Ottawa County Parks Foundation – September 2021 Newsletter
Pollution in the Great Lakes
by Jessica Gregory
Think back to your last visit to the Lake Michigan shoreline and in your mind’s eye picture the sights and sounds you experienced: the breaking of waves on clean sand; the whining cry of gulls; the fresh scents of air and lake.
For anyone who calls Michigan home, these images are hopefully familiar. Most of us certainly share a common desire to preserve places and spaces like this for future generations to experience and enjoy.
Now picture the same scene, but imagine that instead of clean sand the waterline is littered with colorful bits of…plastic. They’re not the typical pieces of plastic refuse you find along a roadside, nor are they the stray plastic shopping bag caught dangling uncertainly from an overhanging branch. No, these are microplastics (<2.5 mm in diameter) and they are the face of the pollution problem in the Great Lakes.
It’s estimated that more than 22 million pounds of trash makes its way into the Great Lakes every year. In Lake Michigan alone over 85% of this waste is plastic. Plastic never fully degrades in the environment. While natural forces result in its degradation over time, plastic can remain present for hundreds of years. Microplastics filter through the soil and into waterways, leaching hazardous chemicals along their trajectory. They’re small enough to be accidentally ingested by wildlife (even humans!), where they bioaccumulate in their tissues.
Where are these plastic invaders coming from? Some from beachgoers, but the majority originate far from the beach itself. Even miles inland, plastic can travel through storm drains and rivers into the Great Lakes.
Let’s be diligent about keeping the beaches clean, but the better long-term solution is to reduce our daily use of plastics. We can prevent ‘plastic beaches’ – and if you choose to make a difference, others will too.
by Bobbi Sabine
A familiar sight in mid-summer, evening-primrose blooms throughout most of Michigan and has been documented in all but 17 Michigan counties. It is native to North and South America, and also grows throughout Europe and parts of Asia. Its height can vary depending on growing conditions, and in some cases it develops multiple branches. Stems are reddish and covered with fine hairs.
Evening-primrose is found on many roadsides, fields, clearings, and disturbed ground, most often in sunny, well-drained locations. The cheerful yellow flowers with four bilobed petals develop into tubular seed capsules which remain recognizable throughout the winter. Seeds in the soil can stay viable for decades.
It is a biennial, producing a small rosette the first year, then sending up a stem and flowering the second year. The flowers open in the evening and last only until mid-day the next day.
Also called king’s cure-oil, the seeds of the flower can be pressed to produce an oil, used in traditional medicine to treat dermatitis, bruises, digestive problems, neuropathy, and sore throats. However, research from the Mayo Clinic has proved to be inconclusive about its actual benefits, and taking it orally can cause upset stomach or headache and may increase the risk of bleeding.
Evening-primrose seeds are an important food for birds, and the plant is a larval host for the primrose moth and the white-lined sphinx moth.
Breakfast/Lunch at the Park
Thanks to our supporters last Thursday’s Breakfast/Lunch at the Park was a great success! We raised over $50,000 for Ottawa County Parks.
Thank you to our sponsors!
Thanks to their support, 100% of the proceeds from the events went to support our mission!
Crane Family in memory of Marilyn Crane
Leadership Sponsor: Jane and Tim Stoepker
Grand Wealth Management
Prein and Newhof
Baird Private Financial Management
Barb VanGinhoven in memory of David VanGinhoven
GEI Consultants of Michigan, PC
The Ottawa County Parks Foundation can accept gifts from IRAs. Contact your IRA administer for information on how to make an IRA direct charitable gift request. Most IRA administers have a form you can complete to make the gift.
An IRA charitable rollover, allows a taxpayer (who is over the age of 70 ½) to transfer up to $100,000 annually to a qualified charity or charities from their IRA account(s). This is known as a Qualified Charitable Distribution (QCD). If a taxpayer requests a QCD prior to taking their IRA’s required minimum distribution (RMD), there is no income tax on the withdrawal from their IRA and it will count towards the taxpayers RMD. Contact your CPA to see if this applies to your situation.
Thank you for your continued support!
16777 Fillmore St, West Olive, 49460
Located in Grand Haven Township, this 365 acre site is flat and wooded with both hardwood stands and red pine plantations. A very limited, unmarked trail system exists. The Park Operations Center for Ottawa County Parks occupies approximately two acres on the southwest corner.