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February 2018

The Great Blue Heron

The e-newsletter of Seven Ponds Nature Center

A Nature Sanctuary and

Environmental Education Center

Six More Weeks of Winter?

By this point in winter, we've seen the ebb and flow of the season, from storms which dump a foot or more of snow on the ground, to bitter cold temperatures and icy winds, to warm spells when the snow melts, the sun shines, and we may be tempted to start thinking about an early spring. Truth be told, winter will be with us through February and well into March. We are sure to see more snowstorms and feel the bitter bite of sub-zero wind chills. But, fear not, the days are getting longer, and before long Red-winged Blackbirds will be singing from their cattail stakeouts, Sandhill Cranes will be heard bugling overhead, and trees will bud forth with a new season of growth and hope. Until then, come out to Seven Ponds, where we always have a full-slate of fun, seasonal activities planned for children, adults, and families. We're in the midst of our Winter Series, which offers a unique program each Sunday throughout the month. And the trails are always open, dawn to dusk, for our members and during office hours for non-members. See you there!

Programs and activities

The fee for the following programs is the regular admission fee ($3.00 adults, no charge for children 12 and under, no charge for members), unless otherwise noted. Additional information can be found on the nature center's website (

Yoga at the Ponds

Wednesdays, February 7 - February 21

6:30 -7:30 p.m.

The "Peaceful Moon" series continues for newcomers, beginning yoga students, and returners. Participants should wear comfortable clothing and bring a yoga mat or blanket. Drop in fee is $12.00 ($10.00 for members). Call Seven Ponds to register.

Winter Science

Saturday, February 3, 1:00 to 3:00 p.m.

Winter is a great time to spend the afternoon doing cold and icy experiments. We will make snow volcanoes, do pine cone science, learn about blubber, and more! This will be fun for the whole family.

Winter Series #2

Colorado Birding: Prairies, Foothills, and Rocky Mountains

Presented by Daryl Bernard - SPNC Executive Director

Sunday, February 4, 2:00 p.m.

Colorado is well-known for its Rocky Mountain splendor - where scenic vistas abound around every bend in the road - but it is also a fantastic place to see some amazing birds. Join Daryl Bernard as he shares the birds and wildlife encountered on a recent Seven Ponds Birding Field Tour. We visited Pawnee National Grasslands, the foothills around Boulder and Fort Collins, Arapahoe National Wildlife Refuge in North Park, and Rocky Mountain National Park. Come along as we recount our extraordinary week in "Colorful Colorado."

group in RMNP while spotting the WTPT

Nature Journaling

Saturday, February 10, 2:00 p.m.

Come out to a wintry Seven Ponds and spend the afternoon looking for animal tracks and other evidence of wildlife. Then we'll be writing a story about what we saw. Come dressed for the weather and please bring a journal and your favorite pen or pencil. You could also bring colored pencils. Please pre-register by February 9 by calling the nature center.

Winter Series #3

Seven Ponds is Going to the Dogs!

Presented by Cathy Wesley - SPNC Naturalist

Sunday, February 11, 2:00 p.m.

Nights in February are some of the best times to hear wild canines! Coyotes are fascinating creatures - they once just lived out west and are now living everywhere, even in our largest cities - but are rarely seen. Join naturalist Cathy Wesley for a howling fun afternoon learning about the wily coyote and some of their canine relatives.


Snowshoeing at the Ponds

Saturday, February 17, 10:00 a.m. - 12:00 p.m.

Let's meander through the fresh fallen snow on snowshoes! You can bring your own or borrow a pair from the nature center. Pre-register by calling the nature center and let us know if you need snowshoes.


Sweetheart Night Hike

Saturday, February 17, 6:00 p.m. to 8:00 p.m.

You and your "Sweetie" can spend an evening snowshoeing under a waxing winter moon while seeing the beauty of Seven Ponds blanketed by snow. We will finish the evening next to a cozy campfire roasting marshmallows. Please call to register. Fee: $5.00 ($3.00 for members).

Winter Series #4

Tropical Nature

Presented by Science Alive

Sunday, February 18, 2:00 p.m.

The world's tropical rain forests are a vast, self-perpetuating reservoir of living things. Indeed, the Amazon Basin alone contains more than half of all life on earth. Science Alive's biologist, a specialist in rain forest ecology, will take us on an inspirational trip through tropical nature. We will meet some of the world's most amazing animals, find out how all life in the rain forest is intertwined, and discover how deforestation threatens this fragile equatorial wilderness.

Winter Series #5

The Zoo Experience

Presented by Katie McKiernan - SPNC Naturalist

Sunday, February 25, 2:00 p.m.

Zoos and aquariums have long been a place of wonder and discovery. They have also been the topic of some heated debates for as long as we have kept live animals. Do zoos and aquariums serve a conservation purpose or have they become a thing of the past? Naturalist Katie McKiernan (former zoo employee) will talk about the good and the bad surrounding these institutions and how you can make smart, informed choices to help protect animals all over the world. 

Winter Bird Walk #4

Wednesday, February 28, 8:00 a.m.

This late in the winter we may start seeing some early migrants joining the birds we've been enjoying all winter. After starting the morning watching the feeders from indoors, enjoying hot beverages, we'll venture out and see what the tail end of February brings our way on our final bird walk of the winter. Bring your binoculars and field guide, and be sure to dress for the weather.

Upcoming Club Meetings

Astronomy Club

Saturday, February 24, 7:00 p.m.

Contact club president John Lines at

Beekeeping Club

Tuesday, February 27, 6:30 p.m. social, 7:00 p.m. program

Birding Club

Tuesday, February 20, 7:00 p.m. Contact club president Nancy Kautz at

Camera Club

Friday, February 2 & Friday, February 16, 7:00 p.m.

Friends of Herbs

Wednesday, February 14, 10:00 a.m.

Reflections from Nature

"Wilderness is not a luxury but a necessity of the human spirit, and as vital to our lives as water and good bread. A civilization which destroys what little remains of the wild, the spare, the original, is cutting itself off from its origin and betraying the principle of civilization itself."

Edward Abbey

Desert Solitaire (1968)


Upcoming Events & Nature Center News


Great Wildflowers of the Great Smoky Mountains

April 15-20, 2018

Space remains - contact the nature center @ 810-796-3200.

Complete information about this natural history field tour can be found on our website HERE.


A birding field tour to Monterey, California

Sep. 10-17, 2018

Complete information about this birding field tour can be found on our website HERE.


Especially for Preschool Children 3 or 4 years old

Thursdays or Fridays

10:00 - 11:00 a.m.

Enjoy time with your child as we explore nature! All classes are hands-on as we learn through stories, games, crafts, hikes, and fun! We will finish each class with a themed, fun treat.

Fee: $7.00 per child ($6.00 for members). 

Pre-registration is required by calling 810-796-3200.

Shapes in Nature

February 15 or 16

Explorer Extraordinaire

March 15 or 16

Brilliant Rainbows

April 19 or 20

Link to our website.

For information about the nature center's location, hours, activities, programs for school and scout groups, interest groups, field tour itineraries, clubs, volunteering, and more.

Become a member or renew your membership

Members of Seven Ponds Nature Center help support the important conservation and education activities conducted by the center, including programs for thousands of school children. Members receive free admission, use of the trails from dawn to dusk, a quarterly newsletter, discounts on programs, use of the nature center library, notices about special programs, and benefits at selected nature centers.


Seven Ponds needs volunteers for many of its activities. You can help with special events, mailings, land stewardship, trail work, and more. You will find it extremely rewarding and it helps the nature center with its important work. 

These birds are...

Snow Buntings - flock on road
Snow Buntings, winter visitors from the far north, who sport a lot of white in their plumage both in their breeding and non-breeding (pictured above) coats. Look for these birds in weedy and grassy farm fields and along rural, farm country roads in flocks ranging from a few individuals to hundreds, where they feed on weed and grass seeds and add small bits of grit to aid their gizzards in grinding the seeds they eat. The birds pictured above are dressed in their fresh plumage. By the breeding season in the high arctic, the males will have worn down their feathers by actively rubbing them on snow, resulting in their sterling black and white tuxedo, pictured below. 
Snow Bunting - breeding plumage

Telephone: (810) 796-3200



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Seven Ponds Nature Center
3854 Crawford Road
Dryden, Michigan 48428

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