Stories from Matthaei-Nichols

Preparing Your Garden for Winter

Preparing Your Garden for Winter

As the days become colder and flowers fade and turn brown, many gardeners begin prepping their spaces for winter by cutting down spent blooms, stems, and leaves. However, by leaving the plants intact, gardeners can provide a variety of benefits to area insects and birds over the cold winter months.

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Guided Nature Walks at Matthaei Botanical Gardens

Matthaei Botanical Gardens is hosting free guided nature walks on select Wednesdays and Sundays.  These walks are FREE, no registration required.  WEDNESDAY WALKS Wednesday Nature Wonder Walks are held (almost) every Wednesday, 5:30-6:30 pm. through mid-December. We...

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Matthaei Volunteers Monitor Nest Boxes to Give Homes to Bluebirds

A nervous eastern bluebird on the wing alights on a tree branch, its orange breast standing out amidst the lush, late-summer greenery. Nearby on metal posts are a pair of wooden boxes. The bird keeps a concerned eye on a group of three volunteers trudging through knee high vegetation toward the boxes.

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Intersecting Art and Nature

by Cameron Wilson As a recent music school graduate, people wonder how I got so deep into the path of environmental stewardship. Along with a pandemic that gave me ample time to hang out with ancient hemlock trees in the Upper Peninsula, I took a gap year during...

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Native Plant Gardens Could Bring Local Wildlife Back From the Brink

By adding native plants back to urban landscapes, private landowners can make a difference and help restore native ecosystems. The Great Lakes Gardens are a testament to the impact that native plants have even in a single plot of land. There, myriad butterfly, moth, fly, and bee species flit from flower to flower. “The insects just showed up. We did not introduce any insects,” said Kost. “It really shows you that if you plant it, they will come.”

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Bugs with Beth: Monarch butterfly

Habitat loss is the primary threat to Monarchs: clearing their overwintering grounds for agriculture and urban development has left far less shelter for overwintering butterflies. Pesticides and herbicides used in industrial agriculture also claim the lives of Monarchs and their milkweed hosts. Although Monarch populations have fluctuated quite a bit in the past – last year, for example, was a bumper year for Western Monarchs, with many more individuals than usual recorded – the increasing trend of their threats makes it clear that they are at risk.

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Bugs with Beth: Milkweed Leaf Beetle & Red Milkweed Beetle

Many of us love exploring Milkweed plants for the chance to find a chubby Monarch caterpillar: a sign that things are working and that the Milkweed is serving its big purpose. Monarch larvae are always an exciting find, but Milkweed plants are host to tons of other fascinating critters. This week’s bug spotlight shines on two such friends: the Milkweed leaf beetle and the Red milkweed beetle. If you’ve spent time examining Milkweed leaves, you may have encountered these two beetles, both of which display an interesting trait reflective of their Milkweed-eating existence.

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Viva la Nature Play

MBGNA knows open-ended nature play is recorded in children’s hearts and souls, in their memory and imaginations, to be recalled many times in their lives, to be transformed into creative impulse, scientific exploration, the ability to think broadly and widely, and to carry a desire to help the future of our Earth.

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Bugs with Beth: Mining bee

by Beth Weiler This week’s featured bug is a Mining bee (genus Andrena)! These bees get their name from their nesting habit, which is to “mine” and create their nests in bare ground. All bees in this genus are solitary ground-nesters. Female Mining bees excavate a...

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