Lisa’s Letter to the Governor of Michigan — Will you sign?

Fellow resident Lisa Lenzo has a great plan, and she would like your help reaching out to Governor Whitmer. She has posted this letter on her Facebook wall. If you’d like to add your name as a signee on the letter, place your name(s) in the comments below. Thank you!

Photos below:  Lisa’s granddaughter Cialyn holding the caterpillar she raised, named Oscar.

Dear Governor Whitmer,

I have a suggestion that would benefit Michigan’s environment–specifically, monarch butterflies but also other pollinators–and it might also save the state some money.

On a recent trip home to Michigan through Indiana on Highway 31, I noticed that the highway median in Indiana was not mowed, and that one of the main plants growing in that median was milkweed–miles and miles of milkweed, which is the main host plant for monarch caterpillars. But as soon as we crossed over the Michigan border, the U.S. 31 median was mowed in its entirety and very close to the ground.

My suggestion is to refrain from mowing the medians of Michigan highways except for once a year, which would prevent the growth of saplings. This mowing should take place at the end of October, since both butterflies and bees count on nectar and pollen throughout Michigan’s growing season and monarchs especially need fuel in the fall for their long migration to Mexico. Because some milkweed grows along the sides of Michigan highways and milkweed naturally spread their seed, the unmowed medians would soon sprout milkweed as well as other native wildflowers. Naturalizing the medians would also benefit honeybees, native wild bees, and other pollinators, which would in turn benefit Michigan’s cultivated crops as well as our natural world.

Creating more habitat for monarchs and other pollinators is in line with Michigan’s approach to conservation, as stated on the DNR’s website page devoted to monarch butterflies: “Grasslands, vitally important to many species, including monarchs and other pollinators, have become increasingly rare. . . (and) . . . making sure pollinators have habitat that supports milkweed and other native, flowering plants is important to preserving these key species.”

Please consider my simple plan to increase grassland and wildflower habitat by naturalizing Michigan’s highway medians. This would benefit us all, and I believe it would be fairly easy to implement. We don’t want our children and grandchildren to ask, Where have all the flowers gone? And we also don’t want them to ask, What happened to all the butterflies?

I have asked my friends, family, and anyone else who agrees with this letter to add their names to it. Thank you for considering my suggestion, as well as for all the work you do for our great state.


Lisa Lenzo

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Bee Informed: Honey Bee Science and How to Help


On Tuesday, May 7, from 6:30 to 8:30 pm, at the Douglas UCC Friendship Hall, 56 Wall Street in Douglas, Michigan, Anne Marie Fauvel, Tech Team Coordinator for the Bee Informed Partnership based at the University of Maryland, will share the latest data on Honey Bee populations in Michigan, and how we can manage our own landscapes to help these important populations thrive.

Grand Haven-based Fauvel is charged with the logistics of five mobile regional technical-transfer teams working directly with commercial beekeepers, to bridge the gap between industry and academic research.

The Tech-Teams lead the sampling effort to collect copious amount of data on colony health, management and treatment data and act as consultant with their regional and national perspectives. Fauvel also teaches at Grand Valley State University and is the apiarist on campus managing the small GVSU Meijer Campus Apiary in Holland Michigan.

She will build the case for the importance of the honey bee and their current population state in the United States and Michigan.

Are honey bee populations declining? And are pesticides to blame? Fauvel will discuss the many causes of colony losses and give example of local and national programs, and research efforts to better understand colony health and improve colony survivorship through best management practices.

Learn more about Fauvel and the Bee Informed Partnership at

This program is free and open to the public.

The Reluctant Radical: Movie and Discussion

RR_poster_horizontal_website_181113‘s Macatawa Creation Care in partnership with the CRC’s Climate Witness Project has scheduled a showing of The Reluctant Radical for…

Thursday, April 11, 2019

at 7:00 pm
at the Park Theater, in Holland, MI.

They are gathering a panel discussion following the film.

The film raises challenging questions around the issue of climate change:  Sanity vs Insanity–is it insane not to respond to climate change?  What’s my role if I’m not an activist? Is it civil disobedience–or maybe you’re just a nag?

You can explore the film further at:

Please join in the discussion. And perhaps the action, too?

New Ways to Love Trees — Follow Up


On Saturday, February 23, 2019, Drs. Greg Murray and Kathy Winnett-Murray presented A New Way to Love Trees at Douglas Congregational United Church of Christ. It was standing-room only, informative, fascinating, and so very useful.

These zoologist-biologists taught us all the ways trees help our homes and communities, clean and manage our water, save energy, house wildlife, impact our health, and yes, how they communicate with one another. They also discussed their latest research on the threats to our local Hemlock populations.

Drs. Greg and Kathy like to say, ”Even trees standing outside your window in the dead of winter are providing you with ecological, economic, and health benefits that most folks take for granted.” All while “just standing there.”

They also showed us how to plan for new trees on our properties, using i-Tree Design, linked below, and how the City of Holland is working with the Murrays and other Hope Professors and students to identify and evaluate the contribution of trees to the City. We can take their lessons home with us, using these links:

i-Tree Design, Determine the best spot to plant your new trees!

My Tree (by i-Tree), Learn about your tree benefits

National Tree Benefit Calculator

PlantSnap, Plant Identification App

TreeSap, Android Phone App for Holland Area by Mike Jipping

Energy Saving Trees Program

Save Michigan Hemlocks

Holland-Hope College Sustainability Institute

City of Holland Sustainability


Michigan’s 2019-2022 Environmental Road Map

Are you looking for ways to advocate for our environment with local and state legislators? Well, here you go.

The link above takes you to the road map developed by Michigan’s League of Conservation Voters along with more than 20 other environmental organizations across the state. It’s a good read. The top priorities for the first term:

*Shut down the dangerous Line 5 pipeline.
*Establish a PFAS drinking water standard so we can protect communities and ensure clean drinking water for all.
*Remove barriers to clean, renewable ‘energy like wind and solar.

But there’s much more. Follow the link!

Michigan Lake and Stream Leaders Institute

Each of us has a role to play in protecting Michigan’s magnificent lakes and streams. Are you ready to play your part?  If so, the Michigan Lake and Stream Leaders Institute is looking for you!  We invite you to apply for the Class of 2019. Community members, professionals, and undergraduate and graduate students are all welcome.
As an Institute participant, you will increase your understanding of lake and stream science and management, and learn leadership skills necessary to work through the sometimes challenging issues surrounding lake and stream protection, all through interactive, hands-on experiences with expert instructors and peers:
— Study fish, insects, and habitat in Michigan lakes and rivers
— Develop conflict management and communication skills
— Discover new resources and partnership opportunities
— Explore Michigan water law, regulations, and programs
— Apply your new knowledge and skills in an independent project
The Institute employs a combination of classroom activities, field experiences, and independent work over three sessions: May 31-June 1 at the Kettunen Center near Cadillac, July 26-27 at the Kellogg Biological Station near Kalamazoo, and October 18 at Michigan State University in East Lansing. Instructors are leaders and experts in their fields including university faculty, agency professionals, and leaders of non-profit organizations. The Institute is a partnership program offered by Michigan State University Extension, Michigan Lake Stewardship Associations, Inc., the MSU Department of Fisheries and Wildlife, and the Michigan Department of Environmental Quality.
The application deadline is March 31, 2019. Class size is limited to approximately 20 participants. Tuition for the 2019 Institute is $400, and includes all materials, meals, field trips, equipment, and overnight lodging. Limited scholarships are available.
For application forms and more information about the 2019 Institute, visit
You can also contact Institute Director Dr. Jo Latimore at or 517-432-1491.

Tuesday, November 13, our Last Gathering for Death and Life of the Great Lakes Community Read

And now for something completely different!

Here we are in The Future, part III of Dan Egan’s Death and Life of the Great Lakes. For this gathering, we will open the doors to the whole community, to make room for guest speakers and representation from local water action groups. Please feel free to bring along your friends and family members who love and care for the Great Lakes.

First up, we will catch up with the latest research findings with our speaker, Steve Pothoven, biologist with NOAA Great Lakes Environmental Research Lab field station for more than 20 years. Steve has worked on all the Great Lakes as well as east coast estuaries, and he will catch us up with the science of invasive species discovery.

We will also learn more about local water protecting organizations, and meet one or two or three (still waiting on confirmation) representatives of these organizations, who will be happy to share with you ways you can support their work, get involved with local activities to help promote and protect the Great Lakes.

And of course we will discuss Dan Egan’s text, Part III, The Future. We want to hear how this section sat with our Great Lakes Czars and Czarinas.

Looking forward to gathering again with a fascinating, informative, and action-oriented session.

Thank you all, from the depths of our hearts, for joining us in this adventure, held in memory of our friend and former State Senator, Patty Birkholz. Patty is smiling.

Doors open at 6:30. Talk begins at 7. DUCC Friendship Hall, 56 Wall Street, Douglas, MI

Psst! You may wish to bring along a notebook and pen!

Update for Community Read participants

Hey folks!

The DUCC Creation Justice Team met last night, and discussed our next two meetings for the Community Read, what we heard from you as we were discussing the book, and what’s ahead.

For this next section of the book, Part II, the Back Door, we’ll be learning about invasive species coming from the other direction, The Chicago Sanitary and Ship Canal. We’ve been in touch with the eDNA researchers who worked on the original project, and find that at least one of them is working closely with the Nature Conservancy. Here’s more about their work in Michigan. We recommend checking out those animations watching the spread of these species as the years progress (Pro-tip: if you hit the settings key while watching a YouTube video, you can slow the progress down. Wouldn’t it be great if we could do that for the lakes?). And the link at the bottom of the page has a nice little video clip featuring some of the folks Egan interviewed for the book.

And here is a little update on the progress of eDNA use to detect species where they are hard to see and find. Progress! Yay, science!

We discuss Part II at 6:30pm on October 23. And we’ll make better use of the space to make chatting a bit less noisy!

For this next section, fair warning, there isn’t much reprieve in our new awareness, but there is hope. Because there is always hope. Anywhere there is action, there is hope, right?

With this email we are drawing you to our website where we post about the events and programs offered by our little team. If you look at the links on the right-hand side of the page, you’ll find lots and lots of groups whose work you can explore.

Scroll waaaay down to find the groups with special focus on water. For our last evening together, on November 13, we will be talking about these groups and the kinds of action you can take and encourage your friends and neighbors to take on behalf of the Great Lakes.

As long as we are doing something, we aren’t doing nothing. Or something.

Namaste, friends. Looking forward to our next meeting!

Gardening is Giving

When:      May 8
Time:        6:30pm Refreshments, 7:00pm Presentation
Where:     Friendship Hall, Douglas Congregational United Church of Christ,
                   56 Wall Street, Douglas, MI 49406
This Spring the DUCC Creation Justice Team’s spring gardening program is “Growing  Is Giving,” an exploration of gardening as a way of giving back to both the community and the environment. A slate of speakers — soon to be announced! — will talk to us about how our own patches of land and what we grow on them can replenish the soil, feed our friends and neighbors, and how what we grow can have a very real impact on feeding the pollinators we need to sustain growth for all of the landscapes we share. Stay tuned for the full list of speakers, old friends and new, and reserve your space now by signing up at the DUCC Friendship Hall sign-up sheet, or on the DUCC Facebook event page.

Honor Thy Mother (Earth)

Our Earth Day celebrations began with a few sore backs and shoulders after dozens of our members showed up to clean 4 miles of highway around our town. See the article all about it, featured on the National UCC newsletter, and more great team photos on the DUCC Instagram account. Special shoutout to Pastor Sal for winning the Michigan Interfaith Power and Light sermon contest for his beautiful Earth Day Message. Stay tuned for announcements of our spring programs. Great work ahead!