Compost Katie offers an easy, low-cost way for residents of the Greater Lansing Area to take personal action against climate change. Organic waste such as food produces methane as it breaks down, a greenhouse gas far more powerful than carbon dioxide. By recycling food waste, our community can work together to use these scraps as fertilizer for local farmers, rather than poisoning our air, water, and land with our leftovers.
After the most recent rain, the cottonwoods of East Lansing have begun releasing their cottony seeds. The eastern cottonwood, Populus deltoides, is a huge hardwood tree native to the eastern U.S. and common in damp areas and the banks of rivers and streams of Michigan. A young tree can grow more than six feet a year and a 150-foot-tall, mature tree can develop a vase-shaped crown 75 feet across.
Above: Canada Geese adults and goslings yesterday on the MSU campus near the Red Cedar River
Spring is a time of graduation and, over the last several weeks, the young of East Lansing, outfitted in their youthful finery, have been trying out their wings and leaving the nest. Fledging and immaturity are risky times for young birds, as for all young animals. Sharp-eyed East Lansing residents may come upon young birds in the community this time of year as they try out their new environments.
While many people associate the Red Cedar with fish and various wildlife there is a wide diversity of aquatic macroinvertebrates, more commonly referred to as aquatic insects, that also call the river home. Eight major categories of insects spend at least part of their lifecycle in freshwater ecosystems, each playing a vital role in the food web.
This next weekend, May 22 and 23, 2015, brings another installment of the MSU Observatory’s Public Observing Nights. Weather permitting, the festivities will begin at 9 pm and visitors will be able to look through the MSU Observatory’s 24-inch reflecting telescope.
A fisherman proudly showing off his catch on the Red Cedar River
The Red Cedar River is 51 miles long, flowing directly through the heart of Michigan State University and eventually into the Grand River in Lansing. The river has been a symbol of the university since 1855 and is even referenced in the first lyrics of the fight song.
It is seen by some students and community members as an “eyesore” and “unhealthy.”
This week is the best time for viewing the Lyrid meteor showers in East Lansing. The early mornings of April 22 and 23 (Wednesday – Thursday) will be the best time for viewing. No one knows how frequent the meteors will be from year to year. For the last two years, the light of the moon has made viewing difficult, but this year the moon will not be up during the early morning hours of prime viewing so it should not interfere. If there are clear skies, East Lansing can hope for good meteor viewing.
The Red Cedar River extends approximately 51 miles, flowing through Fowlerville, Webberville, and Williamston before reaching East Lansing and its final destination, the Grand River in Lansing. The Red Cedar River watershed is approximately 472 square miles, a third of which is categorized as “urban” while the rest is predominantly agricultural.
Image, courtesy of NASA: City lights are at the horizon on the left, zodiacal light is the faint, white light that starts in the center and angles up and left, while the light of the Milky Way starts in the center and angles up and right.
In the astronomical spring days, about an hour before dawn, the observant East Lansing resident has a shot at seeing zodiacal light in the east.