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Thurston Nature Center News of April 6, 2015

Greetings - Thurston Nature Center Neighbors and Friends
“April ... hath put a spirit of youth in everything” -- William Shakespeare

Spring has arrived and with it comes a lot of wildlife activity at the Thurston Nature Center.

It is a reminder to all of us to be a little more considerate of all the animals by keeping the noise down, and making sure our pets are under control when walking around the nature center
Nature deserves our respect.




- The Thurston Pond and Wetland Restoration Project is Moving Forward.

o   Once again “many-many” thanks to all of you who have donated funds toward the campaign for Restoring The Thurston Nature Center and more specifically to the Pond and the Wetlands Restoration Project. We have managed to raise over $42,000……. and yes, we are still short of our goal of $60,000….. and yes we are still accepting donations. Every dollar helps….

Never too late to donate

§  Go to our Website ( and use our secure PayPal account.

§  Make out a check to "Thurston Nature Center – PTO” and mail to Thurston Nature Center, 2647 Antietam Court, Ann Arbor, MI 48105.

§  If you like fresh organic vegetables and want to support our neighbor - - sign up for  Green Things Farm - “Free Choice” – CSA Shares. A percentage of proceeds from each share sold goes toward the TNC!!!

o   Our construction and restoration plans are currently being reviewed by the City of Ann Arbor Planning Commission and City Council, as well as the State of Michigan Bureau of Construction Codes.

We are getting tremendous support from all city and state officials and representatives.

The petition to receive permission to proceed with the project is being expedited, and the fees for the Site Plan Review were waived by the recommendation of the City Planning Manager and Vote of City Council.

The current petition and application review schedule (if all goes well) with the City of Ann Arbor Planning Commission is as follows;

§  April 3rd – Planning Staff report is finalized – (done).

§  April 7th – Planning Commission public hearing, presentation of report, and hopefully a recommendation to proceed.

§  Planning Commission will submit the report, and (hopefully) a recommendation to City Council for appropriate action (vote).

§  April 20th – City Council considers recommendation and votes on the measure to proceed or not.

o   Our hope is that the City Council will approve the project, and we can complete this entire process by April 20th. (this includes the State of Michigan petition).

o   AAPS-Staff as well as City Council Members have been in touch with the AAPS-School Board on the intent and progress of our restoration efforts. Feedback has been very positive. Once the Site Plan petition has been approved by the City Planning Staff and City Council we will be able to solicit Request for Proposals from construction companies.

o   Our current goal is to select a construction company and with the AAPS-School Board’s approval, issue a contract before the end of May/beginning of June. This would mean we could start to “drawing-down” the water in the pond in early June.

o   The following is the a link to the latest Ann Arbor News (mLive) article on the TNC

Oak Savanna Restoration Project

o   Thanks to the efforts of our Land Stewards Jim Vallem and Mike Conboy and the many wonderful volunteers - a successful burn was conducted on the southern half of our Oak Savanna ecosystem. Wonderful photos of this event can be found on the TNC Facebook Page.

o   The Boy Scouts of America Troop1 who have a long history of helping to restore various ecosystems at the TNC (i.e. most recently - North Prairie, Amphitheatre, Southern Peninsula, and Oak Hickory Woodlot) will once again be helping us at the Oak Savanna.

o   A big thanks for the recent donations provided to help move this effort along - from the Wildflower Association of Michigan, Boy Scouts of America, Orchard Hills Athletic Club, and the Thurston Nature Center Committee (TNCC).

City of Ann Arbor - Natural Area Preservation has added Thurston Nature Center to their Turtle Volunteer Survey List

o   We are thrilled that NAP has added the TNC to their survey list. We have wanted to collaborate with NAP for some time and this is a great opportunity to work as a team.

o   If you want to help participate in surveying  the turtles at the Thurston Nature Center sign up for the NAP - Turtle Steward Kick-off & Training.

o   As part of the overall Pond and Wetland Restoration Project - the survey is major element of our goal to restore the amphibian and reptile population and improve the specie bio-diversity.

o   We are looking for volunteers to help us do this survey.

o   Check in the event calendar below, our Facebook Page, and for more information contact [email protected]

Thurston-PTO and TNC Collaborate with Dave Mifsud and Herpetological Resource and Management (HRM)

o   Thanks to our GREEN STEAM leader – Mary Manthey, the teachers, and staff at Thurston Elementary School - the GREEN-STEAM program at Thurston is rolling forward - with all their various programs.

o   The new rain garden – (by where the old baseball field back stop was standing) - is being used as an ecosystem to create various habitats. With the assistance of Dave Mifsud-HRM (,  Catie Wytychak-U of M & Office of the Washtenaw County Water Resources Commissioner (, and Zach Brinks-Josh’s Frogs ( the team will be implementing various hands on learning experiences for the students.

o   Students will be able to observe and participate in the project, which will encompass elements of STEAM as it pertains to their grade’s core curriculum

§  Design of a rain garden

§  Creating a habitat

§  Development of American Toad eggs, larvae, and toadlets with the final goal of releasing them to the rain garden after metamorphosis.

o   For the story on building the site - check-out the Ann Arbor news (mLive) article (9-28-14)

 Volunteers Needed

o   If you have a passion to help make the TNC a success story and want to get involved but not sure what is needed - contact Frank - [email protected]

o   We are in desperate need for volunteers to help in a variety of different areas – for example

§  Developing, launching, and using different media (i.e. outreach programs, creating & scheduling events, maintain newsletter/website/Facebook page…etc…)

§  Championing one of our 10 ecosystems

§  Help design interpretive signs and kiosks

§  Exercise with us – cleaning up brush piles, clearing/rescuing trees,  and getting rid of invasive

§  Landscape designing of main entrances and amphitheater

§  Liaison to the Dog Walkers

§  Education – work with the GREEN-STEAM team

o   If you have your own wish let us know


(if I left something off please let me know – I will be adding these and any new events to our Facebook Page)

- April 7th - City of Ann Arbor Planning Commission Public Hearing

o   Planning Commission Public Hearing and Recommendation on the TNC Pond and Wetland Restoration Project

o   City Hall – starts at 7:00 PM

o   For more information check the site -

o   You can also contact [email protected]

- April 11th & 12th - Boy Scouts of America Troop1 – Oak Savanna Restoration Work

- April 15th - TNC Public Meetiing

o   Sponsored by the Thurston Nature Center – Chance to learn and ask questions - all about the TNC Restoration Projects

o   At the Thurston Elementary School - (7:00 to 9:00PM)

o   More detail information to follow

- April 18th - Kiwanis Work Day at the TNC

Come join Kiwanis and possibly members of the Circle K Concordia and U of M students - to help us at the Thurston Nature Center

-April 18th – City of Ann Arbor - NAP Turtle Steward Kick-off & Training

o   Chance to learn how to identify turtles and participate in the TNC Survey of our turtles.

o   Check out the web site - -

o   Limited space….so….please register by April 16. For more information or to register call NAP 734-794-6627, or send them an email at [email protected]

o   Tell them you want to be part of the Thurston Nature Center Survey team

April 20th - City Council Meeting (Tentative)

o   City of Ann Arbor City Council’s review of the Planning Commission’s TNC recommendation

o   Council votes to either reject or allow the TNC Pond and Wetland restoration project to proceed

o   City Hall – starts at 7:00 PM

o   More detail information to follow

 April 20th – April 25th - Celebration of Earth Week and National Environmental Education Week
– a full week of daily events – TNC Working group currently being establish - to help organize various activities – details to follow

o   Earth Day = April 22nd

o   Arbor Day = April 24th

o   Thurston School Activity schedule

§  K/1st- veggie garden with Deanna Sakamoto , Friday April 24 (class schedule will come soon)

§  2nd- release of toads, will not happen this week, so should we set up a different activity

§  3rd-clean up the rain-gardens

§  4th-clean up brush

§  5th- create a new trail

April 25th & 26th - TNC – Annual Spring Stewardship and Work Days

 May 7th - TNCC Monthly Meeting - Open to all interested in the TNC!

 May 9th – Yale University - Yale Alumni and Friends a Day of Service at the TNC

Thanks to Andrew Port – Class of 85 – how cool is this - Yale alumni and friends around the world coming together to serve their local communities and in this case the Thurston Nature Center

Participants will assist in clearing invasive plants and brushes in the wetlands around the Thurston Pond Nature Center – in preparation for the pond restoration

Come join us 9:00am to 2:00pm - - check out the site……

For more information you can contact Andrew at [email protected]

No worries Yale is not in the Big Ten!

May 16th - “Kiwanis & Thurston 5 K RUN/WALK & 1 MILE FAMILY FUN RUN”

o   A 50 year - Celebratory – Co-sponsored by Thurston Elementary PTO and Kiwanis A2 Morning Edition  - - - the Run and Walk starting at Thurston Elementary School parking lot - going around Bromley, Orchard Hills, and Maplewood and ending at the Thurston Nature Center – Stapp Amphitheatre

o   Check attachment for more information


Thanks again for all your support.

For updates, more details and additional information  you can always check the Thurston Nature Center website at and Thurston Nature Center on Facebook at


Contact [email protected] and/or call Frank at (734-369- 0992)

Stay in touch + Get involved + Pass the word on + Create awareness