New Plans and Animal Tales

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By Sue Bouchard

RCWO?s meeting in May was led by Jeanette Henderson, Program Manager of Calvin Colleges Ecosystem Preserve. The weather was perfect for a walk through the grounds. RCWO members had an educational and fun tour of the Bunker Interpretive Center (BIC) property.

Before starting our outside tour, Jeanette provided the history of the Ecosystem Preserve. The Preserve is comprised of 100 acres?one quarter of the Calvin’s campus. Forty acres are public and 60 acres are private.

As a bonus she shared an overview of the future, exciting upgrades and enlargement of the Ecosystem Preserve. more trails, handicap accessible areas, a building for volunteers, and the renewing of existing areas are all included in the plans. Starting at the front of the BIC proposed changes include incorporating the existing paved circle into a native plant educational demonstration garden.

Our tour included a glimpse beyond a gated area into a research area. It was great to learn about areas that the new project will be impacting.

In true educator style, Jeanette brought along her trusty bag of animal shells and skins and had some humorous (educational of course) stories about animal activities captured on videocams when no humans were around. The cameras have revealed several unexpected animals in this near urban setting, such as coyote, gray fox and red fox. Of course deer are observed as well as mink and other animals. Jeannette also told a lively story of a resident vulture family in the Preserve.

American Squaw Root seen at the Preserve. It is a parasitic plant that derives its nutrients solely from the roots of oaks.


Jeanette brought us into a restricted area of the Preserve that is used for research.


Jeanette recalling the story of the vulture family at the Preserve.