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SECOND DEADLINE APPROACHING - Holland In Bloom Bloomin’ Beautiful Best Front Yard Contest

June 24, 2011. Holland, Michigan. Holland in Bloom Bloomin’ Beautiful - Best Front Yard Contest second deadline is June 27, 2011. In this competition, neighbors and friends nominate yards to be their favorite choice for the “Bloomin’ Beautiful - Best Front Yard” in Holland. Winners will be announced via the Holland in Bloom website (www.hollandinbloom.org) and the Holland In Bloom Facebook page on July 1, 2011.  Nomination forms and a complete list of criteria can be found online at http://www.hollandinbloom.org/contest.html and at various downtown business locations. There are two more chances to win as the contest runs for the months of July and August.  The deadline for the August nominations is July 27, 2011.

A break from urban wildlife for a day at the beach

A break from urban wildlife for a day at the beach

LAKE MICHIGAN -  Even a dog has to take a break from all the excitement of his backyard kingdom.  On this sunny summer day, George, my husband, and I head to the beach.  Our friends, Nancy and Don, own a cottage on Lake Michigan, and they have invited the three of us to spend the day at the beach.

This is George’s first visit to Lake Michigan.  The waves were a little intimidating at first.  He would sniff the water, but he would not allow himself to get wet.  He wouldn’t even dip his paw into the water to check it out.  Then something caught his eye.  George noticed the beautiful white birds walking along the water’s edge.  He tried to get close to these interesting critters, but they would simply fly off.

Silly me, I thought seagulls only lived by the ocean, and then I moved to Michigan and discovered the Big Lake is home to a thriving population of seagulls.  I have since learned that seagulls or gulls will live al

Is Your Lakeshore Beach Safe for Swimming?

If you are curious about the safety of the beach you're swimming at, you can get the results of Ottawa County’s weekly water testing at http://www.miottawa.org/SwimmingAdvisory/beach.jsp .

You can also get Healhy Swimming tips provided by CDC at http://www.cdc.gov/healthywater/swimming/

Holland In Bloom Bloomin’ Beautiful Best Front Yard Contest Announces First Winner!

Holland In Bloom Bloomin’ Beautiful Best Front Yard Contest Announces First Winner!

June 14, 2011. Holland, Michigan. Congratulations to Lois and Charles Hunt, winners of the Holland In Bloom Bloomin’ Beautiful Best Front Yard Contest for June. Located at 619 Myrtle Avenue, an abundance of perennials are the highlight of this garden for all seasons. Tall evergreens provide year round color and sometimes hide perennial beds that are ready to burst into summer blooms. White iris with purple fringe, budding peonies about to unfurl into deep pink blossoms will soon replace spring bulbs and flowering shrubs. Later Michigan holly will add fall color with deep bronze foliage.

Urban Wildlife - Critters who taunt George - Meet Nutty

Urban Wildlife - Critters who taunt George - Meet Nutty

George is one of the most good-natured dogs you will ever meet.  I feel bad for him when “Nutty” and his squirrelly friends taunt him.  I think they realize they are safe around George since he is not very fast on his feet.  We have two types of squirrels living in our backyard: several Fox Squirrels and one American Red Squirrel.

Fox Squirrels are the largest squirrels in Michigan.  They are sometimes confused with the slightly smaller Eastern Gray Squirrel.  The easiest way to tell the difference between the two is Fox Squirrels have reddish-orange bellies, while their cousins, the Gray Squirrels, have white bellies.

Urban Wildlife - Meet Hawkeye

Urban Wildlife - Meet Hawkeye

Hawkeye” is the most feared creature in our urban forest.  I think the critters fear him even more than “Kitty”, the neighborhood’s gray tabby.

The critters (birds and the four legged kind) must have a sixth sense.  They will be happily eating and all of sudden they all scatter.  Several seconds later, Hawkeye will fly over the backyard or land in a nearby tree.

I think Hawkeye is a Cooper’s Hawk.  The most common urban hawk is the Cooper’s Hawk, which can be confused with the smaller look-alike Sharp-shinned Hawk.

Hope College CASA Summer Program to Explore “Farm to Table”

HOLLAND – The elementary-age students of the Children’s After School Achievement (CASA) program at Hope College will take a closer look at a crucial part of everyday life through “Farm to Table,” exploring where food originates and learning about making good nutritional choices.

More than 90 area students will be participating in CASA’s six-week summer session, which begins on Monday, June 20.  The program will include trips to area farms—with a chance to pick fresh blueberries—and a visit to Holland’s farmer’s market, as well as presentations focused on diet.