O Tree, Live Forever

Kalamazoo Tree

O, tree, live forever, photo by Bill Dolak

Bill writes:

This tree in the Al Sabo Preserve in Kalamazoo County is a frequent subject and accessory for local photographers. I have images of it from the days I was still putting film into my SLR.

Regarding the Al Sabo Preserve, the Texas Charter Township Parks & Rec page says:

The Al Sabo Land Preserve was established in the early 1970’s in order to protect the groundwater supply of the Atwater wellfield. The 741 acres were purchased in the late 1960’s and a master plan was developed for its use as a passive recreation nature preserve. The City of Kalamazoo passed an ordinance that would ensure its protection as a water resource. The wetlands and sandy soils serve as a recharge area for the area’s groundwater.

View Bill’s photo background big and see more in his Al Sabo, Michigan slideshow.

December 1st … Back into the Woods Day

Sit for a Spell

sit for a spell, photo by Doug Jonas

Longtime readers may know that I celebrate December 1st as “Back into the Woods Day” because for my money, the hardest 15 days for the year for the non-hunting lover of the outdoors in Michigan are November 15-30th. Enjoy as you will – orange clothing not required!

The photo was taken in Michigan State University’s W.K. Kellogg Experimental Forest in Augusta, midway between Kalamazoo & Battle Creek:

Established on abandoned agricultural land, the 716-acre Kellogg Experimental Forest is known worldwide for research on tree breeding and genetics, planting techniques, and plantation establishment and management. Much of the research that developed the Spartan spruce, a hybrid that combines the color and drought resistance of a blue spruce and the softer needles and rapid growth rate of the white spruce, was done at the Kellogg Forest. The forest is open to the public for biking, hiking, horseback riding and cross-country skiing, and has several interpretive trails.

Click for visitor information and there’s also some videos of what researchers are up to that show some of this beautiful spot.

Doug says this was an enchanted afternoon in the woods, with sun, shadow, snow and reflected sky. View his photo background bigilicious and click for more of his great Michigan photos.

More winter wallpaper and lots more parks & trails on Michigan in Pictures!

The Great Michigan Earthquake of 2015

Its the Strt of the Breakdown

It’s the Start of the Breakdown, photo by Cherie

If I had a photo of the aftermath of Saturday’s 4.2 magnitude earthquake centered near Kalamazoo available to me,  I’d post it here. Since I don’t, here’s the kind of damage you wouldn’t see. mLive offered some facts about Michigan earthquakes, saying (in part):

When a 4.2 earthquake struck Michigan on Saturday, May 2, the common reaction was: Earthquake? In Michigan? Seriously?

The surprise was not misplaced. Earthquakes in Michigan are rare and tend to be minor. In fact, Saturday’s quake was the state’s most powerful earthquake since 1947.

The quake occurred about 12:20 p.m., with an epicenter about five miles south of Galesburg in Kalamazoo County.

Michigan has “very small probability of experiencing damaging earth­quake effects,” the Federal Emergency Management Agency says.

In fact, most tremors felt in Michigan originate elsewhere.

Michigan normally does not have earthquakes, the state’s emergency preparedness web page says. “However, we can suffer effects from earthquakes in neighboring states that have a higher likelihood of them.”

Michigan’s strongest earthquake on record occurred on Aug. 9, 1947, about 35 miles from the epicenter of Saturday’s quake.

The 1947 had a magnitude of 4.6 and was centered near Coldwater. It damaged chimneys and cracked plaster over a large area of south-central Michigan and was felt as far away as Muskegon and Saginaw and parts of Illinois, Indiana, and Wisconsin.

Read on for some more facts about Michigan earthquakes.

View Cherie’s photo background big and see more in her slideshow.

Our votes remain

Grand Army of the Republic

Grand Army of the Republic, photo by Bill Dolak

The price of our democracy has been very high. Here’s hoping you can spend a little of your time today investing in it.

View Bill’s photo background big and see more in his Cemetery slideshow.

Bikes pumping up Michigan’s economy

Kalamazoo River Valley Trail

Kalamazoo River Valley Trail, photo by Bill Dolak

This pic reminded me of an article I read a couple weeks ago in the Detroit News on the economic impact of bicycles in Michigan:

Bicycling pumps an estimated $668 million per year into Michigan’s economy, according to a recent report from the Michigan Department of Transportation. That figure factors in the nearly 800 people employed in bicycle-related jobs, along with retail revenue, tourism expenses, lower health care costs and a boost in productivity.

The study, “Community and Economic Benefits of Bicycling in Michigan,” put the spotlight on five communities to gauge how the sport affects their bottom line.

Michigan’s second-largest city, Grand Rapids, benefited most from cycling. It earned $39.1 million, nearly double the $20.7 million Detroit brings in. Ann Arbor easily grabbed second place with a $25.4 million boost.

…Grand Rapids began adding bike lanes on city streets in 2010 and now has 55 miles of bike lanes with more planned. It has a cycle track, hundreds of bike racks and an extensive trail network in the suburbs, said Suzanne Schulz, Grand Rapids’ managing director of design, development and community engagement.

“We are really trying to take a more holistic view of transportation infrastructure for the entire community because a lot of people don’t have cars,” Schulz said.

Read on for more or dig into the full study from MDOT.

Bill took this shot on the Kalamazoo River Valley Trail. View it background bigtacular and see more in his Michigan: Kalamazoo County slideshow.

More bikes and bicycles and more fall wallpaper on Michigan in Pictures!

Make it a Michigan brew for International Beer Day!

Oberon

Oberon, photo by RLHyde.

The good folks at Drink Michigan alerted me that today is International Beer Day.

mLive notes that Michigan has over 80 craft breweries, ranking 5th in the US. Of these, the oldest and largest is Bell’s Brewery of Kalamazoo, who opened in 1985, is also the oldest craft-brewer east of Boulder! They are also one of the biggest, weighing in at #8 on the Brewers Association list of the Top 50 US Breweries. Oberon (their most most popular beer) comes out at the beginning of summer every year and is a wheat ale fermented with Bell’s house ale yeast, mixing a spicy hop character with mildly fruity aromas.

Also check out Absolute Michigan’s Michigan beer listings for articles and tons of beer-related links including some of our favorites like the Michigan Brewer’s Guild and Rex Halfpenny’s Michigan Beer Guide!

See this photo bigger than a beer and in Ryan’s Alcohol slideshow.

Glass by Dale Chihuly

Glass

Glass, photo by Spencer Olinek.

In the course of looking for photos for Michigan in Pictures, I see a lot that I say “I can’t blog this today, but I’ll definitely come back some day and do it.” Often, some day never comes. Sometimes it does though…

Here’s a photo from the 2005 Dale Chihuly glass exhibit at the Kalamazoo Institute of Arts. Get it at the Wallpapery delicious size.

There’s a Dale Chihuly Wikipedia page and at Dale Chihuly’s web site you can see a lot of his work including a ton of videos at his web site (check out “Chihuly In Action”). His bio says:

Dale Chihuly is most frequently lauded for revolutionizing the Studio Glass movement by expanding its original premise of the solitary artist working in a studio environment to encompass the notion of collaborative teams and a division of labor within the creative process.

However, Chihuly’s contribution extends well beyond the boundaries both of this movement and even the field of glass: his achievements have influenced contemporary art in general. Chihuly’s practice of using teams has led to the development of complex, multipart sculptures of dramatic beauty that place him in the leadership role of moving blown glass out of the confines of the small, precious object and into the realm of large-scale contemporary sculpture. In fact, Chihuly deserves credit for establishing the blown glass form as an accepted vehicle for installation and environmental art beginning in the late twentieth century and continuing today.

Here’s a cool slideshow of Flickr photos from the 2005 Dale Chihuly glass exhibit at the Kalamazoo Institute of Arts.