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.bridge Cross
    STEP BY STEP—Wyatt Stevens of Morenci makes his way across a rope bridge Sunday during the Michigan DNR’s Great Outdoors Jamboree at Lake Hudson Recreation Area. The Tecumseh Boy Scout Troop constructed the bridge again this year after taking a break in 2016. The Jamboree offered a variety of activities for a wide range of age groups. Morenci’s Stair District Library set up activities again this year and had visits with dozens of kids. See the back page for additional photos.
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    LEADING THE WAY—The Morenci Area High School marching band led the way across the pedestrian bridge on Morenci’s south side for the annual Labor Day Bridge Walk. The Band Boosters shared profits from the sale of T-shirts with the walk’s sponsor, the Morenci Area Chamber of Commerce. Additional photos are on the back page.
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    LOOKING UP—More than 200 people showed up at Stair District Library Monday afternoon to view the big celestial event with free glasses provided by a grant from the Space Science Institute. The library offered craft activities from noon to 1 p.m., refreshments including Cosmic Cake from Zingerman’s Bakehouse and a live viewing of the eclipse from NASA on a large screen. As the sky darkened slightly, more and more people moved outside to the sidewalk to take a look at the shrinking sun. If you missed it, hang on for the next total eclipse in 2024 as the path comes even closer to this area.
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    THE MAYOR—Cecil Schoonover poses with a collection of garden gnomes that mysteriously arrive and disappear from his property. Along with the gnomes, someone created the sign stating that he is the Mayor of Gnomesville. He hasn’t yet tracked down the people involved in the prank, but he’s having a good time with the mystery.
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    TAKE A BREAK—Last Wednesday’s session of Stair District Library’s Summer Reading Program ended with a quiet period in a class presented by yoga instructor Melany Gladieux of Toledo. Children learned a variety of yoga poses in the main room at the library, then finished off the session relaxing. Additional photos are on page 7. Area children are invited to visit the library today when the Michigan Science Center presents a flight program at 11 a.m. and roller coasters at 1 p.m.
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    THE DERBY—Tyler “Smallpox” Flakne of Minnesota’s Home Run League All-Stars goes for the fence Friday night during the National Wiffle League Association’s home run derby in Morenci. This year the wiffleball national tournament moved from Dublin, Ohio, to Morenci’s Wakefield Park. During the derby, competitors had two minutes to hit as many home runs as possible. The winner this year finished with 21. See page 6 and 7 for additional photos.
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    OUT OF THIS WORLD—Elizabeth McFadden and Elise Christle pose in front of the green screen as VolunTeen Noah Gilson makes them appear as though they are standing on the Moon. More photos from the Stair District Library’s NASA @ My Library program are on page 12.
  • Front.fireworks
    FIREWORKS erupt Saturday night over Morenci’s Wakefield Park during the waning hours of the Town and Country Festival. Additional festival photos are inside.
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