Ottawa County Parks Foundation – January Newsletter
Foundation Welcomes New Board Members
Dr. Kathryn Remlinger
The Ottawa County Parks Foundation welcomes Dr. Kathryn (Kate) Remlinger to the Foundation’s Board of Directors. Kate has been serving on the Foundation’s Donor Engagement Committee.
Kate is Professor of English at Grand Valley State University, where she teaches linguistics courses. She also served as co-leader of GVSU’s Making Waves about Water Initiative, an interdisciplinary project that developed awareness about water through courses, programming, and events. She currently serves as President of the American Dialect Society. Kate’s professional and personal interests center on language attitudes, regional American English dialects–with a focus on the development of English in the Upper Peninsula, social and language history, social and environmental justice, ecology, and sustainability. By joining the Foundation Board, Kate will apply her interests to carry out the Foundation’s mission of “bridging community to nature.” She also hopes to help the Foundation fulfill this mission by fostering awareness and access to the parks through programing and initiatives for new Ottawa County residents and for community members who might not have experienced the beauty and connection with nature that the Parks offer.
When Kate moved to West Michigan 27 years ago, she intentionally chose to live in Ottawa County because of the Parks and how it provides public access to the lakeshore, waterways, and woods. As cyclist, kayaker, and hiker, Kate has explored most of the county’s parks, open spaces, including the Idema Explorers Trail and Grand River Greenway. She’s passionate about native plants and the diversity of plants that Ottawa County has a transition zone. Her favorite parks include Grose Park for its wild flowers, Hiawatha Open Space for hiking with her dog, Stearns Bayou with its cultural and natural histories, Connor Bayou with its river setting and monarch waystation, and the North Ravines for the unique ravine geology and grove of Pawpaw trees.
The Ottawa County Parks Foundation welcomes Tim Grunwald to the Board. Tim has been serving on the Finance Committee for the last year.
Tim is the CFO at the Girl Scouts of Michigan Shore to Shore where they have outdoor properties throughout western and northern Michigan. He has experience being involved in the governance of community not-for-profit organizations. He was involved with the Muskegon County Museum (now Lakeshore Museum Center) and enjoyed learning more about the history of the area while helping them on finances, audit, budget, investments, and many other business aspects of running a not-for-profit organization.
Tim thinks parks and outdoor open spaces are important for any area so that individuals are free to get outdoors and explore, get fresh air, take their dog for a walk, take in nature. It is important to have these opportunities to create a community that it attractive to people considering relocating to the area and to keep our existing wishing to stay in the area because of its quality of life.
The first county park Tim enjoyed exploring was Crockery Creek. At the time they had a dog (Jackson) and he loved going there and helping them explore the park. At the time, the park was going through some new developments and it was always interesting to see what was changing. He also enjoys Pigeon Creek in the winter when conditions are good for Cross-Country skiing. Tim’s goal is to visit each Ottawa County Park, in December he went to Mt. Pisgah and Conner Bayou for the very first times.
Tim has many outdoors hobbies besides hiking and taking in nature. He and his wife have a boat in Frankfort and spend most summer weekend up in that direction. In the winter, they enjoy downhill and cross-country skiing. In his younger days, he could be found at the beach playing volleyball and indoors in the winter playing indoor volleyball. They have large wooden lot and do a lot of gardening in the spring and summer.
Blooms have faded, leaves have dropped…and what’s left by January is bark. And whose bark is more interesting than the native American sycamore?! The multi-colored patches could have been the original inspiration for camouflage patterns.
Platanus occidentalis is at home in moist to wet forests, as well as floodplains, riverbanks, and lake edges, but also adapts well as a street tree in urban environments. It is found throughout the lower half of the lower peninsula of Michigan. With its substantial height, large leaves and sprawling open canopy, sycamore trees are widely appreciated for use as shade trees.
Sycamore trees grow large, easily reaching 100 feet in height at maturity. Sycamore has large leaves similar to maple, round fruits like buttonbush, and scaly, peeling trunk bark in a wide range of colors. Sycamore trees serve as shelter, food sources, and breeding space for a range of cavity-nesting creatures.
The name comes from the Greek sukomoros, meaning fig-mulberry, and no fewer than 18 towns in the U.S. have been named after this grand tree.
Native Americans used sycamore for a variety of medicinal purposes, including cold and cough remedies, as well as dietary, dermatological, gynecological, respiratory, and gastrointestinal aids.
Does your employer have a match program?
Many employers match dollar for dollar the charitable gifts their employees make – some will double or even triple match an employees donation.
Featured Park: Hemlock Crossing
8115 West Olive Road
Hemlock Crossing offers 239 acres of woods and wetlands along the Pigeon River. Over six miles of trails meander through bottomland and upland forest, old pine plantations and along the river. Trails connect to Pine Bend County Park on the west end of this property. A pedestrian bridge and numerous overlooks offer scenic views. While you’re there, be sure to visit the Nature Center. Snow shoe rentals are available.