Because feelings run so deep in the wildlife and environmental arena we are making this a "moderated" blog. All comments will be read by the Michigan Wildlife Conservancy before being posted. Please keep your comments factual, smart and civil. Don't attack other readers personally, and keep your language decent.

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

January February Issue of The Wildlife Volunteer

If you aren’t receiving our newsletter, The Wildlife Volunteer, you may want to.  Our January-February issue will concentrate especially on the Great Lakes and some of the threats to them.  We had three wonderful and talented journalists from the Great Lakes region write articles for us that will open your eyes to issues that you may not have known about and the extent of these challenges.  Eric Sharp, Jeff Alexander and Dave Dempsey have graciously agreed to write on topics that range from invasive species to water levels to pollution from our very own sewage plants. 
If you would like to request a copy of our newsletter to see what our newsletter has to offer, please contact me at with your name, address and email address.  One copy per family, please. 
$40 a year is all it takes to become a member of the Michigan Wildlife Conservancy and receive 6 issues of our newsletter, The Wildlife Volunteer.  Our membership and newsletter is a great gift for adults and environmentally concerned citizens of Michigan.  Each issue has interesting articles that focus on Michigan issues, native animals and exotic species. 
To become a member and receive our newsletter, please click here:

Friday, December 23, 2011

Remember to Smile

When I see wasps, I say to myself “Stay Away!”  But after reading an article this morning I have gained a little respect for the little creature.  This is why:
Researchers have found that wasps that live in hierarchal colonies use facial recognition to recognize friends and foes.  Wasps that do not live in colonies have the ability but it is not as fine tuned as the colonized wasps. 
The Study:
Researchers printed out pictures of insects, shapes and other species and put them in a maze.  Each photo would represent a path and to get to the end of the maze our stingy little friend would have to follow the right photo.  They found that the wasps recognized the photos of their fellow wasps.  When the pictures of the wasps were altered slightly, the wasps in the maze found it harder to go through the maze. 
Another trait found in wasps was the trait of aggression.  When these wasps did not recognize a face they became agitated and more aggressive. 
Perhaps we should smile next time we see a wasp.  It would be a lot less painful if they don’t sting us. 

Friday, December 16, 2011

Trash to Electricity: Covanta Kent Inc. Waste-to-Fuel Facility

Have you ever considered that burning trash could serve as an alternative energy source?  Michigan has.
Kent county is home to Covanta Kent Inc. a waste-to-fuel facility.  Built in 1990 it receives trash from Grand Rapids and surrounding areas, recycles what it can and burns the safe waste.  (Waste that cannot be burned is sent to a landfill.)
In a 2004 study such facilities were shown to emit carbon dioxide, but have half of the greenhouse effects of the methane created by a landfill with equal amounts of waste. 
The Michigan Environmental Council would like to see more effort on the issue of recycling.  The Council supports the waste-to-energy facilities, but feel they don’t do a good enough job recycling.  According to Hugh McDiarmid, Communications Director of MEC, these waste facilities’ incinerators compete with recycling programs.

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Texas Department of Agriculture and Wild Hogs

Texas has the largest wild hog population in the U.S. with about 2.6 million roaming that state.  In response to the $500 million in annual damages to crops, fences, roads, and livestock caused by the hogs, the Texas Department of Agriculture (TDA) is providing grants to counties for wild hog abatement.  The funds can be used for education or programs that directly reduce hog number.  Each year, the five counties that can document the most wild hogs eliminated and/or the most participants at TDA- approved education programs focusing on wild hog abatement get grants ranging from $7,500 to $20,000.  Would this kind of grant program make sense for Michigan?

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Hog Training on Web

In the last year, more than 150 volunteers have been trained to assist biologists and technicians in the Michigan Wild Hog Removal Program.  The effort is a partnership of the Michigan Wildlife Conservancy and the U.S. Department of Agriculture with support from the Michigan Pork Producers Association, the Michigan Corn Growers Association, the Michigan Forest Association, and others.

Volunteers have received instructions on trapping procedures as well as the biology and impacts of wild hogs at sessions held at several locations around the state.  NOW, THE SAME TRAINING IS AVAILABLE ON THE MICHIGAN WILDLIFE CONSERVANCY’S WEB SITE, WWW.MIWILDLIFE.ORG.

The entire training session takes less than one hour to view.  This information is valuable to anyone wanting to learn more about wild hogs and the threat they pose to Michigan.

To access the material and volunteer as a trapper go to

If you have any trouble finding the site, please contact Jennifer at or 517-641-7677.

Friday, December 2, 2011

2011 Holiday Reception!

Members, Volunteers, and Friends of the Conservancy


Join us to celebrate 2011 successes at the

Michigan Wildlife Conservancy

Holiday Reception

Wednesday, December 14 ● 7:00 – 9:00 p.m.

Complementary hors d’oeuvres and refreshments

Shop for unique holiday gifts in the

Dancing Crane Gift Shop

Raise a toast to more habitat for wildlife in 2012


RSVP by Friday, Dec. 5 to Jennifer Pierce at 517-641-7677 or