What’s Up with WOK, March 2024

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Hi everyone. This is an update on WOK activities as of our March 18 board meeting.

Keweenaw Native Plant Symposium Saturday Morning

Our featured speaker is David Mizejewski, author of Attracting Birds, Butterflies, and Other Backyard Wildlife. We’re also excited to host Sigrid Resh, who will speak on the new Go Beyond Beauty program, and Maddie O’Donnell, who will talk on the Marquette NRCD’s efforts to establish native gardens.

It’s all free and on Zoom, so you can watch in your jammies. Learn more and register here.

No mo’ No Mow?

At the meeting, board member Polly presented on native landscaper Benjamin Vogt’s thoughts on No-Mow May, in which gardeners let their lawns grow for the month to provide flowers for pollinators.

He discourages gardeners from participating, because unmown lawns appear unsightly to some neighbors and cause bad relations; few native plants come up in those lawns; and while they attract bugs, amphibians, and other creatures, many are later killed when mowing resumes.

Upcoming events: talks on wildflowers, native gardening, winter sowing; April read along

Naturalist Alex Graef will do a Zoom presentation on wildflowers of the Keweenaw before our meeting April 16. His talk will be open to the public.

Dr. Shelley Janskey to speak on the adventures of a plant geneticist landscaping with native plants before our May 21 meeting.

Marcia will give a short talk on winter sowing at the Seed Swap, which will be at the Portage Lake District Library in Houghton on Saturday, March 30 from 10:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m.

Our read along this year is on David Mizejewski’s book Attracting Birds, Butterflies, and Other Backyard Wildlife. We’ll meet on Wednesdays, April 10 and 17, on Zoom at 5:30 p.m. and in person at 6:30 p.m. at the Portage Lake District Library. You can register here . Books are available at local libraries, the usual outlets, and at a reduced price from Keweenaw Wild Ones.

Also, 40 people attended Marcia’s “Why Natives?” talk March 6 at the Calumet Public Library. She is planning to present a seed ball workshop there in the fall.

Display table at PLDL

Board member Ruth Gleckler set up a display table at the Portage Lake District Library in conjunction with our read along and the March 30 Seed Swap. Thanks, Ruth!

Symbiotic Schoolyard

Symbiotic Schoolyard is an eight-week ecology unit for middle school science classes that revolves around planting a native garden. The WOK board has expressed interest in buying one or two licenses for local teachers at a cost of $350 each, if the unit meets their needs. Marcia met with the unit developer and staff of the Copper Country ISD to discuss the project; the next step will be to recruit interested teachers. WOK can also provide technical assistance and possibly help fund the purchase of plants for the gardens. Stay tuned.

New secretary on board

Polly has agreed to serve as WOK secretary. Many thanks to Allyson Jabusch, who has stepped up to the plate for about a year not to fill this critical position. Polly will be performing the secretary’s duties as defined in our bylaws, which means that she will be handling our elections for board of directors. She will be up for election at our April board meeting.

What’s up with our gardens

You wouldn’t think there’s be much going on, what with the resurgence of winter and all. Nevertheless…

Polly reports that the Northern Lights Clubhouse in Hancock is interested in expanding their garden area, including site prepping, design, and winter sowing, etc.

The city of Houghton will be installing our garden signs (donated by Craig Waddell and Vicky Bergvall – thanks!) at the Kestner Park Native Garden. Students will be available to work at the site on April 13.

Polly met with the youth group at Glad Tidings in Hancock and collected their requests about what plants they would like to include in their native garden. She asked students to think about garden from the point of view of a bug and had  a nice conversation about growing a garden with nature in mind.