Sugar Trails Kickoff, LEED Gold for Delta, Geothermal Financing Options

For Friday, April 24, 2015 –

1 – The Saginaw Basin Land Conservancy is looking for volunteers.

michigan sugar trails sign

Credit: Jeff Kart

The Bay-City based organization recently trained 24 people to assist staff with habitat management, trail construction, and the monitoring of conserved lands.

There are more opportunities to get your hands dirty. That includes the Michigan Sugar Trails Kickoff on Saturday, May 2.

From 9 a.m. to noon, volunteers will help clear debris, rake and groom existing trails, add signs and cut back vegetation.

Michigan Sugar Trails is located on the Middlegrounds Island in Bay City.

You can find out more at

2 – The renovated Delta College Health Professions Building has earned a green award.

The renovation project was recently granted Gold Certification from the U.S. Green Building Council’s LEED program, which stands for Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design.

Delta officials say the building is one of only three Gold-certified LEED buildings in the region.

The project involved WTA Architects of Saginaw and construction manager Spence Bros., with an office in Saginaw.

Sustainable design and construction strategies that helped earn Gold Certification for the Health Professions Building included a rainwater harvesting system that feeds an underground cistern.

The cistern provides water to the building’s restrooms and irrigation for an interior living wall of plants that help remove pollutants from the building’s air supply.

The $20 million renovation consisted of 90,000 square feet of renovated space and a 2,000 square foot addition. It was funded by the State of Michigan, Delta College, and local donors, with major gifts from foundations.

3 – The Michigan Geothermal Energy Association’s spring meeting and conference is next week.

Installation of the geothermal system. Credit: JeffreyW

Installation of a geothermal system. Credit: JeffreyW

The event is on Tuesday and Wednesday, April 28 and 29, at the Soaring Eagle Resort in Mount Pleasant.

This year’s theme is “Show Me The Money,” and will focus on various financing options for geothermal projects. Keynote speakers include John Sarver, president of the Great Lakes Renewable Energy Association.

Geothermal energy refers to heat from the earth. It can be used for the heating and cooling of homes and other buildings.

– Mr. Great Lakes is heard at 9 a.m. Fridays in Bay City, Michigan, on Delta College Q-90.1 FM NPR.

Follow @jeffkart on Twitter


Lake Huron Fisheries Workshops, Earth Day, and Refuge Fire

For Friday, April 17, 2015

(No audio today – Pledge Drive)

1 – Bay City is the site of an upcoming Lake Huron Regional Fisheries Workshop.

The local workshop is from 6-9 p.m. on April 30 at Knights of Columbus Hall on South River Road, north of the James Clements Airport.

The workshop is being held by Michigan Sea Grant and others. It will include information on research findings, management updates, and fishing trends.

The workshops are free and open to the public, but registration is requested.

Two other evening workshops will be held in Oscoda on April 23 and Cedarville on April 28.

The agenda for Bay City includes discussion of a Saginaw Bay reef habitat assessment, and walleye movement in Lake Huron.

2 – Delta College is celebrating Earth Day, on April 22, with a guest speaker and other events.


Delta College Earth Day poster, 2015.

Brent Lofgren, an atmospheric scientist from the Great Lakes Environmental Research Lab in Ann Arbor, will talk about “‘The Impact of Climate Change on Michigan’s Water Balance.”

The talk is from 10-11 a.m. in room E112.

Also on tap for the day is a screening of the “Growing Cities” film, free white pine and blue spruce seedlings, and a presentation on urban farming.

For more information, search for “Delta Sustainability” on Facebook.

3 – The Shiawassee National Wildlife Refuge caught fire this week.

Rx fire Bremer Marsh 4-13-2006 e

Credit: SNWR

It was intentional, for what’s known as a prescribed burn.

The fire was set by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service on Wednesday at the refuge, located in Saginaw County. Prescribed burns were conducted in grasslands and marshes to improve wildlife habitat on the land.

Region 3 of the Fish and Wildlife Service uses fire to treat about 70,000 acres of refuge lands each year in the Midwest. Burn times are based on weather, and local governments and fire departments are given a heads up first.

The Shiawassee National Wildlife Refuge manages about 10,000 acres in Saginaw County for fish and wildlife habitat.

– Mr. Great Lakes is heard at 9 a.m. Fridays in Bay City, Michigan, on Delta College Q-90.1 FM NPR.

Follow @jeffkart on Twitter

Climate Education, Dark Skies and (Barely) Biodegradable Plastics

For Friday, April 3, 2015

1April 22 is Earth Day. The week of Earth Day, April 18-25, is Climate Education Week.

The week, organized by the Earth Day Network, urges teachers to educate and engage students on climate change.

To help, there’s a free Toolkit that educators can use. It includes a week of lesson plans, activities and contests for K through 12 students.

The lessons meet Next Generation Science and Common Core standards.

There’s a different theme for each day of the week, and the lessons include videos and items for various grade levels.

You can find the lesson plans and more information at

2Look up at the sky tonight. How many stars do you see?

You’d see more if there were fewer unnecessary outdoor lights on homes and other buildings.

international dark sky week michigan

Credit: Brian Lauer

April 13-18 is International Dark Sky Week.

Several Michigan state parks will remain open late for night sky viewing during the week. Some parks will host special astronomy events.

Participating parks include Port Crescent State Park in the Thumb.


3 – Biodegradable plastics are better than regular plastics, right?

Not really, according to a study by Michigan State University researchers.

Some water bottles and other plastics are dubbed as biodegradeable. But they don’t break down in the environment much faster than plastics that don’t contain additives.

According to Chemical & Engineering News, plastics labeled as LDPE and PET can remain in a landfill for years, so some manufacturers include additives to help the plastics disintegrate faster.

The MSU researchers designed a study to see if the materials performed as promised. Among the findings: After three years of soil burial, plastic samples with additives did not show any greater physical degradation than samples without them.

– Mr. Great Lakes is heard at 9 a.m. Fridays in Bay City, Michigan, on Delta College Q-90.1 FM NPR.

Follow me @jeffkart on Twitter.

Credit: Jesse Wagstaff

Credit: Jesse Wagstaff



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