Wednesday, December 3, 2014

Winter Events 2014-15

 Snow arrived in Kalamazoo long before the official start of winter.  It looks like this year should offer plenty of opportunities for skiing, sledding, skating, as well as lots of local festivities.


Winter Events near Kalamazoo


December 13, 2014  Santacon Kalamazoo 6pm Kalamazoo 
December 13, 2014 Free Admission Day and Local Gift Fair  9 am -4 pm Kalamazoo Nature Center Kalamazoo

December 14, 2014 - January 5, 2015. Christmas Bird Count
December 31, 2014 New Year's Eve Fest Kalamazoo
January 9-10 2015 Ice Sculpting Competition Holland
January 10-17 2015 Kalamazoo Beer Week Kalamazoo
usually around January 17 Schrier Park Winter Sports FestPortage

January 22 - 25, 2015 Winterfest 2015 Grand Haven

January 31, 2015 Muskegon Snowfest Muskegon

January 30 – February 1, 2015  Icebreaker  South Haven

February 6, 2015 Magical Ice Carving Festival Saint Joseph

February 13 -16,  2015  Great Backyard Bird Count

February 14 - 15, 2015 Free Fishing Winter Weekend throughout Michigan

February 27-28, 2015 Winter Beer Festival Grand Rapids

March 7, 2015 Quietwater Symposium East Lansing

Ongoing events
International Festival of Lights Battle Creek November 22-December 31

Millennium Park Skate Rink
opens in December  Portage

See also

Discover Kalamazoo's event listing

Monthly Events Roundup from Pure Michigan
 
Gazelle Sports Races and running calendar

Kalamazoo in Winter
from CommunityLink

West Michigan Winter Weekends

Sarrett Nature Center's Weekend Programs Benton Harbor
 

Sunday, August 31, 2014

Fall Events 2014

Labor Day signals the end of summer and the beginning of fall.  Fall in Kalamazoo is a great time for a walk in the woods, a paddle down a river, or a ride on a bike trail.  It's also time for local harvest festivals.  Have fun!


Fall events around Kalamazoo


September 5-7  Paw Paw Wine and Harvest Festival Paw Paw

September 12-14 Grand Haven Salmon Festival Grand Haven

September 26-27 Fall Festival St. Joseph

October 12 Fall Color Cruise Kalamazoo River Valley Trail Kalamazoo

October 11-12 Cranefest Bellevue

October 11-12 Fennville Goose Festival Fennville

October 18-19 Arts and Eats Tour  Hastings, Middleville, Hickory Corners, and surrounding areas

Also consider:

All Things Autumn from West Michigan Tourist Association

8 Ways to Celebrate Fall from Pure Michigan
Michigan Apple Festivals

Fall recommendations from 52 Michigan Weekends

a Fall Color Tour

Fresh apple cider from VerHages Cider Mill.

West Michigan Tourist Association has a list of Harvest Time Festivals, a Weekly Color Report, and more Color Tours

Fall walks and rides on the Kalamazoo River Valley Trail

Event listings from Discover Kalamazoo

Gazelle Sports' calendar of West Michigan Races and Running Workshops

League of Michigan Bicyclist's Michigan Ride Calendar

West Michigan Coastal Kayaker's Association Event Calendar

Outdoor Athlete has lists for Michigan running, biking and triathlon events.

The DNR has calendars of events for State Parks and Recreation Areas.


 

Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Purple Fringed Orchid

 
The Purple Loosestrife, blooming along Portage Creek, caught my eye first.  While its flowers are pretty, it's an invasive exotic that easily dominates wet habitats.  Continuing along the trail at Bicentennial Park, I noticed many other purple flowers: Red Clover, Swamp Milkweed, Chicory, Bergamot, and Blue Vervain.  All the purple blossoms primed me to see a native flower I'd never noticed before: Purple Fringed Orchid.

Purple Fringed Orchids  (Platanthera psycodes) grow in moist soil, scattered throughout the eastern US and Canada.  They are protected species in parts of their range.  (It's possible this plant was the very similar, and closely related, Platanthera grandiflora.)  I was surprised to see such a beautiful wildflower in such an ordinary place.
   

Friday, July 18, 2014

Prairie flowers

While the spring ephemerals are long dormant, the long days of summer have brought lots of flowers to Asylum Lake's restored prairie.
Bergamot (Monarda fistulosa) attracted lots of honey bees to its purple blossoms.
We didn't see any butterflies on this Butterfly Milkweed (Asclepias tuberosa) although we did see Monarchs on some Common Milkweed.
Yellow Coneflower (Ratibida pinnata)
Black-eyed Susan (Rudbeckia hirta) inspired, according to some, Western Michigan University's school colors.

Sunday, May 25, 2014

Wild Lupine


Wild Lupine (Lupinus perennis) is a late Spring wildflower of open prairies and meadows.  The spire of purple flowers on a single plant is beautiful and a field of lupines is impressive.  This wildflower grows throughout the eastern US and but is rare in some parts of its range.  Wild Lupines are a critical food source for the endangered Karner Blue butterfly.    

Lupines, like other prairie plants, need full sun to survive.  Historically, wildfires kept fields open. Today, preserves often use controlled burns to limit the incursion of brush and trees. 
 
Wild Lupines, near Kalamazoo, are currently at peak blossom.  Yesterday, we visited the Maas Preserve on the White Pine Trail just north of Rockford and it was full of lupines.

Friday, May 23, 2014

Summer Events 2014

Summer's warm weather creates a wide variety of outdoor activities in west Michigan: biking, canoeing, hiking, camping or swimming in Lake Michigan.  Many area communities celebrate summer with festivals.

 Summer events near Kalamazoo

June 6-8 Cerulean Warbler Weekend Hastings

June 7 National Trails Day

June 7-8 Michigan Free Fishing Weekend

June 12-14 56th Annual Waterfest Three Rivers

June 19-22 Harborfest South Haven

July 2-6 Balloon Festival Battle Creek

July 9-14 Kindleberger Summer Festival Parchment

July 18-20  Old Tyme Tractor Show Scots

July  19-21  Rogue River Expedition 2014 Sparta

August 7-10  50th annual Blueberry Festival South Haven


Also consider:

Long weekend suggestions from Pure Michigan

50 fun things to do in Michigan this summer

West Michigan Summer Weekends

Kalamazoo Farmers Market

Michigan Fireworks Displays a comprehensive list of fireworks throughout the state

Events at Kalamazoo's Arcadia Creek Festival Place
Event listings from Discover Kalamazoo
Events from West Michigan Tourist Association

Kzoo Kids lists Beaches near Kalamazoo & Battle Creek

Cleveland.com promotes Lake Michigan beach towns.

Gazelle Sports' calendar of West Michigan Races and Running Workshops

Open Roads Fixapalooza
League of Michigan Bicyclist's Michigan Ride Calendar

West Michigan Coastal Kayaker's Association Event Calendar
Outdoor Athlete has lists for Michigan running, biking and triathlon events. 

Southwest Michigan Land Conservancy volunteer workdays
State park events for June, July, and August 2014 from Michigan's DNR

Michigan Festivals and Events Association Events browser

Thursday, April 17, 2014

Wildflower season begins


Despite Kalamazoo's long, snowy winter, the 2014 Spring wildflower season is starting at a fairly typical time, perhaps a few days later than last year.  I visited the Kalamazoo Nature Center today and the blooms were just starting.  Hepatica were probably at their peak, with lots of blossoms open, only a few in bud, and almost none past flowering.

Harbinger of Spring were also near their peak, if this tiny flower can be said to have a peak.  Some years, they bloom much earlier.

The other ephemeral wildflowers are just getting started.  For the most part, Dicentras were just emerging, although a handful of early Dutchman's Breeches were in flower.


Marsh Marigolds were budding but they only had a couple of flowers.  A lot of the spotted leaves of Trout Lilies were up, but only a few flowers.   A few Mayapple umbrellas were emerging.  I saw one small Bloodroot in bloom.
Most of the Spring Beauty were still dormant but I did find a couple in flower.
If the weather stays warm, there may be many new blooms in the next few days.