Have you spent time in a forest listening to the birds? Have you watched the sunshine filter through the leaves? If so, you have already participated in “forest bathing!”
“Forest bathing” is known in Japan as shinrin-yoku. Shinrin in Japanese means “forest,” and yoku means “bath.” Shinrin-yoku is simply connecting with nature. “Forest bathing” has been found to lower stress and boost the health and wellbeing of both adults and children.
The key to this practice is engaging all of your senses. Listen to the rustling of the leaves, watch the sun filter through the trees, smell the fragrances of the forest, and taste the freshness of the air as you inhale deeply. It is also important to remove distractions, so leave your phone and camera behind. Take your time and enjoy the benefits of nature.
The next time you are in an Ottawa County Park try “forest bathing!” Take 10 to 15 minutes to stand or sit in one spot and tune in your senses to the nature surrounding you. Find a park near you.
By March, many of our perennial forbs are pretty beaten down and unrecognizable, but one stands stiff and tall: our common evening-primrose (Oenothera biennis). Its seed pods are persistent most of the winter and resemble little okras. This species is found throughout the lower and upper peninsulas, from Luna Pier all the way up to Copper Harbor.
Blooming lasts from late spring to late summer. Yellow flowers are produced on a tall spike and only last until the following noon. They open visibly fast every evening, producing an interesting spectacle, hence the name “evening primrose.” Other common names include evening star, sundrop, weedy evening primrose, German rampion, hog weed, King’s cure-all, and fever-plant. Primrose may be a bit of a misnomer, as it is unrelated to anything in the genus Primula.
Evening-primrose thrives on sandy roadsides, fields, and disturbed ground. When growing in rich soils, it can get to be quite a large plant, growing to 5-6 feet in happy conditions. Some species are actively cultivated and used in landscaping, especially in the southwestern U.S. where its drought-resistance is a bonus.
The roots of young plants are reportedly edible. The leaves can be eaten raw in salads or cooked like spinach or in soups. Anishinaabe tribes traditionally make tea from the evening
primrose leaves for use as a dietary aid and to reduce fatigue. The seed oil is commonly sold as a dietary supplement in capsules, but there is no scientific evidence that it has any effect on health, and it may have a negative effect on people taking anticoagulants.
The seeds are an important food source for birds, and it is a
larval host for the primrose moth and the white-lined sphinx
Piece Together Parks
March 25, 2023, 12 – 3:30 PM
Location: Fraternal Order of Eagles 925
20 North 2nd Street, Grand Haven
Join us for a jigsaw puzzle contest, compete with other teams, win prizes, and learn about the healing power of nature.
Team name and themes encouraged!
$50 (or more) donation per team to Parks Foundation to register.
Each team will get to keep their puzzles! The winning team will receive a prize.
Looking to update your current puzzle collection? There will be a puzzle swap table. Bring puzzle(s) you no longer want and swap them for one(s) you have not done before.
Co-sponsored by the Ottawa County Parks Foundation and the Grand Haven Eagles.
Park supporters who include the Ottawa County Parks Foundation in their planned and estate giving are members of Parks for Life. Gifts can include wills and bequests, appreciated stock, bond and mutual funds, charitable trusts, retirement accounts and life insurance. Parks for Life members are ensuring that future generations will be able to enjoy our wonderful parks!
Featured Park: Upper Macatawa Natural Area
This 612-acre property features stunning bridges and is popular among bikers, hikers, runners, and birders. The bike path running through the park connects to Byron Road’s Fred Meijer Kenowa Trail which leads to Kent County on the north side and to the Adams Street’s bike path, which runs to the lakeshore, on the south side. The single-track mountain bike trails are maintained by dedicated volunteers and are some of the best trails in the area. Visitors will find a variety of habitats, including forests, grasslands, and wetlands, that is home to diverse wildlife.
Location: Hemlock Crossing Nature Education Center, 8115 West Olive Rd
Join us for Art for the Parks 2023! The Nature Education Center at Hemlock Crossing will be filled with art by regional artists in this pop-up event to benefit the Ottawa County Parks Foundation. Find works by painters, photographers, fiber artists, glass artists, ceramicists, jewelry makers, and a whole lot more. Live music. Cash bar. A $10 suggested donation at the door and 10% of all art sales benefit the Parks Foundation.