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April 2019


Restoring Soil Communities

This event has ended
Monday, April 15th, 2019
to (Eastern Time)

This month’s presentation from fellow Kalamazoo Wild Ones member, Mike Klug, is all about soils and stewardship. We’ll hear about their current condition, causes of degradation, and impacts of current soil management on the soil microbial and animal communities.  He will also discuss potential solutions that include reduction of soil erosion, increasing soil organic matter, and alternatives to our food production system.

BIO: Mike is Professor Emeritus of MSU.  He spent 35 years at MSU’s Kellogg Biological Station as a Microbial Ecologist. During his tenure, he conducted research on soils, lake and marine sediments and the gastrointestinal tract of insects. He and his wife Carol reside on 80 acres in Southern Barry Co. They have propagated and planted thousands of Native Plants on their property.  They are also avid Organic Gardeners and grow diverse crops of fruits and vegetables.

May 2019


A Fresh Look at Spring Ephemerals Through an Artist's Eyes and Native Plant Exchange

This event has ended
Monday, May 20th, 2019
to (Eastern Time)

Shake off winter and admire what’s in bloom on a spring hike led by the fantastically creative botanical artist, Georgia Donovan at our local Izaak Walton League Chapter. Against a backdrop of wooded hills, you’ll learn more about one of the oldest conservation organizations in the United States and ways to incorporate artistic elements like composition in the coming year. Sketch pads welcome!

We will meet in the Lodge where Georgia will show us her artwork. The program will be all about "seeing and noticing" nature.

Then we will take a hike to the pond and through the woods to their native plant garden. Come dressed for the weather, wear old shoes in case it is muddy. Bring bug spray. If you don't want to walk through the woods, you can stay in the Lodge for a while and then meet us down in the native plant garden.

Local artist Georgia Donovan with the Native Plant Education Garden sign featuring her artwork at 920 Cherry Street SE, Grand Rapids.

Izaak Walton League - The Dwight Lydell Chapter of the Izaak Walton League of America (IWLA) is located on about 39 acres of wooded hills in northern Kent County. It’s on Myers Lake Road, about a half mile north of the Cannonsburg Ski Resort. The League is a diverse group of some 40- 50,000 men, women and children, entire families dedicated to protecting our nation's soil, air, woods, waters, and wildlife. Their Conservation Mission is “To conserve, maintain, protect and restore the soil, forest, water and other natural resources of the United States and other lands; to promote means and opportunities for the education of the public with respect to such resources and their enjoyment and wholesome utilization.”

Annual Native Plant Exchange (In the parking lot after the hike)
Bring favorite native plants from your yard to share with your fellow Wild Ones and take some home for yourself. All plants are FREE!

Native Plant Exchange Rules of Etiquette:
The purpose of the Plant Exchange is to foster natural landscaping with native plants. Please bring plants to share from your garden that you know to be true native species, please no invasive exotics!

Respect Plants. Plants may not get planted immediately, pot them up well so they can survive.
Please provide species labels for the transplants and label them with moisture/sun requirements.
Respect Yourself. Just starting out? Don't have plants to bring? Of course you may still take plants! In fact, that is one of the main purposes of the Plant Exchange. We all had to get started somehow, and when native plants start doing really well in your yard, bring some back to share. It is the "Plant It Forward" concept!
Respect Others. If there are only a few pots of a particular species, please take only one so that others may have a chance to get one too.

June 2019


If We Build It They Will Come: Research Results on Prairie Management

This event has ended
Monday, June 17th, 2019
to (Eastern Time)

The history of Michigan’s prairies and diverse wildlife they support has been fraught with conflict since a vast majority of native grasslands were converted to agriculture. Dedicated experts like our presenter, Dr. Rob Keys, have been researching ways we can care for the land and become the good news for its future. You won’t want to miss his remarkable results, and what they mean for your personal journey of stewardship.

BIO: Dr. Rob Keys
Dr. Keys teaches courses in ecology, advanced field studies, biology, ornithology and education at Cornerstone University. He also oversees student teachers, internships and practicum. In addition, he is also on faculty at Au Sable Institute of Environmental Studies in Northern Michigan

To RIDE SHARE meet at 5:20 pm in the parking lot in front of Calvin Ecosystem Preserve & Native Gardens, 1750 E Beltline Ave SE, Grand Rapids, MI 49546. Leaving there at 5:30 pm. Pierce Cedar Creek Institute is an hour drive. 

Directions from Grand Rapids/Hastings: 
Travel south on M-37, through Hastings, to Cloverdale Road, approximately nine miles. Look for the Michigan Department of Transportation sign "Pierce Cedar Creek Nature Preserve". (If you have reached the village of Dowling, you have gone one mile too far). Turn right (west) onto Cloverdale Road and travel approximately 2.5 miles (portions of the road are unpaved). The entrance is on the left (south).

July 2019


Sixth Annual Garden Tour, Native Plant Sale and Fundraiser

This event has ended
Monday, July 15th, 2019
to (Eastern Time)

Spread the word about our July 15 event. Download our event flyer
Wild Ones Garden Tour & Native Plant Sale 2019 pdf

More information about the event:

Native Plant and Shrub Sale
featuring 13 species of perennials and 5 species of shrubs
Perennials $6 quart pots
Shrubs $8, $12, $15 depending on pot size (quart,  gallon, 1.5 gallons)
Cash, Check, or Credit Card
Native Garden Experts on hand to answer questions
Native Plant Education table with handouts
Book Sale - The Midwestern Native Garden: Native Alternatives to Nonnative Flowers and Plants by Charlotte Adelman and Bernard L. Schwartz, $20 (list price $26.95)
Silent Auction - Two original oil paintings by Barbara Leighty and the Friendly Bees beeBOX™
Fundraiser for Wild Ones across the street at Brewery Vivant. The Brewery will donate $1 for every beer sold on 7/15/19.

The Native Plant Education Garden is located in front of the Inner City Christian Federation Building

Native Plant Species list*
2019 WO Plant Species List pdf

Actea rubra / Red Baneberry
Aralia racemosa / Spikenard
Asarum canadense / Wild Ginger
Asclepias incarnata / Swamp Milkweed
Asclepias tuberosa / Butterfly Weed
Baptisia bracteata / Cream Wild Indigo
Clematis occidentalis var. occidentalis / Purple Clematis
Eryngium yuccifolium / Rattlesnake Master Just added!
Eurybia macrophylla / Big Leaf Aster
Liatris cylindracea / Dwarf Blazing Star
Penstemon digitalis / Foxglove Beardtongue Just added!
Polygonatum biflorum / Smooth Solomon’s seal
Ruellia humilis / Wild Petunia Just added!
Sisyrinchium albidum / blue-eyed grass
Solidago rigida / Stiff Goldenrod
Zizia aurea / Golden Alexanders

Diervilla lonicera / Bush Honeysuckle
Hypericum prolificum / Shrubby St. John’s Wort
Lindera benzoin / Spicebush
Sambucus canadensis / Black Elderberry
Viburnum dentatum / Arrowwood Viburnum

*Species subject to availability at time of sale


Fundraiser for River City Wild Ones (WORC)
at Brewery Vivant, 925 Cherry St  SE, Grand Rapids
Once again, Brewery Vivant has kindly offered to donate $1 for every beer sold during pub hours 3-11 pm on July 15 to our chapter.

Round up your friends and head over to Brewery Vivant at 925 Cherry Street SE, for a brew before or after you visit the Garden Tour and Native Plant Sale.

CHEERS for Brewery Vivant!

Silent Auction to be held at July 15 Garden Tour & Native Plant Sale

Three items have been donated for the auction:

Framed, original oil painting by local artist, Barbara Leighty (21” x 25”) Valued at  $500.
Unframed, original oil painting by local artist, Barbara Leighty (7” x 5”) Valued at $125.
the Friendly Bees beeBOX™, an ecologically beneficial home for native pollinators valued at $93.

Bidding starts at 5 pm and ends at 7:15 pm.
Need not be present to win. 

The WORC Chapter thanks Barbara Leighty and  WORC member Gabrielle Tremblay Sullivan of the Friendly Bees for their generous donations.


Book for Sale at our July 15th Garden Tour & Plant Sale
The Midwestern Native Garden: Native Alternatives to Nonnative Flowers and Plants 

By Charlotte Adelman and Bernard L. Schwartz, Ohio University Press
$20 (list price $26.95)

Winner of the 2012 Helen Hull Award, presented by the National Garden Clubs.

Midwestern gardeners and landscapers are becoming increasingly attracted to noninvasive regional native wildflowers and plants over popular nonnative species. The Midwestern Native Garden offers viable alternatives to both amateurs and professionals, whether they are considering adding a few native plants or intending to go native all the way. Native plants improve air and water quality, reduce the use of pesticides, and provide vital food and reproductive sites to birds and butterflies that nonnative plants cannot offer, helping bring back a healthy ecosystem.

The authors provide a comprehensive selection of native alternatives that look similar or even identical to a range of nonnative ornamentals. These are native plants that are suitable for all garden styles, bloom during the same season, and have the same cultivation requirements as their nonnative counterparts. Plant entries are accompanied by nature notes setting out the specific birds and butterflies the native plants attract.

The Midwestern Native Garden will be a welcome guide to gardeners whose styles range from formal to naturalistic but who want to create an authentic sense of place, with regional natives. The beauty, hardiness, and easy maintenance of native Midwestern plants will soon make them the new favorites.

August 2019


Wild Ones River City Chapter Walkabout - August 10

This event has ended
Saturday, August 10th, 2019
to (Eastern Time)

You are invited to come and stroll around Keasha Palmer's native garden in Belmont. Keasha will be there to answer questions about how she created her garden.


Restoring Native Habitat in an Urban Setting

This event has ended
Monday, August 19th, 2019
to (Eastern Time)

Join us for a mile-long tour of an exceptional local example of restoration at the Highlands, a former golf course on it’s way back to nature. Justin Heslinga, from the Land Conservancy of West Michigan, will share how to reimagine city spaces as the habitat they were meant to be and ways you can participate in their transformation.

Justin is the Stewardship Director at the Land Conservancy of West Michigan.

The Highlands is a collaborative project between the Land Conservancy and Blandford Nature Center. For over a century, the land has been extensively watered and fertilized. The restoration of this landscape will bring about substantial improvements to water and air quality in the city and will help in the city’s goal to increase forest canopy. The project also offers educational opportunities and will be a model for large-scale urban restoration in the region.

Wear comfortable footwear suitable for walking/hiking. Bring bug spray.

Parking is available in the large lower lot. Parking in the circle drive lot in front of the clubhouse and the lot behind the clubhouse is reserved for building tenants only.

September 2019


Soil Amendments - Beyond Compost

This event has ended
Monday, September 16th, 2019
to (Eastern Time)

Presented by Tom Wilkinson, Author

How can we plant smarter and become better global citizens with compost? Author Tom Wilkinson will share ways you can reduce food waste, and improve the building blocks of your garden through the many benefits of vermicomposting, and applying the ancient but newly discovered soil amendment called biochar.

Starting with a concern that too much organic material was carelessly heading for landfills, Tom began separating his household waste and composting the organic material. The next step was to improve his compost by introducing redworms and designing a satisfactory vermicomposting system. He sold the vermicompost at the local Farmers Market and wrote his first book, Beyond Compost. He met a producer of biochar and began blending a product called “BioPreta”. In 2013 Wilkinson wrote a 2nd edition called Beyond Compost, +: Converting Organic Waste Beyond Compost Using Worms ... PLUS and expanded the marketing program. He was pleasantly surprised as customers returned with reports of remarkable results and has continued to study this process to better understand why this ancient blend produces such good results.

The program is FREE and open to all.

October 2019


Native Plants to Attract Winter Birds

This event has ended
Monday, October 21st, 2019
to (Eastern Time)

Presented by Melanie Manion, Natural Resources Management Supervisor, Ottawa County Parks

Think beyond the bird feeder! At this program, we’ll learn from Melanie Manion about what you can plant for more diversity among the winged winter visitors to your garden.

Melanie started working for Ottawa County Parks in 2011 and is responsible for coordinating the protection, stewardship and restoration of natural resources on park properties and for the development of a comprehensive parks volunteer program. Melanie has a B.S. in Biology and Environmental Science and a M.S. in Conservation Biology from Central Michigan University.

Banner photo: Cardinal © Tony Campbell -

November 2019


Annual Meeting - Sweet and Savory Potluck

This event has ended
Monday, November 18th, 2019
to (Eastern Time)

Come enjoy a relaxing evening with your fellow Wild Ones!
The evening will include:

Sweet and Savory Potluck
Rolling slide show of photos from 2019.
State of our Chapter, with highlights of the past year and goals we have met.
Vote on 2020 officers.
Adoption of Bylaws.
Looking Forward—2020 Programs and Conference 2022
Break out sessions/discussion groups on topics of interest to members

Sweet & Savory Potluck Details

Main dish (meat and vegetarian) will be provided
If your name begins with A-M, please provide an appetizer or savory side dish
If your name begins with N-Z, please bring a dessert.
To reduce waste, please bring your own table service. (Plate and flatware. Cups are provided.)

We are saving you a seat at our table!
Bunker Interpretive Center is located in the Calvin Ecosystem Preserve and Native Gardens on the campus of Calvin University, 1750 East Beltline Ave SE, Grand Rapids, MI 49546

Free event. No registration necessary.

Visit our 2022 Programs listing listing of all programs for the current year.

All programs will begin at 6:30 pm on the third Monday of each month (unless otherwise specified). No programs are scheduled in December and January. Check our monthly calendar on this page for event locations and more information.

Non-members are always welcome, but we encourage your membership to help bring the programs we all enjoy!