The Grosse Ile Nature & Land Conservancy held its annual Earth Day celebration on Earth Day, April 22, at Centennial Farm. Among the lessons learned:
Drop your drugs at the Grosse Ile Police Dept. Chief Joe Porcarelli noted that for years, the standard practice for disposing of old, leftover medications was to flush them down the toilet. The wastewater treatment system is unable to filter them from the water and they end up in the river, and surprisingly, in fish. The law enforcement reason for the collection, of course, is to prevent drugs from getting into the wrong hands for illegal purposes, as well as to protect children from accidental poisoning. However, it also protects the environment from these dangerous chemicals. The GIPD is open 24/7, so
medicine drop-offs can occur any time. The department accepts prescription, over the counter and other drugs (no liquids, inhalers or needles).
Recycle a lot and turn off the water when you’re brushing your teeth. Donna Depa of the GI Deparment of Public Services and a young assistant spoke about the island’s recycling program and gave tips on saving water.
Flushable wipes aren’t flushable. Joe Keefe of the DPS presented slides of the wastewater treatment plant and reiterated that, despite manufacturers’ claims, flushable wipes can clog up the homeowners’ pipes and they combine to create plugs in the wastewater treatment system. Nothing should be flushed except human waste and toilet paper.
Grosse Ile has its first Michigan Green School. Retired kindergarten teacher Colleen Gimpel provided the good news that Parke Lane Elementary School has achieved Michigan Green School certification.
Boy Scouts on Grosse Ile care about the environment. Six GI scouts are partnering with GINLC on island projects. Some are transforming an i-acre site near the high school parking lot into a usable space with picnic tables, a nature path and a rain garden, which is a sculpted depression designed to collect stormwater and store it to slowly seep into the ground, planted with wet loving native plants to attract pollinators.
It’s Easy Being Green-Reduce, Reuse, Recycle. GINLC board member Pamela Frucci provided insight into her “Yankee Frugality” lifestyle, which included starting the original recycling program on Grosse Ile when they would drive collected recyclables to a Wayne
County location, before the luxury of curb-side pickup. Pam truly lives her philosophy of “use it up, wear it out, make it do, or do without.”
Plant milkweed to save Monarch butterflies. Bert Urbani, GINLC board member, pinch hit for a speaker who was unable to attend. She spoke about the decline of Monarch Butterflies which are losing their habitat as more land is developed for people and agriculture, and climate change is resulting in extreme weather events that decimate their populations. Milkweed plants are essential since the caterpillars will only eat milkweed leaves. There are a variety of milkweed plants that homeowners can install on their property to attract Monarchs, as well as other nectar plants to sustain the adults and other pollinators.
Many GINLC members and friends volunteered with the children’s activities. Kids had fun as they learned these lessons:
There are tiny critters in the pond! The children participated in a scientific investigation using classroom magnifiers to observe the creatures that live in pond water, such as water boatmen, water striders, snails and many others.
How animals use their sense of smell. The “Scents Sense” activity gave kids a whiff of a scent such as vanilla or mint, and instructed them to act like an animal and find their “home” on the Centennial Farm lawn by finding the same smell hidden there.
Express your Earth Day feelings on a Kroger grocery bag, and use it later to carry your healthy food purchases from our local store.
In addition to the presentations and children’s activities, the GINLC provided refreshments, shirts and other gear for sale, and numerous educational displays and literature. Displays included:
Medicine Collection with Chief Porcarelli — literature and a collection box for the convenience of attendees.
Say No to Coal Tar Sealants on Your Driveway — information about the hazards of coal tar sealants to your family and the environment.
GI Dept of Public Services — Recycling, Water Conservation, Wastewater Treatment.
Boy Scout projects — what the Scouts and GINLC are doing to enhance Grosse Ile.
Healthy Lawns and Gardens — how to have a lush green lawn that is safe for your family, pets and the environment. Cut the grass high (3”) and let the clippings lie. Aerate. Reduce the amount of turf to what your family needs to play on, and replace with native plants that require less maintenance.
Rain Barrels — a sample rain barrel from Rain Barrels of Michigan in Romulus can collect hundreds of gallons of rain water for your garden and lawn.
Monarch Butterflies — a map and photos of the Monarchs’ astounding migration between Canada, the U.S. and Mexico.
Christianity and the Environment — photos of nature and quotations from Scripture about stewarding the Earth.
March for Science — information about the March(es) for Science taking place on Earth Day around the country. Included a letter from GINLC to Michigan’s congressional delegation declaring the organization’s support for sound science to support needed regulations to protect the Great Lakes. Several GINLC board members presented the letter to the officials’ staff members and participated in the March in Washington D.C.
For more information about the GINLC, contact GINLC President Peter Kantz at (734) 558-2149 or email@example.com, or Communications co-chair Roberta Urbani at (734) 671-0125.