May 24, 2013
It appears the turtle above is aware that Michigan’s state reptile is the painted turtle. I thought it perfect for my day-late post celebrating World Turtle Day (May 23), an annual day of recognition that was started in 2000 by American Tortoise Rescue. They offer some tips to help preserve endangered turtles worldwide including not buying turtles or tortoises from pet shop (it increases demand from the wild), not removing turtles from the wild unless they are injured, and something that we can all do when we’re on the roads: if a turtle is crossing a busy street, pick it up and send it in the same direction it was going – if you try to make it go back, it will turn right around again!
It might surprise you to learn that Michigan is home to 10 native turtle species. You can check out the Michigan DNR’s Michigan turtle page or click the links below to view their articles on each of the 10 species:
- Blanding’s Turtle (Emydoidea blandingii)
- Common Map Turtle (Graptemys geographica)
- Common Musk Turtle (Sternotherus odoratus)
- Common Snapping Turtle (Chelydra serpentina)
- Eastern Box Turtle (Terrapene carolina carolina)
- Painted Turtle (Chrysemys picta)
- Red-eared Slider (Trachemys scripta elegans)
- Spiny Soft-shell Turtle (Apalone spinifera spinifera)
- Spotted Turtle (Clemmys guttata)
- Wood Turtle (Clemmys insculpta)
If you’re trying to identify a turtle you’ve found, James Harding “The Critter Guy” at the MSU museum has a great Michigan turtle identification guide and loads of turtle lore. Speaking of Turtle Lore, I always like to shout out a book I read as a kid that did more to foster my love of Michigan than any other: Lore of the Great Turtle. It was filled with Indian tales of Mackinac Island , and one of these was the formation of the island. While this version adapted by Basil Johnston is not quite the same, I think you’ll enjoy it!
Lish Dorset of The Henry Ford museum in Dearborn writes on the Pure Michigan Blog that although summer is always a busy time at The Henry Ford, this summer is shaping up to be especially busy as they celebrate what would have been the 150th birthday of founder Henry Ford. She writes:
We’re celebrating Henry’s legacy all year at The Henry Ford, whose birthday is July 30. Starting in June and running through August, pay a visit to Miller School in Greenfield Village and step back in time to the days of Henry’s youth as he experiments with clock parts, machines and principles that challenged him.
You can also visit Henry’s T, a 15-minute dramatic play and hear how this ultimate maker was inspired to build his universal car. Follow up the play with a visit to Henry Ford Museum and learn how to build a Model T yourself.
Both Henry Ford Museum and Greenfield Village are offering guided tours to guests with an emphasis on Henry’s work.
May 22, 2013
The GoWaterfalling page on Rainbow Falls explains:
This is the last of the main falls on the Black River before it enters Lake Superior. This is an interesting waterfall. Unfortunately the best views are from the east side of the river and the observation deck is on the west side of the river. The hike from the west side trailhead is 1/2 mile. In my opinion the smarter thing to do is to drive down to end of the Black River Scenic Byway, cross the river and hike back up to the falls. A supsension bridge takes you across the river and a mile long, scenic, and mostly level trail, takes you back to the falls. The views are far superior. In low water you can wade across the river above the falls.
The Black River Scenic Byway starts north of US 2 near Bessemer. There are signs on US 2. Rainbow Falls is about 16 miles north of US 2. The scenic area is on the right and is clearly marked. It is about a 1/2 mile walk from the parking area to the falls. There are a lot of stairs at the end.
The waterfall has carved out a large pothole. Most of the river falls into the pothole, but some of the water, depending on how high the river is, goes around or jumps clear over this hole.
Head over to GoWaterfalling for more pics and information about other falls in the area.
Many more Michigan waterfalls on Michigan in Pictures!
May 21, 2013
Michigan in Pictures owes a whole lot to the photo sharing website Flickr. For starters, Flickr hosts the sprawling Absolute Michigan pool, the photo group with over 175,000 photos and 3300 members from where I draw most of the photos used. Flickr is also the web service that made me realize that a blog that featured photos from all kinds of people from over Michigan could work, and the unique social features mean that I learn a lot about Michigan from the photos that are added every day.
Yesterday Flickr made a major move, replacing their 100 photo limit on free photo hosting with a 1 terrabyte limit. While Flickr has lost its status as the leading photo site, it still has a huge number of users. It will be interesting to see if this move pushes them back to the top.
Matt has been one of my favorite photographers over the years for his unique and humorous vision, and it was great to find that he had the perfect photo! See it background big and view more in his Michigan slideshow.
May 20, 2013
Castor canadensis (American beaver) from the University of Michigan Animal Diversity Web explains:
Beavers are primarily aquatic animals, and the largest rodents in North America. They have a waterproof, rich, glossy, reddish brown or blackish brown coat. The underhairs are much finer than the outer, protective, guard-hairs. The ears are short, round, and dark brown in coloration. A beaver’s hind legs are longer than its front legs, thus making the rear end to be higher than the front end while walking.
- Beavers eat bark and cambium (the softer growing tissue under the bark of trees). Their favorites include willow, maple, poplar, beech, birch, alder, and aspen trees. They also eat water vegetation, as well as buds, and roots. Cellulose, which usually can not be digested by mammals, is a major component of their diet. Beavers have microorganisms in their cecum (a sac between the large and small intestine) that digest this material.
- Under favorable conditions, beavers will produce their first litters at two or three years of age. The average lifespan of a beaver in the wild is 10 to 20 years.
- Beavers usually live in family groups of up to 8 related individuals called colonies. The younger siblings stay with their parents for up to 2 years, helping with infant care, food collection, and dam building. Beaver families are territorial and defend against other families.
- Beavers build dams to slow down the flow of water in streams and rivers and then build stable lodges for shelter. The dams are engineered according to the speed of the water; in slow water the dam is built straight, but in fast water the dam is built with a curve in it.
- Beavers maintain wetlands that can slow the flow of floodwaters. They prevent erosion, and they raise the water table, which acts as a purifying system for the water. This happens because silt occurs upstream from dams, and toxins are then broken down. As ponds grow from water backed up by the damn, pond weeds and lilies take over. After beavers leave their homes, the dams decay, and meadows appears.
Head over to ADW for more information including some photos.
More Michigan animals on Michigan in Pictures.
Michigan in Pictures regularly features awesome historical postcards from Don Harrison of UpNorthMemories.com. Don emailed me the other day to let me know that the 39th National Stereoscopic Association Convention will be held in Traverse City next month (June 4-10, 2013).
The event features speakers, workshops, 3D image competitions, exhibitions and a huge 3D Trade Fair where you can view and purchase equipment and photographs. While there’s no specifically Michigan tie, I thought it was pretty cool that Brian May, CBE, PhD, FRAS is one of the featured speakers. You may know Brian as the guitarist of Queen, but he apparently postponed a career in astronomy, returning to astrophysics in 2006. He’s also a life-long stereoscopy enthusiast.
Regarding stereoscopy, Wikipedia’s explains:
Stereoscopy (also called stereoscopics or 3D imaging) is a technique for creating or enhancing the illusion of depth in an image by means of stereopsis for binocular vision. The word stereoscopy derives from the Greek “στερεός” (stereos), “firm, solid” + “σκοπέω” (skopeō), “to look”, “to see”.
Most stereoscopic methods present two offset images separately to the left and right eye of the viewer. These two-dimensional images are then combined in the brain to give the perception of 3D depth. This technique is distinguished from 3D displays that display an image in three full dimensions, allowing the observer to increase information about the 3-dimensional objects being displayed by head and eye movements.
The photo above shows the Diag at the University of Michigan. You can see it bigger along with dozens more from all across Michigan in the Bentley Library’s Michigan in 3D Stereoscopic Cards gallery.
May 17, 2013
Morels are popping up all over, and though you might not find 98 like Heather did, even a handful of these delectable mushrooms will make it all worth it. If you’re in the Boyne City area this weekend, they hold their annual National Morel Mushroom Festival. You might also be interested in Five Things You Need to Know about Michigan Morel Mushrooms on Absolute Michigan.
Lots more morel goodness on Michigan in Pictures!