of water that have a good base of fish that pike feed on – particularly other species that prefer cooler water. Personnel from the Michigan Departments of Natural Resources and Environment, Great Lakes and Energy (EGLE) are investigating a fish kill incident along the lower reaches of the Middle Branch of the Escanaba River. The fish kill was reported August 9 and occurred near Gladstone, downstream of Verso Corporation’s Escanaba Paper Mill. “The mill reported that a ruptured pipe had impacted the mill’s wastewater treatment plant,” said Jay Parent, district supervisor for EGLE’s Water Resources Division. “The pipe failure has been corrected and outflowing water quality is improving, with test results pending.” DNR fisheries personnel said numerous fish were killed. A dozen species were affected, ranging from various panfish and walleye to northern pike and largemouth bass. Investigation into the fish kill is ongoing, with the cooperation of Verso officials. Engaging future generations of water stewards, Michigan’s actions to protect drinking water and the impact of high lake levels across the state are among the topics featured in the annual State of the Great Lakes report, released August 13 by the Office of the Great Lakes (OGL). The OGL, which is part of EGLE, works to protect and restore Michigan’s waters. It works with partners to support sustainable communities, restore degraded waters, manage water quality and quantity, and prevent aquatic invasive species. Its mission is to ensure a healthy environment, strong blue economy and high quality of life for Michiganders. For more information contact Nick Assendelft at 517-388-3135 or Emily Finnell at 517-599-1330. Hunting No matter what you call them – pumas, panthers, mountain lions or cougars – these mysterious mammals, and suspected sightings of them, get people talking. The DNR wants residents to know the department is listening and keeping a careful eye on where cougars reportedly are turning up. This year, the DNR has six confirmed reports of cougars in Michigan, all in the Upper Peninsula – one each in Chippewa, Ontonagon and Schoolcraft counties and three in Delta County. The confirmed reports are rare. Since 2008 there have been 55 confirmed reports of cougars in Michigan and all but one has been in the Upper Peninsula. It’s also important to note that the reports could be multiple sightings of the same animal. Though originally native to Michigan, cougars were driven from the state’s landscape due to several factors including habitat loss, around the early 1900s. Despite the occasional reported sightings, wildlife experts say there is no evidence of a breeding population in the state. In Michigan, cougars are an endangered species and protected by law. To learn more about the recent confirmed sightings or to submit a cougar report, visit Michigan.gov/Cougars. Questions can be directed to Cody Norton at 906-202-3023.
Twin City Players 33rd Annual Tiffany Awards The Twin City Players will host a digitally recorded video celebration Tiffany Awards for the public on Saturday, Aug. 29 at 7 p.m. This year’s digital presentation is due to the COVID-19 pandemic and its significant impact on the performing arts. The annual Tiffany Awards recognize the performances and achievements of TCP members and volunteers from the immediate past season. This year’s awards are free to watch but donations are suggested and can be made online at the TCP website, twincityplayers.org. Donation checks may be mailed to TCP, PO Box 243, St. Joseph, MI 49085. Tiffany Award viewers will be able to watch the event on the TCP Facebook page, Twin City Players – St. Joseph, MI. The video will also be available on the TCP website shortly following the Facebook premiere. The Tiffany Performance Awards are named after the late Marion Tiffany, an actress, volunteer and charter member of Twin City Players. Candidates are nominated to ten different categories, including leading actress, supporting actor, and more from the season’s mainstage shows. A secret panel of judges selects each year’s winners. Backstage and volunteer contributions also are recognized with various special awards. For more information about TCP, call 269-429-0400 or visit us at twincityplayers.org.