Summer hiking is a delight for the senses. This season of bounty and growth provides interest no matter where one strolls at the Center. Vegetation is lush, using the heat of the summer months to grow, blossom and produce seeds for dispersal. Creatures large and small are actively raising young and defending territory. Look too, for people monitoring summertime wildlife and habitats. Feel free to stay longer during our extended summer hours, and delve deeper by signing up for one of our unique summertime programs.
Animals of Summer
In July, gaze into any of our ponds to enjoy a ballet of life. Tadpoles, fish and frogs dart between vegetation, macroinvertebrates cluster and spin in unexpected patterns, and turtles bask on nearby logs. As you saunter through the leafy shade of our woodland paths, listen for the sounds of young birds calling for food from their parents. Look from forest floor to tree canopy and you can see a spectrum of greens filling this forest habitat.
As summer progresses, toads and frogs, as well as their predators, can be found around the edges of our ponds. Look carefully along the bank of Mystery Pond, for a frequent visitor, a Green Heron. When the pond water warms to about 70°, listen for the bull-like bellow of bullfrogs, and the staccato “gunk” of the Green Frogs as they look for love.
Escape the Heat
When temperatures rise in August, head down to our Lake Michigan shoreline to enjoy some cooling breezes. While beach combing, look for fossil reminders of an ancient Silurian reef, uncovered on Lake Michigan’s coast.
Thermals created by the lake provide an excellent migratory corridor in September for migrating neo-tropical birds, and migrating insects. September also offers a riot of color in all of our prairies. The gentle hum of pollinators moving between blossoms swaying in the cooling breeze of our favorite great lake, provides a relaxing soundtrack.
It is always fun to gain a wider perspective of just how great Lake Michigan is, from atop our 60-foot tower. While on top, you may see hints of fall color in September, reminding us that autumn is on the way.