Earth Day lessons 2013.04.24

Written by David Green.

earth.mapsp.earth.kayKay Holubik, a resource technician with the Lenawee Conversation District office, had an Earth Day question Monday for Morenci sixth grade students.

Could anyone think of any problems associated with Lake Erie?

“It’s dirty,” a few students were quick to answer.

Another came up with the problem that’s made the news often in recent years: algal blooms.

An excess of nutrients—chiefly from farm fields, but with additional phosphorus from lawn fertilizer and malfunctioning sewer systems—is causing enormous growth in algae. It’s so extensive, Holubik said, that it can be seen from space.

It’s not the first time that Lake Erie has faced environmental challenges. In the 1970s, its plight even made the Dr. Suess book, “The Lorax.”

Lake Erie is the 12th largest body of fresh water in the world, she said, and it’s the most biologically productive of all the Great Lakes. About half of all the wildlife associated with the Great Lakes is found in Lake Erie.

Algae is a natural part of the lakes, but excess nutrients lead to an explosion in the population of the organisms. That, in turn, produces a toxin that kills fish and birds which adversely effects fishing and tourism. Water treatment costs also rise.

Holubik, along with colleague Makena Schultz, explained her agency’s role in helping keep soil in place.

The Conservation District emphasizes the use of field residue and cover crops rather than leaving soil bare. Filter strips along the edges of fields help keep soil in place rather than washing into streams.

Nutrient management emphasizes the proper use of fertilizer such as manure to prevent an excess from washing off. Proper storage of chemicals will help keep groundwater clean.

  • Front.splash
    Water Fun—Carter Seitz and Colson Walter take a fast trip along a plastic sliding strip while water from a sprinkler provides the lubrication. The boys took a break from tie-dyeing last week at Morenci’s Summer Recreation Program to cool off in the water.
  • Front.starting
    BIKE-A-THON—Children in Morenci’s Summer Recreation Program brought their bikes last Tuesday to participate in a bike-a-thon. Riders await the start of the event at the elementary school before being led on a course through town by organizer Leonie Leahy.
  • Front.pokemon
    LATEST CRAZE—David Cortes (left) and Ty Kruse, along with Jerred Heselschwerdt (standing), consult their smartphones while engaging in the game of Pokémon Go. The virtual scavenger hunt comes to life when players are in the vicinity of gyms, such as Stair District Library, and PokéStops such as the fire station across the street. The boys had spent time Monday morning searching for Pokémon at Wakefield Park.
  • Front.drum
    on your mark, get set, drum!—Drew Joughin (black shirt), Maddox Joughin and Kaleea Braun took the front row last week when Angela Rettle and assistants led the Stair District Library Summer Reading Program kids in a session of cardio drumming. The sports and healthy living theme continued yesterday with a Mini Jamboree at Lake Hudson State Park arranged by the Michigan Department of Natural Resources. Next week’s program features the Flying Aces Frisbee show.
  • Girls.on.ride
    NADIYA YORK and Aniston Valentine take a spin on the Casino, one of the rides offered at Wakefield Park during Morenci’s Town and Country Festival. This year’s festival remained dry but with plenty of heat during the three-day run. Additional photographs are inside this week’s Observer.
  • Front.softball
    Angela Davis (2) and teammate Allison VanBrandt break into a jig after Morenci's softball team won its third consecutive regional title.
  • Front.art.park
    ART PARK—A design created by Poggemeyer Design Group shows a “pocket art park” in the green space south of the State Line Observer building. The proposal includes a 12-foot sculpture based on a design created by Morenci sixth grade student Klara Wesley through a school and library collaboration. A wooden band shell is located at the back of the lot. The Observer wall would be covered with a synthetic stucco material. City council members are considering ways to fund the estimated $125,000 project and perhaps tackling construction one step at a time.
  • Front.train
    WRECKAGE—Morenci Fire Department member Taylor Schisler walks past the smoking wreckage of a semi-truck tractor on the north side of the Norfolk and Southern Railroad tracks on Ranger Highway. The truck trailer was on the south side of the tracks
  • Funcolor
    LEONIE LEAHY was one of three local hair stylists who volunteered time Friday at the Morenci PTO Fun Night. Her customer, Aubrey Sandusky, looks up at her mother while her hair takes on a perfect match to her outfit. Leahy said she had a great time at the event—nothing but happy clients.
  • KayseInField
    IN THE FIELD—2004 Morenci graduate Kayse Onweller works in a test plot of wheat in Texas. She’s part of Bayer CropScience’s North American wheat breeding program based in Nebraska, where she completed post-graduate work in plant breeding and genetics.

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