Sunday, June 7, 2015

Summer Events 2015

Summer is a great time to be in Kalamazoo for biking, canoeing, hiking, and camping or taking a short drive to Lake Michigan.  
Summer events near Kalamazoo

June 13-14 Michigan Free Fishing Weekend

June 18-21 Harborfest South Haven

July 1-5 Balloon Festival Battle Creek

July 8-13 Kindleberger Summer Festival Parchment

July 17-19  Old Tyme Tractor Show Scots

August 6-9  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 promotes Lake Michigan beach towns.
Beach Freaks guide to Michigan's Best Beaches

Gazelle Sports' calendar of West Michigan events  
League of Michigan Bicyclist's Michigan Ride Calendar

West Michigan Coastal Kayaker's Association Event Calendar
Southwest Michigan Land Conservancy volunteer workdays
State park events for June, July, and August 2015 from Michigan's DNR

Michigan Festivals and Events Association Events browser

Thursday, April 23, 2015

Spring Events 2015

Spring in Kalamazoo brings warmer weather, birds, wildflowers, and morels and plenty of opportunities for hiking and biking.   Here are some local events to celebrate Spring.

Spring events near Kalamazoo

April 18-26, National Park Week
April 25 Thornapple Woodpecker Festival Middleville

April 25 Green-A-Thon 2015 Celery Flats Portage

May 2-9 Tulip Time festival Holland
May 2 Blossomtime Grand Floral Parade 1pm St Joseph - Benton Harbor

May 2-3 Victorian Days Grand Ledge

May 9  Spring Blooms in the Dunes (and Native Plant Sale 9am - 3pm) Gillette Visitor Center Hoffmaster State Park Muskegon

May 9 Lees' Kayak & Canoe Demo day Kalamazoo

May 9-16 Kalamazoo Bike Week Kalamazoo 
May 12  Kalamazoo Bicycle Film Festival  at Bell's in Kalamazoo

May 16-17 Great Lakes Kite Festival 2013 Grand Haven

May 16 Family Fishing Fair Ramona Park 10am-1pm Portage

May 23 Lees' Kayak & Canoe Demo day Kalamazoo  
May 23 Kalamazoo Area Wild Ones Native Plant Sale People's Food Co-op Kalamazoo 

Also consider:
Vegetable planting dates

Earth Day Activities throughout Michigan

Wild Ones (Kalamazoo Chapter) Programs & Field Trips
Bike Friendly Kalamazoo's  Event listings

Battle Creek Cleanwater Events

Tawas Point Birding Festival Iosco County May 14–17 
birdwatching at Bird Trails and Sanctuaries in Michigan

Event listings from Discover Kalamazoo

May 2015 Events from Pure Michigan
Gazelle Sports' calendar of West Michigan Races & Running Workshops

League of Michigan Bicyclists Michigan Bicycling Calendar

Michigan Festivals and Events Association Events browser

Spring weekend getaways

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.