Bluffton/Fort Wayne South KOA Offering Free Night of Camping on May 14

8th Annual Event Also Fundraising for KOA Care Camps for Children With Cancer

The Bluffton/Fort Wayne South KOA Campground, located at 1625 West Lancaster Street in Bluffton, is offering a free night of camping on Saturday, May 14 to all campers who stay at the campground as paying guests on Friday, May 13 at part of KOA’s 8th Annual Come Kamp & Care With Us Weekend.

Thousands of North American camping families will be headed to their favorite Kampgrounds of America locations for this very special weekend, the official start of the 2011 summer camping season.

Last year, more than 25,000 camping families stayed at nearly 400 participating KOA campgrounds in the U.S. and Canada. The event, created in 2004, provides a free night of camping on Saturday, May 14, to all campers staying as paying guests on Friday, May 13.

KOA campgrounds have several fun events planned that are designed to both entertain campers, and help raise funds to support KOA Care Camps, a system of 44 specialized summer camps around North America that provide a true summer camp experience for children with cancer and their siblings. Last year, more than $370,000 was raised during the Come Kamp & Care With Us event to benefit KOA Care Camps.

“This event is a wonderful way for our campers to start their summer camping seasons, and at the same time help raise money to send these very special kids to great summer camps,” said KOA CEO Jim Rogers. “This event has proven to be extremely popular with both our KOA franchise owners and their campers, and we’re happy to offer it again this year.”

Campers can to go to <> to see a list of participating campgrounds and make their reservations. Some campgrounds will be offering their kabins and luxury Lodges for the event, so campers are encouraged to not wait to make their reservations.

Kampgrounds of America, founded on the banks of the Yellowstone River in 1962, is now the world’s largest system of open-to-the-public family campgrounds. KOA has 475 locations in the United States and Canada.

Michigan DNR seeks volunteers in SE Michigan for removing invasive plant

DNR Seeks Volunteers for Stewardship Workdays in April in Southeast Michigan to Combat Garlic Mustard

The Michigan Department of Natural Resources is looking for volunteers in southeast Michigan for stewardship workdays in April at state parks and recreation areas. The volunteers will help the DNR remove garlic mustard, a non-native invasive plant.

This activity will help protect and restore unique natural areas in southeast Michigan state parks and recreation areas, especially woodlands. Volunteering for these workdays is a great way to get outside after a long winter, enjoy the lovely spring weather and get some fresh air.

Dates, times and locations of the workdays are as follows:
  • Saturday, April 2, Island Lake Recreation Area (Livingston County), 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. Sunday, April 3, Highland Recreation Area (Oakland County), 1 to 4 p.m.
  • Saturday, April 9, Bald Mountain Recreation Area (Oakland County), 9 a.m. to noon
  • Sunday, April 10, Pinckney Recreation Area (Washtenaw County), 10 a.m. to 1 p.m.
  • Wednesday, April 13, Highland Recreation Area (Oakland County), 10 a.m. to 1 p.m.
  • Saturday, April 16, Bald Mountain Recreation Area (Oakland County), 9 a.m. to noon
  • Saturday, April 16, Brighton Recreation Area (Livingston County), 10 a.m. to 1 p.m.
  • Sunday, April 17, Island Lake Recreation Area (Livingston County), 10 a.m. to 1 p.m.
  • Sunday, April 17, Algonac State Park (St. Clair County), 1 to 4 p.m.
  • Saturday, April 23, Waterloo Recreation Area (Washtenaw County), 10 a.m. to 1 p.m.
  • Wednesday, April 27, Waterloo Recreation Area (Washtenaw County), 10 a.m. to 1 p.m.
  • Saturday, April 30, Sterling State Park (Monroe County), 10 a.m. to 1 p.m.

Volunteers should bring appropriate clothing for outdoor work, including long pants, boots, gloves, sunscreen and drinking water.

These efforts are part of the Early Detection and Rapid Response (EDRR) initiative to control invading species and help protect the natural heritage of Michigan state parks in the process. For more information about getting involved in the EDRR initiative, including how to identify and report invasive plants, visit the DNR website at

For more information about the specific tasks at each location and to obtain directions, visit the DNR website at and link to the “Calendar of Volunteer Stewardship Workdays.” All volunteers are asked to register using the form available on the web site. Any questions should be directed to Laurel Malvitz-Draper at or call 248-359-9057.

Public Meeting for the Escanaba to Hermansville Rail-Trail Set for April 5

The Department of Natural Resources will host a public meeting Tuesday, April 5, to review proposed alternatives on the future use of the Escanaba to Hermansville Rail-Trail. The meeting will begin at 6 p.m. and will take place at the Bay College Heirman University Center, located at 2001 North Lincoln Rd. in Escanaba.

The meeting will open with a short presentation of the proposed alternatives, followed by an open comment period during which attendees may share their suggestions concerning the Escanaba to Hermansville Grade. The proposed alternatives will also be available for review on the DNR website,, after April 1, 2011.

The Escanaba to Hermansville Grade, also known as the “Hermanaba Trail,” is a former railroad grade acquired by the state in late 2007 with a Michigan Natural Resources Trust Fund grant. The DNR is the designated agent in matters related to the management, operation and use of the grade for recreation trail purposes.

Anyone unable to attend the public meeting who would like to provide comments may do so in writing until May 5, 2011. Written comments should be sent to: Department of Natural Resources, 6833 Hwy 2, 41 & M-35, Gladstone, Michigan 49837, Attn: Eric W. Thompson, Unit Manager. Comments will also be received electronically at

Persons with disabilities needing accommodations for the Escanaba to Hermansville Rail-Trail public input meeting should contact Eric Thompson at 906-786-2354, extension 142, a minimum of five business days before this meeting. Requests made less than five business days before this event may not be accommodated.

The Michigan Department of Natural Resources is committed to the conservation, protection, management, use and enjoyment of the state’s natural and cultural resources for current and future generations. For more information, go to

Michigan DNR: New Fishing License required April 1

The Michigan Department of Natural Resources reminds anglers that a new license season begins Friday, April 1

Anglers have a choice of a variety of licenses. Anglers should know that lake sturgeon, lake herring, amphibians, reptiles, and crustaceans have been added to the all-species fishing license requirement. Anglers may opt for a 24-hour license (good for all species), 72-hour license (good for all species), a season-long restricted license (good for all species except trout, salmon, lake sturgeon, lake herring, amphibians, reptiles or crustaceans), or a season-long, all-species license (good for all species). An additional (free) lake sturgeon tag is required of anglers who fish for or target lake sturgeon. License prices remain unchanged from 2010.

A number of new regulations have been adopted for 2011-12, including a new possession limit, which allows anglers to possess, in addition to one day’s daily possession limit of fish, an additional two daily possession limits of fish taken during previous fishing days provided that the additional limits of fish are processed (canned, cured by smoking or drying, or frozen).

There is an additional 81 miles of designated trout streams that had new modifications to the type of gear allowed. Some of those streams have seasonal gear restrictions. Please see the 2011 Michigan Fishing Guide for details.

There are two changes to the 2011 Fishing Guide that go into effect beginning May 1.
  1. The daily possession limit for walleyes on Lake Erie will increase to six (up from five). 
  2. The maximum size for lake trout and splake in management unit MH-1 in northern Lake Huron will be 24 inches (down from 27 inches), except one fish may measure 32 inches or longer.

Both changes were made when new data became available after the 2011 Fishing Guide went to press.

For more information, visit the DNR website at

The Michigan Department of Natural Resources is committed to the conservation, protection, management, use and enjoyment of the state’s natural and cultural resources for current and future generations. For more information, go to

Cedar Point Seeks A Very Important Family

One lucky family will get special treatment during Cedar Point's opening day

SANDUSKY, Ohio –- The search begins.

Cedar Point’s Opening Day may still be a few weeks away, but the historic amusement park/resort in Sandusky, Ohio, is currently looking for a Very Important Family (V.I.F.) to help it celebrate the opening of the 2011 season on Saturday, May 14.

Now through April 15, Cedar Point’s biggest and most loyal fans can log on to to enter the Very Important Family Contest. Interested guests will have to tell park officials by video why they should be chosen as Cedar Point’s Very Important Family.

The winning family will be invited to help with the ribbon-cutting ceremony that will officially open Cedar Point for the summer on Saturday, May 14. Also participating in the Opening Day Ceremony will be Dick Kinzel, President and CEO of the Cedar Fair Entertainment Company, Cedar Point’s General Manager John Hildebrandt and everyone’s favorite beagle -- Snoopy.

Besides the ribbon-cutting ceremony, the winning family will also receive six complimentary tickets to the park on Opening Day, a commemorative photograph of the ribbon-cutting ceremony, preferred seating on the ride of their choice, a Cedar Point gift bag and a complimentary lunch at a Cedar Point restaurant.

To enter, contestants need to create a video explaining why they should be chosen as Cedar Point’s Very Important Family. Participants are encouraged to supply a link to their video. (Videos must be less than 90 seconds in length.) Official rules and regulations can be found on the V.I.F. Facebook tab.

Deadline for entering the contest is Friday, April 15.

Cedar Point officials will select the top videos and post them on the park’s YouTube page: where people will be able to vote for their favorite video. The winner will be determined by the number of “likes” it receives on YouTube and a panel of Cedar Point judges.

Voting will take place from Thursday, April 28 through Sunday, May 1. The winner will be announced on Monday, May 2.

Cedar Point will be open from 10 a.m. to 10 p.m. on Saturday, May 14 and will be open daily through Labor Day, Sept. 5, plus Friday nights, Saturdays and Sundays, Sept. 9-11 through Oct. 28-30, 2011. For more information about the V.I.F. contest, please visit Cedar Point’s Facebook page (

Michigan DNR to host Emerald Ash Borer Forest Management Workshops in Upper Peninsula in April

The Department of Natural Resources will host three emerald ash borer forest management workshops in April for private landowners in the western Upper Peninsula.

The workshops are designed for landowners who are interested in learning how to best manage upland hardwood stands containing ash, in order to best prepare for the potential impacts of an emerald ash borer infestation. Emerald ash borers are an invasive species that cause significant damage to ash trees. Proper ash management before emerald ash borers are present can help landowners recoup their timber investment, while also slowing the spread of the invasive borers across the landscape.

Workshop participants will hear from forest health specialists and foresters from the DNR and Michigan Department of Agriculture about ash management, timber sale set-up and implementation, emerald ash borer biology, current outbreak locations and a general update on forest health issues. Federal and state programs that address emerald ash borer problems will also be discussed.

The workshop schedule is as follows:
  • Wednesday, April 6, Bay de Noc Community College-West Campus, 2801 US-2, Iron Mountain, 7 to 9 p.m. Central Time. 
  • Tuesday, April 19, Michigan Technological University, Lakeshore Conference Center Community Room, 600 East Lakeshore Dr., Houghton. 7 to 9 p.m. Eastern Time. 
  • Wednesday, April 20, Gogebic Community College, David G. Lindquist Building Conference Room, E4946 Jackson Rd., Ironwood, 7 to 9 p.m. Central Time.

For more information about the emerald ash borer workshops, contact DNR foresters Ernie Houghton at 906-786-2351 or Gary Willis at 906-353-6651. To learn more about emerald ash borer in Michigan, go online to or

Persons with disabilities needing accommodations should contact Ernie Houghton at 906-786-2351, or Gary Willis at 906-353-6651, at least five business days before the scheduled workshop. All three workshop locations are in accessible facilities.

The Michigan Department of Natural Resources is committed to the conservation, protection, management, use and enjoyment of the state’s natural and cultural resources for current and future generations. For more information, go to

‘Ask the DNR,’ to air on WNMU-TV in the Upper Peninsula on March 31

“Ask the DNR” will air on WNMU-TV Channel 13 on Thursday, March 31, at 8 p.m. The show will focus on the 2011 fishing season and new regulations for anglers.

The hour-long program features a panel of Department of Natural Resources employees taking questions from viewers who call in during the live show to 800-227-9668, or submit email questions before March 31 to DNR communications representative Debbie Munson Badini at Questions are answered live on the show; any questions not answered before the end of the episode will be answered by phone call to the viewer.

Thursday's show will feature conservation officer Mark Leadman from Marquette County; wildlife biologist Terry McFadden from Marquette; and fisheries biologist Darren Kramer from Escanaba. The episode is underwritten in part by the Central Upper Peninsula Sport Fishing Association.

“Ask the DNR” is produced six times a year on WNMU-TV 13, the public television station located at Northern Michigan University in Marquette. The show airs on public television stations throughout the Upper Peninsula and northeastern Wisconsin. Please consult local television listings for replay times for the program.

The Michigan Department of Natural Resources is committed to the conservation, protection, management, use and enjoyment of the state’s natural and cultural resources for current and future generations. For more information, go to

Commemorating the 150th Anniversary of the Civil War, The Henry Ford presents Discovering the Civil War, May 21 - Sept. 5

Both parts of exhibit to be displayed together in Henry Ford Museum for the first time ever

Dearborn, MI –  Prepare to explore the most extensive display of Civil War records ever assembled from the incomparable holdings of the National Archives, as The Henry Ford presents little-known stories, seldom-seen documents and unusual perspectives with Discovering the Civil War, May 21-September 5. Inside Discovering the Civil War, visitors will be able to consider and ask questions about the evidence; listen to a wide variety of voices; and make up their own minds about the struggle that tore apart these United States. And for the first time, Discovering the Civil War will be presented as one seamless exhibition in Henry Ford Museum. Admission to the museum is free with membership or $15 adults, $14 senior (62 and up) and $11 youth (5-12). Children four and under are free. For more information, call (313) 982-6001 or visit

Marking the sesquicentennial of the Civil War, Discovering the Civil War offers visitors the chance to walk in the shoes of researchers in unlocking secrets, solving mysteries and uncovering unexpected events from one of the most pivotal points in our history. Rather than trying to recreate 1860s, this unconventional exhibition creates an environment that allows visitors to see the war through the lens of today’s technology. Touch-screens, interactives and social media tools will reveal Civil War letters, diaries, photos, maps, petitions, receipts, patents, amendments and proclamations in a way never seen before.

Passing over the traditional chronological approach, both sections of Discovering the Civil War are arranged by themes. With in these themes, guests will discover:
  • The original Louisiana ordinance of secession
  • A “substitute book” listing names of men who were paid $300 to replace draftees
  • How Lincoln stopped the execution of a Confederate major
  • Original pension records Emma Seelye, from Michigan, who served in the Union Army as Frank Thompson
  • A telegram from a southern governor rejecting Lincoln’s call for troops
  • Film of the 75th reunion of Battle of Gettysburg veterans filmed by the Army Signal Corps
  • An original Freedmen’s Bureau record documenting thousands of murders and outrages committed against African Americans
  • Innovative wartime patents including a multipurpose device that could serve as a tent, knapsack or blanket
  • The similarities between the Constitution of the Confederacy and the U.S. Constitution
  • The Chinese connection to the Civil War

The exhibition is presented by the Center for the National Archives Experience and supported by the Foundation for the National Archives.

About The Henry Ford 
The Henry Ford, in Dearborn, Michigan, is the world’s premier history destination and a National Historic Landmark that celebrates American history and innovation. Its mission is to provide unique educational experiences based on authentic objects, stories and lives from America’s traditions of ingenuity, resourcefulness and innovation. Its purpose is to inspire people to learn from these traditions to help shape a better future. Five distinct attractions at The Henry Ford captivate more than 1.6 million visitors annually: Henry Ford Museum, Greenfield Village, The Ford Rouge Factory Tour, The Benson Ford Research Center and The Henry Ford IMAX Theatre. The Henry Ford is also home to Henry Ford Academy, a public charter high school which educates 485 students a year on the institution’s campus and was founded in partnership with The Henry Ford, Ford Motor Company and Wayne County Public Schools. For more information please visit our website

Michigan Bird Conservation Initiative to Hold 5th Annual Ornithological Congress in Petoskey April 6-9

The fifth annual Ornithological Congress of the Michigan Bird Conservation Initiative will be held at North Central Michigan College in Petoskey, starting Wednesday, April 6, through Saturday, April 9. The Congress is being held jointly with the Michigan Chapter of the American Fisheries Society and the Michigan Chapter of The Wildlife Society. Participants may attend any of the symposia, workshops, talks, and events hosted by any organization on the days for which they register.

"We’re very excited about this year’s Ornithological Congress. Several representatives of nationally recognized programs will be in attendance to discuss their projects with Michigan’s conservation community," said Lori Sargent, a nongame wildlife biologist with the Department of Natural Resources.

The Congress provides an opportunity for organizations, agencies, and individuals to develop partnerships for current and future projects. "No one organization can conserve all of the birds in Michigan," according to Chair Keith Harrison, "but the connections made at the Ornithological Congress helps pool resources and achieves larger goals."

The annual Ornithological Congress is an opportunity for conservation-minded individuals to come together to discuss issues of importance for bird conservation, share information about research projects, and build partnerships to better address threats to bird life in Michigan. The Congress is open to all; attendance at past Congresses included professional wildlife biologists, students, hunters, and birders. The dress code for the event is casual. The primary goal of the event is providing a forum for conservation connections to be made and information to be shared.

The Ornithological Congress will include symposia on social networking, and sessions on the Kalamazoo River oil spill, and climate change. Speakers from The Nature Conservancy, the Kellogg Biological Station, Michigan Audubon Society, and Michigan State University will be discussing the impacts of the Kalamazoo River oil spill and tall towers on wildlife and what can be done about them. There will also be the annual owl prowl, silent auction, poster sessions and food.

In addition, there will be concurrent meetings with the American Fisheries Society and the Michigan Chapter of The Wildlife Society.

“This is a great opportunity for our members to share information and work together to conserve the state’s wildlife,” said Karen Cleveland, DNR wildlife biologist and president of the Michigan Chapter of the Wildlife Society. “So many conservation issues are relevant to all species, not just birds.”

For more information about the Ornithological Congress, contact Karen Cleveland at 517-241-4250 or, or go online to and click on Ornithological Congress. Pre-registration is preferred, but not required.

North Central Michigan College is located at 1515 Howard St., just off of US-31, in Petoskey.

The Michigan Department of Natural Resources is committed to the conservation, protection, management, use and enjoyment of the state’s natural and cultural resources for current and future generations. For more information, go to

DTE Energy
The Forestland Group, LLC

Binder Park Zoo
Karen Cleveland
Department of Natural Resources, Wildlife Division
Tom Funke
Kalamazoo Nature Center
Kellogg Bird Sanctuary
Kingman Museum
Michigan Audubon Society
Mike Sanders
National Wild Turkey Federation, Michigan Chapter
Southwest Michigan Land Conservancy
Terry Rich, Partners in Flight
Dick Wolinski

Michigan Department of Natural Resources
Michigan Department of Transportation
Michigan Audubon Society
Kalamazoo Nature Center
U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service
Kellogg Bird Sanctuary

Stratford, Ontario's annual Swan Parade expands to Weekend Affair, April 2-3

Named in the Top 11 signs of spring by the Boston Globe (2010), Stratford’s Annual Swan Parade, will take place on Sunday, April 3, 2011 at 2:00 pm at the Avon River (Lakeside Drive at Wm Allman Arena). The return of the swans to the Avon River is one of Canada’s most unique events announcing the arrival of spring. This year the celebration lasts two days with activities planned April 2 and 3, 2011.

Saturday, April 2
A new Guided Swan Walk will be offered Saturday and Sunday. Participants will view the winter quarters and see popular nesting spots as stories about Stratford’s swans are shared. Tours run Saturday at 11:00 am and 3:00 pm beginning at the Wm Allman Arena, and Sunday at 12 Noon and 3:00 pm.

Stratford City Centre presents the first Stratford Swan Quest. Distinctive topiary swans decorated and displayed in front of downtown businesses will mark the arrival of spring. Shoppers are invited to find all twelve swans and nominate their favourite for the People’s Choice award. Ballots are available at each shop with a decorated swan and at Stratford Tourism Alliance where completed ballots will be received until 5:00 pm Saturday, April 2. Each person completing a ballot will receive City Centre Spring coupons and be entered into a draw for a chance to win a City Centre gift certificate.

Families are invited to visit the Stratford Public Library for swan crafts and stories on Saturday afternoon 1:00 pm – 3:00 pm.

The Innkeeper’s Dinner at Knox Church, beginning at 6 pm, features an innovative heritage menu by Chef Holbrook and is sponsored by the Stratford Perth Museum.

Harry Manx returns to Stratford for an evening of music – a unique “mysticssippi” style. Presented by Live at City Hall, the concert begins at 8:00 pm.
Sunday, April 3
Entertainment is presented from 12 Noon – 4:00 pm at the Wm Allman Arena and Lakeside Drive, by Stratford Tourism Alliance. Enjoy music by Symphony Brass Quintet, children’s entertainer Erick Traplin, story-tellers from the St. Marys Storytelling Festival, face painting, swan hats and crafts for children.

The Stratford Shakespeare Festival will offer costume try-ons and a Sword Fight Demonstration at the Kiwanis Community Centre. Don’t forget your camera for some theatrical fun!

A Swan photography exhibit along with a wildlife display from Hullet Marsh will be featured at the Kiwanis Community Centre.

BJ, the official swan mascot, will be visiting and ready to pose for photos.

Guided Swan Walks take place at 12 Noon and 3:00 pm beginning at the Wm Allman Arena.
Stratford’s spring tradition of releasing the swans, organized by the volunteer Civic Beautification and Environmental Awareness Committee, begins at 2:00 pm. The Stratford Pipes and Drums lead the swans from their Winter Quarters on the south side of the Wm Allman Arena along the parade route to the Avon River. The District Scouting Movement and Community Services Staff assist the volunteers as Stratford’s feathered ambassadors make their way to their summer home.

Tim Hortons, Swan Parade Sponsor, will generously provide complimentary refreshments.

Bleacher seating is new this year, so plan to stay for the entire show. Parking is available along Lakeside Drive east of Front Street.

The Swan theme continues Sunday at Factory 163 with the Lyrical Goddess, an afternoon of poetry and prose readings from 3:30 – 5:00 pm by Gallery 96 artists.

The INNER chamber presents Serenade, music selected specifically to compliment the parade of the swans beginning at 6:00 pm at Factory 163.

For more information, a Swan Quest Ballot and a video clip of the swan parade, visit or call 519-271-5140 or 1-800-561-7926, or visit us at Stratford Tourism Alliance, 47 Downie Street, Stratford.

Spring Sip & Savor Wine Tour coming to Leelanau Peninsula April 30-May 1

The Spring Sip & Savor is annual celebration of spring’s return to the beautiful Leelanau Peninsula that takes place over the weekend of April 30th and May 1st. It’s the perfect opportunity to take friends and family out to enjoy Michigan’s largest wine trail to enjoy one of the most unique wine events in the country.

In addition to delectable wine and food pairings at 17 wineries on the Leelanau Wine Trail like caramelized leek and wild mushroom quiche, crab cakes or spiced pear & peach ginger crunch, the Sip & Savor offers you a chance to pull out that wild pair of PJs or crazy hat and try your luck in the Pajama and Fancy Hat contest. Participation in contest is of course totally optional, and while it may sound like child’s play, the prizes certainly aren’t!

Each winery will offer a special prize for different categories of hats and pajamas from "Most Effervescent Couple" to “Most Eye Opening” to “Most Leelanau” and all in attendance are eligible to be selected as the Grand Prize Winner. This year’s winner will receive two tickets to any LPVA trail event along with two nights lodging at any time during the year (subject to availability) at The Homestead Resort on Lake Michigan in Glen Arbor. They’ll also receive dinner for two with dessert at Leelanau’s authentic French country restaurant, La Becasse, Sunday brunch for two at the famous Bluebird in Leland and a wood-fired pizza from the Hearth & Vine Cafe, perfect for a lunch or a light meal out on the trail.

Even if you choose not to dress up, you still have opportunities to win! One lucky person who casts a vote for the Grand Prize winner will randomly be selected to win tickets to the 2012 Sip & Savor. Your chances don’t stop there, because you’ll learn the Sip & Savor Sunday Secret Word on Saturday. If a call comes to to the winery where you are early Sunday afternoon, all you have to do is be the first person to shout it out and you win two tickets to any Leelanau Peninsula Wine Trail Event!

The Spring Sip & Savor and a trip to the Leelanau Wine Trail is the perfect way for wine lovers to cap April, Michigan Wine Month. It’s specifically designed to be fun & friendly for both experienced wine drinkers and first-time drinkers and is one of the best ways to experience some of Michigan’s most spectacular scenery on the Leelanau Peninsula.

Tickets are $30 per person and include a commemorative LPVA coffee mug, wine and food pairings at participating wineries along with a $10 gift certificate that can be used for purchase at any LPVA winery. Participants may tour up to 8 wineries on Saturday from 11:00 to 6:00pm and another 8 on Sunday from noon to 5:00pm.

Tickets, lodging packages, food & wine pairings and PJ/Hat Contest categories are available online at

For more information on the 2011 LPVA Spring Sip & Savor, please contact Andrew McFarlane at 231-421-1172 or email And please visit our website for information on Leelanau wine & wine events.

Michigan's P.J. Hoffmaster State Park offers fun Spring Break programs in April

Families staying home for spring break can find fun spring adventures at P.J. Hoffmaster State Park. The park features 10 miles of hiking trails, 2.5 miles of Lake Michigan shoreline and the Gillette Sand Dune Visitor Center. The Visitor Center is the meeting place for the Exploring Nature programs. Each program explores a nature topic, is suitable for all ages and includes an activity or short hike. Early April programs include:

April 2: Michigan Sand Dunes at 11a.m. Learn how sand dunes formed, take a close look at sand, take a short walk and climb a big sand dune.

April 2: Fast Food: A Predator’s World at 2 p.m. Watch a short movie about predators, play “Oh Deer,” and take a short hike.

April 5: Bird Beak Buffet at Learn about the many styles of bird beaks, pretend to eat like a bird during a fun game and take a short hike to see birds at work.

April 5: Signs of Spring at 1 p.m. Explore the many signs of spring on this short hike.

April 6: Peeps of Spring at 11 a.m. See live frogs and learn about their many life habits.

April 6: A Good Home is Hard to Find at 1 p.m. This short puppet show will explore the topic of how animals find their homes.

April 9: Wiggly Worms at 11a.m. We will dissect gummy worms and learn all about how worms live.

DNR Park Interpreter Elizabeth Tillman designed the programs with children and their families in mind, “The start of spring is a wonderful time to visit a state park as a family and build lifelong family memories. It also can remind us of how fortunate we are in Michigan to have this wealth of natural resources and beautiful public lands,” said Tillman. “Our programs give visitors of all ages a fun experience in a state park and encourage them to explore nature in new ways at home in their own backyards.”

P.J. Hoffmaster State Park located at 6585 Lake Harbor Rd., Muskegon. For more information, contact the Gillette Visitor Center at 231-798-3573. For a listing of other events taking place in Michigan state parks and recreation areas, visit All programs are free; however a Recreation Passport is required for entry into the park.

Recreation Passport
The Recreation Passport has replaced motor vehicle permits for entry into Michigan state parks, recreation areas and state-administered boating access fee sites. This new way to fund Michigan’s outdoor recreation opportunities also helps to preserve state forest campgrounds, trails and historic and cultural sites in state parks, and provides park development grants to local communities.

Michigan residents can purchase the Recreation Passport ($10 for motor vehicles; $5 for motorcycles) by checking “YES” on their license plate renewal forms, or at any state park or recreation area. Non-resident motor vehicles must still display a valid non-resident Recreation Passport ($29 annual; $8 daily) to enter a Michigan state park, recreation area or state-administered boating access fee site; these can be purchased at any state park or recreation area, or through the Michigan e-Store at To learn more about the Recreation Passport, visit or call (517) 241-7275.

The Michigan Department of Natural Resources is committed to the conservation, protection, management, use and enjoyment of the state’s natural and cultural resources for current and future generations. For more information, go to

Tour De Brew: Paddling Micro-Brew Tour

Care to sample our fresh coast paddling and tour our area's fine Micro-brewers? How about a day trip where you get to learn a bit of kayak technique (something to show-off later), do a little gourmet beach dining, followed up by a couple of private brew house tours/tasting? All in one day?

Yeah sure, you betcha!

Here’s how it works:

9 AM: Meet-up on Old Mission Point with a professional instructor/guide/chef for a mini-lesson. Either Bower’s Harbor or Hasaret Beach will be our start point depending on weather. From Bower’s, we paddle out to Marion/Power Island for a little day hiking, beaching and an ale-themed lunch (no brew ON the water) If we depart from from Hasaret, we head up toward the Old Mission Point, stopping en route to picnic on the beach.

LUNCH deserves it own line…our beach meals have been featured in Traverse Magazine (, with recipes available from our new cookbook: "Hey, I’d Eat This at Home!" Beer-battered whitefish tacos, stout marinated perch on chiabatta or Portered downed flank steak fajitas with a fresh seasonal fruit tart for dessert.

3 PM should see us back at the beginning to load up, change shoes and head over to our first brewery stop at the Jolly Pumpkin. After a tour of JP's, we'll head to Traverse City’s warehouse district for a tutorial at Right Brain Brewery.

5:30 PM: We turn you loose to continue your fabulous day or treat yourself to dinner at Stella’s or any of the other fine dining that Traverse City has to offer.

Cost: $150/per person includes professional guide/instructor, kayaking equipment (boat, paddle, PFD, skirt), lunch, wine tour fees and sand, of course. Please call if you have special diet requirements. You are more than welcome to bring your own touring kayak if you have one and we'll be happy to help you learn to get the most out of it.

Skill Level: Beginner to advanced
Stuff to Bring
  • Synthetic clothing that is made to dry quickly (NO COTTON on water please) 
  • Fleece Jacket
  • Paddling Jacket or raincoat: I have a few loaners.
  • Water shoes or neoprene boots: I try to discourage sandals because they can get tangled in footrests….and that’s bad if your upside down. Barefoot works in the boats too!
  • One-liter water bottle
  • Sunscreen
  • Camera
To hold your spot, full payment is required. You can pay online, but please call first for availability: 866-882-5525. We take as few as 2 or as many as 8 on this tour (with two guides) in single kayaks. We do have one tandem available upon request. This trip is only held in fair weather months, but we usually can make a go / no-go decision based on weather at least 24 hours in advance. If we don’t go, you get your money back.

Dates for 2010
We'll offer this Wednesdays throughout the summer (June 8 through September 21), weather permitting.
Other days available for groups of four or more...please inquire.

Uncommon Adventures
PO Box 254
Beulah, Michigan 49617
Toll Free: 1-866-882-5525 Local: (231) 882-5525

April Programs for Families set for Michigan's Wolf Lake State Fish Hatchery Visitor Center

The Wolf Lake State Fish Hatchery Visitor Center, located just eight miles west of Kalamazoo, is offering five nature programs in April. Families can learn how animals adapt to spring, how nocturnal critters find food and discover the variety of bird species migrating back to the north. Two programs are specifically designed for youth, including a youth fishing day and a reading of a story by a renowned children’s book author.

April 9 and 30: Spring Fishing Days at 8, 9, and 10 a.m. Youth are invited to try their hand at catch-and-release fishing at the show pond on site. All equipment is provided and pre-registration is required. The 8 and 10 a.m. slots are open for youth ages 6 to 16 and the 9 a.m. slot is open to ages 3 to 5.

April 16: Animal Awakenings at 10 a.m. and 2 p.m. After a long, cold winter, animals begin to wake up and get ready for spring. Find out how they survived the long winter and how they adapt to the spring season by changing their fur, their feathers and even their diet.

April 23: Spring Fling with Wings at 10 a.m. The hatchery grounds are one of the best places in the area to see waterfowl and other birds. Check out which species are on their way back north during this relaxing stroll on the nature trails.

April 23: Nature Stories at 2 p.m. Join interpreter Mike Creager as he shares tales about animals and their habitats by renowned author Thornton Burgess. Mike will be reading and the children’s book, Mrs. Redwing’s Speckled Eggs. All ages are welcome; however this program is best suited for ages 7 to 11.

April 23: Creatures of the Night at 8 p.m. The group will start by learning about the critters that make their living at night, including bats, owls and more. Then we’ll go for a walk under cover of darkness and see how many of these creatures we can see and hear.

The Wolf Lake Fish Hatchery Visitor Center is located in Mattawan at Hatchery Road and M-43, six miles west of US-131. Unless otherwise noted, programs are offered free of charge and open to all ages. To preregister for a class, call the visitor center at 269-668-2876. For more information, visit

The Michigan Department of Natural Resources is committed to the conservation, protection, management, use and enjoyment of the state’s natural and cultural resources for current and future generations. For more information, go to
Benzie County Offers Sports, Food, Film, and Fall Events for Michigan Vacation Goers

Benzie County's 2011 Spring, Summer and Fall events complement its reputation as “the best place in Michigan for Outdoor Sports & Recreation”. From the "Michigan PGA Women's Open" at Crystal Mountain Resort and Spa to the "National Coho Festival" honoring the 'salmon run' along the first river that began salmon fishing in Michigan, the events cater to a variety of sports and recreational interests. "The Taste of Benzie" gives vacationers a chance to experience a Benzie County foodie event, while the "Frankfort Film Festival" in October is perfect for film buffs and Fall Color tourists.

Featured Upcoming Events in Benzie County:
Michigan PGA Women’s Open – June 24 – 29, 2011 at Crystal Mountain Resort & Spa
One of the premier Michigan golfing events, The Michigan PGA Women’s Open, returns to Crystal Mountain Resort and Spa for a ninth straight year featuring some of the best professional and amateur women golfers from around Michigan and across the country.

National Coho Festival – August 27-28, 2011 in Honor
The annual Coho Festival, one of the most unique Michigan fishing events is a two-day event centralized in Honor, Michigan. The festival, which began in 1967, celebrates the 'salmon run' up the Benzie County rivers. Benzie County's Platte River was the first river for salmon planting in Michigan. 

The Bike Benzie TourAugust 21, 2011; Ride begins at Crystal Mountain Resort & Spa
The Bike Benzie Tour features a scenic ride through beautiful Benzie County with a choice of four distances: 15, 25, 45 or 62 miles. All routes feature great food stops and picturesque rides that challenge riders of all ages and abilities.

Benzie Fishing FrenzyAugust 26-28, 2011 in Frankfort
With over $25,000 in cash and prizes this fishing contest at Mineral Springs Park is open to anyone. There are three Divisions with a Ladies Classic on Friday, Big Fish Only, Amateur Division, and Pro Division.

Taste of Benzie – September 10, 2011 in Frankfort
The Taste of Benzie in its 4th year in 2011 will include great Benzie County food, music, kid’s crafts, a silent auction and more. Samples of food range in price and involve many great restaurants around Benzie County.

Benzie County Fall Festivals
October 1 & 2, 2011 Beulah and Benzonia
October 8 & 9, 2011 Frankfort and Elberta

Enjoy one or both events back-to-back weekends in Benzie County to celebrate Michigan’s Fall color. Fun activities include pumpkin and gourd carving by master carvers, including the in-famous Ed Moody from Frankfort, pumpkin chucking, parades, and children’s activities.

Betsie Valley Run – October 2, 2011 at Crystal Mountain Resort & Spa
The Betsie Valley Run is along a beautiful course in Benzie County’s Betsie Valley. This event coincides with the Fall Festival in Beulah and Benzonia. The run includes a certified half marathon, 10k run / walk, 5k run / walk, and a child’s mile.

6th Annual Peak2Peak Mountain Bike Classic – October 15, 2011
Endoman Promotions and Crystal Mountain Resort & Spa in Thompsonville, Michigan are pleased to present the Sixth Annual Peak2Peak Mountain Bike Classic, presented by Right Brain Brewery. This epic event is held in and around the beautiful and gently rolling terrain which surrounds Crystal Mountain Resort and Spa. The event will feature a 10.5-mile loop with beginner (1 lap), intermediate (2 laps) and expert (3 laps) divisions with a staggered start allowing racers of all abilities to enjoy the course simultaneously.

Frankfort Film FestivalOctober 20 – 23, 2011
Starting its 3rd Year The Frankfort Film Festival at The Garden Theater will feature 12 – 15 leading edge independent films which are among the “best of show” titles from worldwide film festivals, and appearances by film producers and directors.

For more information on Benzie County lodging, restaurants, outdoor recreation and events contact Benzie County Visitors Bureau at 1-800-882-5801 or see

3rd Annual Traverse City Wine & Art Festival coming Aug. 20

Celebrate Wine, Food & Art in Traverse City!

Tickets for the 2011 Traverse City Wine & Art Festival, Northern Michigan’s premier summer celebration of wine, art, food and music, are now on sale through the festival website at

Festival organizers are taking applications for participants including food vendors, artists and volunteers. Applications and information are available on the festival website along with sponsorship opportunities. The festival will be held on August 20th from 3pm to 10pm under the tents on the beautiful front lawn at The Village at Grand Traverse Commons.

Last year, 3,500 people danced, dined and drank, almost tripling the attendance from the inaugural celebration. This year’s event promises to draw even bigger crowds and will feature a new twist as Old Mission and Leelanau Peninsula wineries will partner with the region’s most innovative restaurants and caterers to develop gourmet food and wine pairings specific to the festival, all at reasonable prices.

Dan Matthies, owner of Chateau Fontaine, said, “I do a lot of events across the state and the Traverse City Wine & Art Festival is phenomenal. The organizers create a comfortable and manageable atmosphere for all. This festival has the potential to be astronomical for the area!”

True to its name, the Traverse City Wine & Art Festival will showcase art in all its forms. In addition to 30 tents of high quality Michigan art for purchase and appreciation, the festival will feature some of the state’s most exciting musicians including Claudia Schmidt, Shout Sister Shout and Steppin’ In It providing the soundtrack to one of this summer’s most anticipated events.

“The Traverse City Wine & Art Festival is the event that brings nearly all the wineries of our region together to celebrate what we have here in Northern Michigan. It really is a landmark celebration of Michigan’s wine coast and culture.” Festival organizer Laura Herd said.

Almost 400 volunteers will be needed to help make this year’s festival even better than the last. Getting involved is as easy as visiting the website and filling out an application. Volunteers play a pivotal role in the success of the festival and will receive free admission to the event.

2011 volunteer Julia Hemphill related “It was a gorgeous outdoor event. The ambience at the festival was unlike anything I have seen in Northern Michigan. I had so much fun volunteering that I didn’t want to stop when my shift was over!”

Music Lineup 
The Traverse City Wine & Art Festival is excited to announce a fantastic lineup that features some of Michigan's finest musicians.

Northern Michigan jazz/folk great Claudia Schmidt will kick things off with her "Funtet" composed of some of the region's finest players. Garrison Keiilor one said "when Claudia sings a song, it stays sung."

Claudia will make sure that the songs stay singing by joining Michigan's own Shout Sister Shout, who feature rising star Rachel Davis and deliver the smoky, sophisticated sound of 30s and 40s jazz reminiscent or Ella Fitzgerald, Billie Holiday, Nat King Cole, Sarah Vaughan and others. It will be the first time Claudia and Shout Sister Shout have taken the stage together, an event that promises to be one of those "better not miss it" nights.

You'll be able to dance into the night with Steppin' In It, a Lansing based folk-rockin', jazz playin', bluegrass pickin', old-time swingin' quartet. The Telluride Bluegrass Festival says this versatile and literate band is "knee deep in the future of bluegrass" - we know you'll agree.

The Traverse City Wine & Art Festival is a Zero Waste Event with Bay Area Recycling for Charities distributing compostable glasses, plates and utensils.

Tickets for this year’s festival are $20 in advance and $25 at the door. Lodging packages with area hotels are available as well through the festival website.

For more information on the Traverse City Wine & Art Festival, please contact Andrew McFarlane at 231-421-1172 or email And please visit our Facebook page for updates on festival news and links to win free tickets.

Web Site:

Peregrine Falcons Begin Nesting Season in Ohio

Internet users can follow the season's progress at

COLUMBUS, OH - The 2011 peregrine falcon nesting season is underway in Ohio, according to the Ohio Department of Natural Resources (ODNR), Division of Wildlife.

There are peregrine pairs at 30 to possibly 38 sites and eggs are being incubated at three sites in the state—Cleveland, Ironton and Lakewood. By April, most of Ohio's adult breeding peregrine falcons will have paired with a mate and selected a nesting site.

Internet users can follow the progress of these and other peregrine nests at the Division of Wildlife's peregrine falcon Web page at As the nesting season progresses, key events such as egg laying, hatching and fledging will be noted on the Web page for each nest.

Because of successful restoration activities in Ohio and across the nation, the peregrine falcon was removed from the federal endangered species list in 1999, and in Ohio it was down-listed from endangered to state-threatened in 2008.

Along with several other Midwestern states, Ohio began reintroducing the birds in 1989. Several pairs were released in Ohio’s major cities between 1989 and 1992. Last year, 34 nesting pairs of peregrine falcons are estimated to have successfully hatched and fledged 67 young.

Federal funds for the peregrine falcon project and other wildlife diversity efforts of the Division of Wildlife are provided through the State Wildlife Grant Program, which targets species with greatest conservation need.

The division's peregrine falcon management program has been supported by the sale of cardinal license plates, the Ohio Wildlife Legacy Stamp and contributions to the state Wildlife Diversity & Endangered Species Check-off Fund. Taxpayers may donate directly or designate all or part of their state income tax refunds to the effort by checking the box on line 25b of the 2010 Ohio Income Tax Form or line 18b on the Ohio1040 EZ form. Individuals wanting to donate can do so online at

The Ohio Department of Natural Resources ensures a balance between wise use and protection of our natural resources for the benefit of all. Visit the ODNR Web site at

Oakland County (Mich.) Parks & Rec nominees receive 2011 Community Service Award

MRPA (Michigan Recreation and Park Association) has honored Oakland County Parks and Recreation nominees with three Community Service Awards. The awards were given to organizations and individuals and who provide outstanding “above and beyond” service to the parks system.

North Oakland Headwaters Land Conservancy received an award for providing financial support in the acquisition of a186-acre parcel adjacent to Independence Oaks, now Independence Oaks North. The property is one of the most significant high quality green spaces in the county, featuring rare species, natural communities and headwater streams.

Sharon Greene, a lifelong equestrian and resident of Highland Township, received an award for her work in developing trail connectivity throughout Oakland County including greenway and equestrian trail easements around new subdivisions and helping initiate the Highland Equestrian Conservancy. As a freelance writer for The Oakland Press, she has been a consistent advocate for the Oakland County Parks and Recreation Commission in general, and especially with the 2010 millage renewal efforts.

Dennis Rahn is one of three volunteers who dedicates his time to sweeping the Oakland County Parks and Recreation beaches. His Search and Recovery Team uses metal detectors and sand scoops to retrieve items from the land and water. The teams visit the beaches twice each month during the busy summer season and are on-call if any park visitors lose something valuable and need help with their search. Rahn established the Search and Recovery Team in 1999.

For parks events, maps and more, visit or find us on Facebook.

Illinois’ 2011 Spring Trout Season Opens April 2

Rainbow Trout Stocked at 43 Locations

SPRINGFIELD, IL – The 2011 spring trout fishing season in Illinois will begin at 5 a.m. on Saturday, April 2, Illinois Department of Natural Resources (IDNR) Director Marc Miller recently announced.

“Our Catchable Trout Program is a perfect example of a program that is completely self sufficient and funded entirely by sportsmen. This program is enjoyed by thousands of youth, families and experienced anglers and I wish everyone a great spring season,” said IDNR Director Marc Miller.

The IDNR stocks more than 60,000 rainbow trout each spring in bodies of water where trout fishing is permitted during the spring season. The Illinois catchable trout program is made possible through the sale of inland trout stamps to those anglers who participate.

Illinois fishing licenses and inland trout stamps are available at DNR Direct license and permit locations, including many bait shops, sporting goods stores and other retail outlets. For a location near you, check the IDNR website at this link:

Fishing licenses and trout stamps can also be purchased by using a credit card through DNR Direct online via the IDNR website at, or by calling DNR Direct toll-free at 1-888-6PERMIT (1-888-673-7648).

To legally participate in the trout fishing program, anglers must have a valid Illinois fishing license and an inland trout stamp. The annual fishing licenses for the 2011 season are valid through March 31, 2012. Anglers may also purchase a 24-hour Illinois fishing license, which includes trout fishing privileges for the 24-hour period the license is valid. A license is required for fishing in Illinois unless the angler is otherwise exempt (under age 16, blind or disabled, or is an Illinois resident on active military service who is home on leave).

Anglers may not take trout from any of the stocked sites from March 15 to the opening of the season on April 2 at 5 a.m. Anyone attempting to take trout before the legal opening will be issued citations. During the spring trout season the daily possession limit for trout is five fish.

While the statewide spring trout season opens at 5 a.m. on April 2, anglers are reminded to check in advance for any site-specific regulations and the opening time of their favorite trout fishing location.

For more information about the trout stocking program, contact the IDNR Division of Fisheries at 217/782-6424 or check the web site at

Stocked sites (by county) for the spring catchable trout program:
  • Adams County: Siloam Springs State Park Lake.
  • Boone County: Mill Race Ponds in Belvidere.
  • Bureau County: Hennepin Canal Parkway.
  • Cass County: Gurney Road Pond at Jim Edgar Panther Creek State Fish and Wildlife Area.
  • Champaign County: Lake of the Woods.
  • Christian County: Manners Park Pond, Taylorville Park District
  • Cook County: Axehead Lake, Cook County Forest Preserve District.
  • Cook County: Belleau Lake, Cook County Forest Preserve District.
  • Cook County: Sag Quarry East, Cook County Forest Preserve District.
  • Coles County: Eastern Illinois University Campus Pond in Charleston.
  • DuPage County: Silver Lake, DuPage County Forest Preserve District.
  • Grundy County: Gebhard Woods State Park Pond.
  • Jefferson County: Mount Vernon Game Farm Pond.
  • Jo Daviess County: Apple River and tributaries.
  • Johnson County: Ferne Clyffe State Park Lake.
  • Kankakee County: Bird Park Quarry in Kankakee.
  • Kankakee County: Rock Creek at Kankakee River State Park.
  • Kendall County: Big Lake at Silver Springs State Park.
  • Lake County: Banana Lake, Lake County Forest Preserve District.
  • Lake County: Sand Lake at Illinois Beach State Park.
  • LaSalle County: Illinois and Michigan Canal at Utica
  • Macon County: Sportsman’s Club Pond, Macon County Conservation District
  • Marion County: Boston Pond at Stephen A. Forbes State Park.
  • Massac County: Fairgrounds Pond in Fort Massac State Park, Metropolis.
  • McLean County: Miller Park Lake in Bloomington.
  • McHenry County: Lake Atwood, Hollows Conservation Area, McHenry County Conservation District. McHenry County: Piscasaw Creek.
  • Moultrie County: Wyman Lake in Sullivan.
  • Ogle County: Pine Creek in White Pines State Forest.
  • Randolph County: Derby Lake at World Shooting and Recreational Complex, Sparta
  • St. Clair County: Frank Holten State Park main lake.
  • St. Clair County: Jones Park Lake in East St. Louis.
  • Sangamon County: Illinois Department of Transportation Lake in Springfield.
  • Sangamon County: Washington Park Pond in Springfield.
  • Shelby County: Forest Park Lagoon in Shelbyville.
  • Stephenson County: Waddams Creek (Lake Le-Aqua-Na State Park).
  • Stephenson County: Yellow Creek in Krape Park, Freeport.
  • Vermilion County: Clear Lake at Kickapoo State Park.
  • Wabash County: Beall Woods Lake, Beall Woods State Park
  • Wayne County: Sam Dale Conservation Area Trout Pond.
  • Whiteside County: Coleta Trout Ponds.
  • Will County: Lake Milliken at Des Plaines Conservation Area.
  • Winnebago County: Four Lakes Forest Preserve, Winnebago County Forest Preserve District

Scottish-American Society of Michigan to host Michigan's 'official' Tartan Day Celebration April 2

8th annual Tartan Day event will benefit the Alma College Scholarship Fund

The schedule is set and tickets are now available for Michigan’s “official” and original State-wide Tartan Day Ceilidh (pronounced Kay-Lee) hosted by the Scottish American Society of Michigan on Saturday, April 2 at Monaghan’s Knights of Columbus, 19801 Farmington Road in Livonia. The event will feature:
  • The Alma College Pipe Band
  • Detroit Caledonian Pipe Band
  • Raggle Taggle Band
  • Highland Dancers
  • Celtic Fiddling
  • Scottish Country Dance Demonstration
  • Full Meal With Two Meats

Tickets are only $25 for adults and $15 for kids under ten. Doors open at 6:00 and no reserved seating is available. There are only 300 tickets available for this annual event and it will sell out! For tickets and more information go to This is Michigan’s “official” Tartan Day Ceilidh as decreed by the Governor’s office in 2010.

Tartan Day commemorates the signing of the Declaration of Arbroath in 1320, which asserted Scotland's sovereignty over English territorial claims, and which, was an influence on the American Declaration of Independence. In 1998 National Tartan Day was officially recognized on a permanent basis when the U.S. Senate passed Senate Resolution 155 recognizing April 6th as National Tartan Day. This was followed by companion bill House Resolution 41 which was passed by the U.S. House of Representatives on March 9, 2005.

“People join us from all over the state to celebrate Tartan Day with us,” says the group’s founder and event organizer, Franklin Dohanyos. “The hall only holds 300 and we expect to fill it to the rafters. One of our primary missions is to help others and be active in the community. To that end, partial proceeds from this event will go to benefit the Alma College Scholarship Fund. The Scots have a long, proud history in Michigan and we are carrying on that tradition.”

On Tartan Day, April 6th 2009 the formation of the Scottish American Society of Michigan was announced – a new and different Scottish group whose goal is preserving and furthering Scottish heritage throughout the state of Michigan. The group is a registered 501(c)(7) and holds monthly meetings at The Commonwealth Club of Michigan located at 30088 Dequindre Road in Warren, Michigan. The group has already raised money for charitable organizations and individuals with needs.

People interested in joining or attending meetings of the Scottish American Society of Michigan, or subscribing to the group’s newsletter can visit or

For more information and interviews, please call Franklin Dohanyos at 248/399-1101, visit, or send e-mail

Mary Ann MacLean Play Museum opens at Illinois State Museum

SPRINGFIELD, IL – The Illinois State Museum will celebrate the grand opening of the Mary Ann MacLean Play Museum, an all-new children’s area for kids ages 3-10, on Saturday, March 26 from 9:30 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. A ribbon cutting ceremony will be held at 9:30 a.m. to officially open the new Play Museum.

The new, kid-friendly Play Museum is designed for children to learn through play what it is like to work at a museum. In the Play Museum children can excavate Mastodont bones, load a jeep for an expedition, crawl through a cave, touch animal skulls, frame and display art, explore fantastic objects in the collections and much more.

The entire museum will be full of exciting activities for the whole family during the grand opening celebration on March 26. Magicians, jugglers, face painters and storytellers will entertain children throughout the day. Brian "Fox" Ellis will help children create their own museum stories; Cathy Mosley will be telling animal tales; Troy and Eldon Roark will be roaming the museum performing great feats of juggling and magic. Visitors will have the opportunity to make a museum diorama, create a nature poster, participate in a time-travel matching game and contribute to a memory book commemorating the grand opening.

The Mary Ann MacLean Play Museum is a brand new, colorful and engaging space where children will be able to learn...and play. It is replacing the popular A Place for Discovery, which has served children and families for nearly 30 years. The new Play Museum encourages open-ended, multi-generational play and incorporates new approaches in education and medicine that recognize the importance of play to learning, health and well-being. It invites children to explore the natural and cultural world to provide a foundation for understanding and stewardship.

The Mary Ann MacLean Play Museum is made possible through a grant from the Institute of Museum and Library Services and generous contributions from individuals, businesses and foundations. The Play Museum is named as a tribute to Mettawa resident Mary Ann MacLean in recognition of her extraordinary contributions to the Illinois State Museum. During her 32 years of service on the Illinois State Museum Board, she has challenged, inspired and opened many doors for the museum as a passionate advocate for the important role museums play in education.

The space previously dedicated to A Place for Discovery will become the Mary Ann MacLean Resource Center, which will have classroom space for hands-on educational programming and a public area with books and other educational resources for families to enjoy in conjunction with experiencing the Play Museum. In addition, thanks to support from Barry and Mary Ann MacLean, there will be a Mary Ann MacLean educator to sustain innovative educational programming and benefit current and future generations.

For more information on the Play Museum, contact Bonnie Styles at (217)782-5993. For details about the grand opening celebration, contact Elizabeth Bazan at (217) 782-5993 or More information is also available on the Illinois State Museum’s Facebook page at and Web site at

The Illinois State Museum promotes discovery, learning and an appreciation of Illinois’ natural, cultural and artistic heritage. The museum’s extensive collections and research activities provide the foundation for exhibitions and public programs that tell the story of the land, life, people and art of Illinois. The Illinois State Museum is located at 502 S. Spring St. (corner of Spring and Edwards Streets) in Springfield and is open 8:30 a.m.-5:00 p.m. Monday through Saturday, noon to 5:00 p.m. Sunday. The Mary Ann MacLean Play Museum will be open daily: Monday through Saturday 9:30 a.m.-4:00 p.m. and Sunday 1:00-5:00 p.m. Admission is free. Parking is available nearby, and the building is ADA accessible.

April at Detroit Institute of Arts Brings Movies, Music and Family Fun

Thomas P. Campbell, director of The Metropolitan Museum of Art
in New York, is the keynote speaker of the DIA's Dr. Coleman
Mopper Memorial Lecture at 2 p.m., Saturday, April 16.
Director of Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York to speak at annual Dr. Coleman Mopper lecture

Detroit, MI – Family performances, classes and art-making are just part of the fun in April at the Detroit Institute of Arts (DIA). Don’t miss the exhibitions Fakes, Forgeries and Mysteries and An Intuitive Eye: André Kertész Photographs, 1914–1969, which both end April 10. It’s a Zoo in Here! Prints and Drawings of Animals is also on view.

Programs are free with museum admission unless otherwise noted. For more information call (313) 833-7900 or visit

Guided Tours: Wednesdays–Thursdays, 1 p.m.; Fridays, 1, 6, 7:30 p.m.; Saturdays–Sundays, 1, 3 p.m.

Detroit City Chess Club: Fridays, 4–8 p.m.
The club’s mission is to teach area students the game and life lessons. Members have won state, regional, and national competitions. People wanting to learn how to play chess should show up between 4–6 p.m. There will be no teaching between 6 and 8 p.m., but visitors can play chess.

Drawing in the Galleries (for all ages): Fridays, 6–9 p.m., Sundays, Noon–4 p.m.

Drop-In Workshops (for all ages)
Wednesday, April 6, 11 a.m.–3 p.m. – Book Arts: Chinese Slat Books: In ancient China, before the invention of paper, documents were written on bamboo or wooden slats. Make your own book using this ancient technique.
Thursday, April 7, 11 a.m.–3 p.m. – Book Arts: Origami Star Book: Create this simple book using folded squares of paper. When assembled, the unfolded pages resemble a star.
Friday, April 8, 11 a.m.–3 p.m. – Book Arts: Japanese Stab Binding: Create a simple book using a traditional form of stitching.
Fridays, 6–9 p.m. – Scrolls: Make your own scrolls using paper, wood dowels and markers.
Saturdays, Noon–4 p.m. – Paper Marbling: Create beautiful marbled patterns on paper that are similar to those found in books from the late Renaissance.
Sundays, Noon–4 p.m. – Milagros: The Spanish word milagro means miracle and refers to a small item offered to saints. Use clay to make one of your own.

Friday Night Live, April 1
Music: Alash: Throat Singers from Tuva: 7 & 8:30 p.m.
Members of Alash are masters of Tuvan (Tuva is part of the Russian Federation) instruments and the art of throat singing, a technique for singing multiple pitches at the same time. Alash accompanies this unique style of singing on a variety of Tuvan instruments rarely heard in the west.

Detroit Film Theatre:  Idiots and Angels: 7 p.m. — This animated feature is the story of Angel, a morally bankrupt creep who spends his time at the local bar berating other patrons. That changes when he grows a pair of wings; even more alarming, the wings inspire him to do good deeds. For more details, visit $7.50; DIA members, seniors and students, $6.50.

Detroit Film Theatre: Twelve Thirty: 9:30 p.m. — Twelve Thirty explores the emotional dynamics of relationships, the roles of its characters as manipulators and seducers and the exact point at which the lines between right and wrong begin to blur. For a detailed description, visit Tickets: $7.50; DIA members, seniors and students, $6.50.

Saturday, April 2
Detroit Film Theatre: DFT 101: Children of Paradise: 3 p.m.
This witty tale of a woman loved by four men resurrects the tumultuous world of 19th-century Paris. The movie was filmed mostly in secret, practically under the noses of France’s Nazi occupiers. In French with English subtitles. For a detailed description, visit Free with museum admission and for DIA members; $5 for general public without museum admission.

Detroit Film Theatre: Idiots and Angels: 7 p.m. (see April 1 for description)

Detroit Film Theatre: Twelve Thirty: 9:30 p.m. (see April 1 for description)

Family Sunday, April 3
Class: Potter’s Wheel for Adults & Children: (ages 5-8 must be with an adult): 10–11 a.m., 11 a.m.–noon, 1–2 p.m. and 2–3 p.m.
Try the potter’s wheel in this small class for absolute beginners, complete with plenty of individual guidance. Each person gets to use his or her own wheel with one hour of hands-on clay time. Projects will be fired for pick-up at a later date. Sessions limited to five students. Members $12, non-members $16. To register, email or call (313) 833-4249.

Family Performance: Joe Reilly: 2 p.m.
Joe Reilly is a singer, songwriter and environmental educator in Ann Arbor. Reilly offers an exciting interactive musical program that helps people of all ages deepen their relationships with themselves, each other and their natural environment through fun and educational songs.

Music Performance: Gudea’s Dream: 1 p.m.
In conjunction with the 2 p.m. presentation Gudea of Lagash: Sumerian or 20th-Century Fake?, Darksounds Ensemble, directed by James Cornish & Piotr Michalowski, will perform an avant-garde jazz translation of this ancient text.

Presentation: Gudea of Lagash: Sumerian or 20th-Century Fake?: 2 p.m.
The DIA acquired an iconic statuette of Gudea of Lagash in 1982, which was believed to date from 2141-22 BCE. It was discovered allegedly in 1924 at Tello (ancient Girsu, Iraq), a site subject to illegal excavations. Scholars from around the world recently conducted a workshop to consider if the statuette came from such as excavation, or if it was made as a fake around 1925. A panel of four experts from the workshop will discuss the major issues with the public.

Detroit Film Theatre: Idiots and Angels: 2 p.m. (see April 1 for description)

Detroit Film Theatre: Twelve Thirty: 4 p.m. (see April 1 for description)

Friday Night Live, April 8
Music: Vicky Chow and New Music Detroit: 7 & 8:30 p.m.
Vicky Chow is the pianist for the New York-based contemporary sextet Bang on a Can All-Stars. Chow performs challenging and exciting contemporary music with Detroit-based ensemble New Music Detroit, featuring Ian Ding and Dan Bauch (percussion), Erik Ronmark (saxophones), Gina DiBello and Adrienne Ronmark (violins) and Rob Tye (guitar).

Detroit Film Theatre: Kuroneko: 7 p.m.
In war-torn medieval Japan, a demon haunts the Rajomon Gate, ripping out the throats of samurai. The governor sends a war hero to confront the spirit, but what the man finds instead are two women who look like his lost mother and wife. In Japanese with English subtitles. For more details, visit Tickets: $7.50; DIA members, seniors and students, $6.50.

Detroit Film Theatre: Idiots and Angels: 9:30 p.m. (see April 1 for description)

Saturday, April 9
Detroit Film Theatre: Disco and Atomic War: 4 p.m.
This documentary recounts how the totalitarian government's power in 1980s Estonia was derived in part from its censorship of cultural life and keeping Western culture on the other side of the border. When Finland built a huge television antenna that broadcast Western signals, suddenly Disco and other pop culture became all the rage. For a detailed description, visit Tickets: $7.50; DIA members, seniors and students, $6.50.

Detroit Film Theatre: Kuroneko: 7 p.m. (see April 8 for description)

Detroit Film Theatre: Idiots and Angels: 9:30 p.m. (see April 1 for description)

Family Sunday, April 10
Artist Demonstration: Matthew Shlian's Kinetic Sculpture: Noon–4 p.m.
Matthew Shlian will create fascinating kinetic sculptures using his skills as a paper engineer.

Detroit Film Theatre: Kuroneko: 2 p.m. (see April 8 for description)

Detroit Film Theatre: Idiots and Angels: 4 p.m. (see April 1 for description)

Friday Night Live, April 15
Music: Uncommon Temperament: 7 & 8:30 p.m.
Uncommon Temperament is a collective of musicians that brings a bold new approach to Baroque music. They are known for their daring programming and historically accurate performances in unique venues.

Detroit Film Theatre: Le Quattro Volte (The Four Times): 7 p.m.
This dialogue-free, four-part meditation on man and nature traces the cycle of life through rituals of rural folk in the Italian region of Calabria. It is inspired by Pythagoras’s belief in “four-fold transmigration” where the soul passes from human to animal to vegetable to mineral. For more details, visit Tickets: $7.50; DIA members, seniors and students, $6.50.

Detroit Film Theatre: Kuroneko: 9:30 p.m. (see April 8 for description)

Saturday, April 16
Annual Dr. Coleman Mopper Memorial Lecture: Past, Present and Future at the Metropolitan Museum of Art: 2 p.m.
Thomas P. Campbell, director of The Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York, looks to the Met’s 150th anniversary in 2020 discussing the ideas, ambitions and tastes that have made the museum such an extraordinary institution.

Detroit Film Theatre: DFT 101: Wings of Desire: 4 p.m.
Damiel, an angel perched atop buildings over Berlin, can hear the thoughts, fears, hopes and dreams of people living below. When he falls in love with a beautiful trapeze artist, he is willing to give up his immortality and come back to earth to be with her. In English, French and German with English subtitles. For more details, visit Free with museum admission and for DIA members; $5 for general public without museum admission.

Detroit Film Theatre: Le Quattro Volte: 7 p.m. (see April 15 for description)

Detroit Film Theatre: Kuroneko: 9:30 p.m. (see April 8 for description)

Family Sunday, April 17
Class: Potter’s Wheel Workshop (adults only): 1–4 p.m.
This class features demonstrations and individual guidance for the absolute beginner and advanced student alike. Projects will be fired for pick-up at a later date. Class limited to 12 students. Members $36, non-members $48. To register, email or call (313) 833-4249.

Family Performance: Hansel and Gretel: 2 p.m.
In the National Marionette Theater’s adaptation of this classic tale, two master puppeteers bring the most famous of the Grimm Brother’s stories to life with exquisitely crafted marionettes, scrolling scenery and the beautiful music of Engelbert Humperdinck.

Detroit Film Theatre: Le Quattro Volte: 2 p.m. (see April 15 for description)

Detroit Film Theatre: Kuroneko: 4 p.m. (see April 8 for description)

Friday Night Live, April 22
Music: Oblivion Project: 7 & 8:30 p.m.
The Oblivion Project is the foremost Tango band in the Midwest. The group features Detroit-area musicians Peter Soave and Julien Labro on bandoneon (small accordion), Gabe Bolkosky on violin, Derek Snyder on cello, Tad Weed on piano, John Holkeboer on bass and Alex Trajano on drums.

Detroit Film Theatre: Queen to Play: 7 p.m.
A repressed French chambermaid discovers a knack and passion for chess. Her obsession leads her to seek the secret tutelage of a reclusive American doctor, a liaison that transforms their lives in unforeseen ways. In French with English subtitles. For more details, visit Tickets: $7.50; DIA members, seniors and students, $6.50.

Detroit Film Theatre: Le Quattro Volte: 9:30 p.m. (see April 15 for description)

Saturday, April 23
Detroit Film Theatre: DFT 101: Tokyo Story: 4 p.m.
An aging couple, Tomi and Sukichi, journey from their rural village to visit their two married children in bustling, postwar Tokyo. Too busy to entertain them, their children send them to a health spa. When Tomi falls ill, she and Sukichi return home, while the grief-stricken children hasten to be with her. In Japanese with English subtitles. For more details, visit Free with museum admission and for DIA members; $5 for general public without museum admission.

Detroit Film Theatre: Queen to Play: 7 p.m. (see April 22 for description)

Detroit Film Theatre: Le Quattro Volte:
9:30 p.m. (see April 15 for description)

Family Sunday, April 24
Storytelling: The Coming of Spring: 2 p.m.
In the soft light of a Michigan morning, a mother doe instructs her fawn on the ways of the forest. Flocks of birds return to the skies and the voice of the turtle is heard once again. Genot “Winter Elk” Picor presents “Stories, Songs and Dances of the Metis’ Voyageur: The Coming of Spring,” with interactive stories, puppets, sing-a-longs and a lively dance or two.

Detroit Film Theatre: Queen to Play: 2 p.m. (see April 22 for description)

Detroit Film Theatre: Le Quattro Volte: 4:30 p.m. (see April 15 for description)

Wednesday, April 27
Lecture: Mid-Century Modernism: Origins and Evolution: 6:30 p.m.
By 1955 many American artists, architects and designers broke from European precedents to develop distinctively American forms of modernism. Independent curator Susan Larsen looks at how mid-20th-century painters drew on the progressive political ideals of the 1930s, with a focus on artists in the DIA collection, including Josef Albers, Irene Rice Pereira, Mark Rothko and Vaclav Vytlacil.

Friday Night Live, April 29
Music: Ambrose Akinmusire Quintet: 7 & 8:30 p.m.
After signing to Blue Note records and the buzz created by his debut CD, Prelude: To Cora, trumpeter Ambrose Akinmusire returns to Detroit to deliver his hypermodern vision of contemporary jazz. Joining him are Walter Smith III, tenor sax; Sam Harris, piano; Harish Raghavanm bass and Justin Brown, drums.

Lecture: Journey to the Edge of the Channel: From Drawing and Printmaking to Sculpture: 7 p.m.
Douglas Semivan, associate professor and chair of the art department at Madonna University, speaks about the creative process behind his sculpture Edge of the Channel, which was recently unveiled on the university’s grounds. He illuminates how his many years of experience working in two-dimensional formats influenced this sculptural commission.

Detroit Film Theatre: Uncle Boonmee: 7 p.m.
Uncle Boonmee, a farmer in rural Thailand, suffers from kidney failure, and is tended to by loved ones and visited by the ghosts of his wife and son. In Thai with English subtitles. For more details, visit Tickets: $7.50; DIA members, seniors and students, $6.50.

Detroit Film Theatre: Queen to Play: 9:30 p.m. (see April 22 for description)

Saturday, April 30
Detroit Film Theatre: DFT 101: Wooden Crosses: 4 p.m.
This 1932 masterwork depicts the travails of a French regiment during World War I. Film techniques, such as haunting background images and documentary-like camerawork, help create a pacifist work of chilling power. In French with English subtitles. For more details, visit Free with museum admission and for DIA members; $5 for general public without museum admission.
Detroit Film Theatre: Uncle Boonmee: 7 p.m. (see April 29 for description)

Detroit Film Theatre: Queen to Play: 9:30 p.m. (see April 22 for description)

About the Detroit Institute of Arts
The Detroit Institute of Arts (DIA), one of the premier art museums in the United States, is home to more than 60,000 works that comprise a multicultural survey of human creativity from ancient times through the 21st century. From the first van Gogh painting to enter a U.S. museum (Self-Portrait, 1887), to Diego Rivera's world-renowned Detroit Industry murals (1932–33), the DIA's collection is known for its quality, range, and depth. As the DIA celebrates its 125th anniversary in 2010, it does so with renewed commitment to its visitor-centered experience and to its mission of creating opportunities for all visitors to find personal meaning in art.

Museum hours are 10 a.m.–4 p.m. Wednesdays and Thursdays, 10 a.m.–10 p.m. Fridays, and 10 a.m.–5 p.m. Saturdays and Sundays. Admission is $8 for adults, $6 for seniors ages 62+, $4 for ages 6-17, and free for DIA members. For membership information call 313-833-7971.

Programs are made possible in part with support from the National Endowment for the Arts and the City of Detroit.