conservation

User: kqedquest / Flickr

More and more of us are choosing to "go green" in our everyday lives. 

We recycle, repurpose, conserve, and reduce our energy use.

But what about when we die? Does it really matter what sort of casket or burial method you choose?

Increasingly, people are deciding yes, it does. And those people are choosing so-called "green burials".

Merilynne Rush is a home funeral guide and a green burial consultant. She says the concept of "green burials" means a natural way of going back to the earth.

"No expensive casket, no non-biodegradable materials, no cement vault, and just being put in the earth," says Rush.

Currently, only one cemetery in Washtenaw County is offering the natural burial. You can find out about upcoming green burials events on the website

* Listen to our conversation with Merilynne Rush above.

World Resources Institute

State officials want to hear what you think about fracking.

The Michigan Department of Environmental Quality wants to update the state’s rules on hydraulic fracturing. The DEQ is holding two public hearings this week on the proposed changes.

Hal Fitch is the chief of the DEQ’s Office of Oil, Gas and Minerals.

“Starting about 2008, we started hearing increased public concerns. So we met with the environmental community, we met with the public in over 200 different forums and heard those concerns and formulated these rules based on what we were hearing,” he says.

Wikipedia

It was 1883 when the Detroit Zoo first opened its doors at Michigan Avenue and Trumbull Street, across from what would become Tiger Stadium.

By 1928, the zoo had moved its current home at 10 Mile Road and Woodward Avenue. It's the No. 1 paid tourist attraction in Michigan, drawing more than 1.1 million visitors every year.

The zoo's mission has evolved  since those early days, shifting from animal care to animal welfare. It's a leader in animal conservation and welfare.

Detroit Zoo Executive Director and Chief Executive Officer Ron Kagan  gives us a closer look at the ways the zoo has become such a leader in protecting and preserving animal species.

Listen to the full interview above.

USFWSmidwest / Flickr

Construction for the Detroit River International Wildlife Refuge’s new visitor center has been delayed, due to the ongoing partial federal government shutdown.

As the Associated Press’s David Runk reported, construction for the refuge’s 12,000 square foot center was slated to begin Wednesday, but the temporary hold on federal funds postponed the project.

landtrust.org

One of the things we most like to do here on Stateside is to highlight success stories in Michigan, to share with everyone what's working well and why.

One of those Michigan success stories is the Little Traverse Conservancy. If you've enjoyed the beauty of northern Michigan, it's a good bet the Little Traverse Conservancy had something to do with it.

We often hear talk about rebuilding Michigan, but what about preserving it?

Tom Bailey is the Executive Director of the Little Traverse Conservancy, and he joined us today from Petoskey.

Listen to the full interview above.

Should garages be able to be turned into living spaces? It's happening in Dearborn and a possible clampdown in city ordinances is causing concern.

Plus, how much land should we preserve for our kids and grandkids? We took a look at one group that's successfully saving northern Michigan's natural treasures.

And, we spoke with a former Marine sniper-scout who's now a student at Michigan State University. He’s made a film to honor his fallen comrades.

Also, Pat Kelly, the granddaughter of the longest-serving lighthouse keeper on South Manitou Island, joined us to talk about the special lighthouse tour happening tomorrow.

First on the show, there has been a firestorm of protest in Highland Park after the discovery that a collection of history books, film and tapes from the city's high school was tossed in the trash.

Some 50 protestors gathered outside the high school in Highland Park, a member of the school board quit, and several people climbed into dumpsters to retrieve what they could.

The protests focused not only on the discarded books but on the way Highland Park School District's emergency manager Donald Weatherspoon is running things.

We started by turning to one of those people who searched through the dumpsters to retrieve as many books as possible. He is a Highland Park resident and an historian who helped build the collection of black history books, videos and movies.

Paul Lee joined us today from Highland Park.

Wikipedia.org

Did you know that May is the height of birding season?

Our State Bird is the robin, but there are literally hundreds of species who call Michigan home.

Teresa Duran knows about the wide assortment of birds we can find in our own back yards and gardens, and how important it is that we preserve land to keep these hundreds of species thriving.

She is the publisher of Nature Conservancy Magazine, and she joined us in the studio today to discuss the many different species of birds found in our state and what role they play in our environment.

To read the Nature Conservancy Magazine's story on birding, go to magazine.nature.org.

Listen to the full interview above.

Checking in on Michigan's bird populations

Apr 3, 2013
Wikipedia.org

Even as Mother Nature plays her own little cat & mouse game with us regarding whether or not spring has actually arrived, there is one unimpeachable source telling us that, despite the chilly temps and snow showers, spring is here.

No doubt you've heard the welcome sounds of birds chirping. That harbinger of warmer weather to come got us wondering: what's the State of the Michigan bird?

For those who may not know, the Michigan State Bird is the American Robin, which has been the official state bird declared by the Michigan Audubon Society since 1931.

Late last month, some of the state's top conservationists, biologists and professors came together for a statewide Michigan bird conference.

Steve Carmody/Michigan Radio

Michigan school children will soon study nature at a place many people might find surprising: Michigan International Speedway.

The auto racing track hosts crowds in excess of 100 thousand when NASCAR comes to Brooklyn twice each summer.

But Adrian College biology professor Jeff Lake says the other 50 weeks of the year, the track's campgrounds are ideal for exploring the ecosystems of the Irish Hills.

Lindsey Smith / Michigan Radio

A federal program that tries to get homeowners to invest in energy efficient home improvement projects is nearly over.

The program provides a detailed home energy audit for a super low price. Homeowners who want to make improvements based on the audit can take out a low interest loan.

Lindsey Smith / Michigan Radio

Saugatuck Township officials have agreed to settle a land-use case with a billionaire who’s trying develop property along Lake Michigan. Saugatuck Township voted Friday night to accept a legal settlement with Chesapeake Energy CEO Aubrey McClendon. The proposal settles a land-use dispute between the two.

Leaders in Michigan’s farm community are urging Senator Debbie Stabenow and the U.S. Department of Agriculture to change the rules for a land conservation program on farms. They say the current program could lead to higher food prices.

Photo by Rebecca Williams

At the moment, all royalties from oil and gas development in Michigan go into something called the Natural Resources Trust Fund. The trust fund money is used for improving wildlife habitat and parks and it's used to buy land for conservation.

But at a time when pretty much everything’s up on the chopping block... the future of that trust fund is in question.

State Representative Dave Agema (R) from Grandville has introduced legislation to divert oil and gas royalties away from the Trust Fund.

Under his proposal:

  • 60% of oil and gas royalties would go into the State Transportation Fund
  • 20% would go into the State Aeronautics Fund
  • the remaining 20% would go into the Natural Resources Trust Fund

The NRTF has been around since 1976. It was negotiated as part of a larger deal to allow oil and gas development in Michigan's Pigeon River Country State Forest.

I talked with the Michigan Environmental Council's policy director, James Clift, about this.  He says:

"Every corner of the state has obtained some of this trust fund money, either buying parkland or developing parkland, setting aside public land for hunting and fishing... It’s a very popular program and I think people are going to be very supportive of the way it’s spent currently."