Traverse City Record-Eagle

February 9, 2013

Farm Focus in Brief: 02/09/2013

FROM STAFF REPORTS
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Educator open house

TRAVERSE CITY — The Boardman River Nature Center will host its Educator Open House on Thursday, Feb. 21, from 5 to 7 p.m.

This free event is still open for registration after rescheduling from its original intended date last month. The event is designed for all educators interested in helping students learn first-hand about natural resources in their community.

Light refreshments will be provided and all educators attending the Open House will be entered into a drawing for a free Boardman River Nature Center experience during the 2012-2013 school year and other nature-related giveaways.

The Boardman River Nature Center is located at 1450 Cass Road in Traverse City. There is no cost to participate. To RSVP, email to cbierschbach@gtcd.org or call 941-0960, Ext. 24 by Friday, Feb. 15. Space is limited.

Vegetables fare well

LANSING — The Michigan Farm Bureau says the state's vegetable crops suffered only minor damage from bad weather last year, unlike the heavy losses to fruit, corn and hay.

The group says new statistics released by the U.S. Department of Agriculture show that vegetable production in Michigan was down about 2 percent in 2012 from the previous year, while the combined value of the vegetable crop rose by 3 percent.

The numbers are based on harvests of a dozen consumer staples, such as asparagus, snap beans, cabbage, carrots, squash and tomatoes.

Statewide production of most vegetable crops decreased slightly, but celery and sweet corn output rose. Fruit crops such as cherries and apples were devastated last year by an early spring thaw, followed by a deep freeze that killed buds.

Shoreline conference

EAST LANSING — The third annual Shoreline and Shallows Conference, a program of the Michigan Natural Shoreline Partnership, will be presented Wednesday, March 6, during Agriculture and Natural Resources Week at Michigan State University's Kellogg Center.

Titled "Natural Shorelines and the Habitat Connection," the conference will highlight lakeshore habitats, shoreline restoration and habitat improvement and wave energy in relation to aquatic plant establishment.

The cost to attend is $35, which includes lunch and refreshments. Certified Natural Shoreline Professionals are eligible for three continuing education units for attending this one-day conference.

Speakers include Bob Kirschner, director of restoration ecology at the Chicago Botanic Gardens; Michael Meyer, research scientist with the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources; and Dennis Albert, landscape and wetlands ecologist formerly with the Michigan Natural Features Inventory and now at Oregon State University.

Afternoon sessions include Jim Brueck, certified natural shoreline professional and owner of Native Lakescapes, LLC in Clarkston. Brueck will share his experiences with balancing native plant selection and design with fluctuating lake levels and aesthetics. Jane Herbert of MSU Extension will provide an update on the natural shoreline demonstration sites installed as part of the certified natural shoreline professional certification training.

For additional information, email to wolfson1@msu.edu or call 517-353-9222.

Pesticide disposal

EAST LANSING — Looking for a way to safely dispose of unusable, outdated or unwanted pesticides? There is no charge for properly disposing of these materials through the Michigan Clean Sweep Program. Both pesticides and mercury items are accepted. No fertilizers will be accepted for disposal under the Clean Sweep Program unless they are part of a pesticide formulation.

Clean Sweep is open to Michigan farmers, greenhouse operators, golf courses, residents, pesticide retailers, etc., and is made possible by a strong and unique state, federal, local and industry partnership. There have been a number of Clean Sweep sites established around the state to accept unused or expired pesticide products. The schedule of collections will vary from county to county. Check with your local Michigan State University Extension county office to find the closest location near you.