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Promoting Environmental Education, Research,
Preservation, and Appreciation
Set on 661 acres in rural Barry County in southwest Michigan, Pierce Cedar Creek Institute, a mix between an environmental education center, nature center, and biological field station, provides visitors with an opportunity for outdoor education and exposure to a blend of diverse habitats including wetlands, forests, marshes, streams, lakes, and prairies.
To fulfill our mission "to promote environmental education, research, preservation, and appreciation," the Institute offers environmental education and sustainable land management programs to the community, educating environmental stewards by communicating the core values of land conservancy, environmental responsibility, citizenship, inclusiveness, and the pursuit of knowledge; undergraduate research grants and research partnerships with a consortium of area colleges and universities; and seven miles of hiking trails open to the public, free of charge, from dawn to dusk year-round.
Winner of the "Distinctive Destination" Award
On Saturday, January 17, Pierce Cedar Creek Institute was awarded the 2014 Distinctive Destination Award by the Barry County Chamber of Commerce. Presented at the chamber’s annual dinner, the award celebrates individuals, businesses, and organizations that are recognized as a
Barry County destination providing
a valuable experience to visitors and
Maple Syrup Workshop
Saturday, February 7
10:30 am – Noon
The Institute will be hosting a workshop on maple syrup production with Don Snoeyink of Thornapple Woodlands. Snoeyink will
help participants identify the different species of maple trees, learn how to install
a spile, and safely produce maple syrup from sap. All participants will receive three spiles to tap their own trees. The deadline for registration is February 2.
Chef Richard Centala and his staff always prepare a tasty brunch and February will be no exception! Enjoy everything from breakfast breads and custom-made omelets, to salads, entrees, and desserts. Menu
Member Adults $14; Children $7
Non-Member Adults $16; Children $8
(Plus 6% sales tax. Children ages 4-10)
FREE Program: 12:15 pm - 1 pm
The Great Lakes Sled Dog Association will be providing a demonstration on dog sledding. From the animals to the necessary gear, participants will get a chance to see what it takes for the dogs and the musher to race through the snow. Two lucky participants will have the opportunity to take a ride on a sled!
Brunch attendance and reservations are not required to enjoy the dog sledding program.
Great Backyard Bird Count Hike 2015
Saturday, February 14
9 - 11:30 am
The Great Backyard Bird count is an opportunity for everyone to provide useful information on local bird populations. The information collected helps scientists at Cornell University and the Audubon Society track bird populations around the world. Participants in the program will take a 1.5 mile hike through a variety of natural areas counting birds along the way.
Christyl Burnett of Red Clay Potter will lead this fun workshop on creating a hand-held pinch pot. The unglazed pot is perfect to use as a smaill planter or for storing small items. During the workshop, participants will form and decorate the pot. The pot will be fired offsite and will be available for pick-up approximately two-weeks after the workshop. The program is ideal for families. Program price is for one pot. You may make more than one pot for an additional cost.
Members $20 | Non-Members $22
$18 for each additional pot
Boosting kids’ interest in science: What parents
and grandparents can do to help
Eager to understand the world in which they live, young children commonly display an interest in science. Just as commonly, though, this interest, which develops in their preschool and early elementary years, can wane—and even disappear—over time. Science, once a subject of fascination, is instead perceived as difficult and, more problematically, as irrelevant to their lives. Fortunately,
this trend is far from inevitable and can be easily overcome. With encouragement from home, kids’ interest in science will continue to grow. They will see it as more than a subject in school but a means of engagement, a tool for understanding, an outlet for curiosity and expression, and, perhaps, a viable career option.
But what does encouragement from home entail? Quite simply, kids need to see that science matters to the adults in their lives. If they see their parents and grandparents interested in science, they will be
interested, too. Plus, participating in science-related activities is an easy and fun way of spending quality time together. Here are a few science activities to get you started down your new family science path:
Go outside. Whether it’s the backyard or a park, the great outdoors is a great place to start. Pretend to be explorers and look for the animals that live there, checking under logs and other hiding spaces for those that may be harder to find. Don’t be afraid to get dirty—it’s all part of the fun! Let the kids find things they are interested in and drive the exploration. Encourage them to make observations, ask questions, document their findings, draw pictures, write descriptions, and maybe even start a collection of leaves, rocks, or shells.
Visit natural history museums, nature centers, botanical gardens, and science
centers. Make a day of it and have some science fun! On the way home, have a conversation about what you liked, what was interesting, what was fun, what you learned, and what you want to learn more about. Luckily, West Michigan is home to several outstanding science education facilities,
including Kalamazoo Nature Center, the Air Zoo, Impression 5 Science Center, Kalamazoo Valley
Museum, Grand Rapids Public Museum, Kingman Museum, Frederik Meijer Gardens &
Sculpture Park, the Grand Rapids Children’s Museum, and, of course, Pierce Cedar Creek Institute.
Build structures. While Legos and blocks are the obvious go-to building toys, the options are limitless. Use regular household items to build anything from a birdhouse to a robot, or the next time something around the house breaks, take it apart and try to put it back together instead of
just throwing it away. As you build, discuss the steps you should be taking and how the individual parts work together to make up the whole.
Make food. The next time you make a meal, let the kids join in the fun. Teach them how to follow a
recipe and let them measure, mix, and assemble the ingredients. As you prepare your culinary masterpiece, you can talk about where ingredients come from, how ingredients change when they are combined, and why you need to combine ingredients in a particular order to make the finished product.
Ultimately, the most important thing your kids and grandkids need to develop strong science skills, strong science interest, and strong science knowledge is you. It’s never too late to start—become
a ScienceStrong family today!
Environmental Issues in Barry County: Oil and Gas Drilling
Thursday, January 22
Over 75 people attended the Environmental Issues discussion on oil and gas drilling and brine wells held at the Barry Community Enrichment Center. Presenters were Matthew Zimmerman from Varnum Law, along with Bill Mitchell and Kevin Carey from the Michigan Department of Environmental Quality. Zimmerman spoke about the limitations on local regulations for oil and gas operations. Mitchell presented on the Michigan oil and gas regulatory systems.
When asked what was the best thing citizens could do to keep more oil and gas drilling out of Barry County, Zimmerman said,“I will give you a very concrete thing you can do. Go to your legislature, State House and Senate, and have them amend the Renewable Portfolio Standards. It was adopted in 2008 and runs out this year in 2015. It required all energy producers, not just the big guys, even municipal energy producers and co-ops, to have 10% of their power produced by renewables. What that caused was an influx of businesses providing renewable energy. In Iowa it's 25%, and in California it’s 20%, not 10%. Tell your legislators to increase it.”