Chippewa Watershed Conservancy offers opportunities to spend time in the great outdoors

In March, when COVID-19 had just begun to change lives of people across the city, state, and nation - Mike LeValley, executive director of the Chippewa Watershed Conservancy, encouraged people to spend time in nature in light of the burgeoning pandemic.

"Even with the need for social distancing, I would recommend that everyone get outdoors for at least a few minutes every day," he said in March 2020.

"Regular exposure to nature has measurable physical and mental health benefits. It can reduce heart rate, blood pressure, and the production of stress hormones."

That advice still rings true today.

The Chippewa Watershed Conservancy has maintained its mission of protecting the wildlife of central Michigan while inviting the public to enjoy it at the same time – responsibly, of course.

As the last days of summer come to an end and fall approaches, the conservancy has a full schedule of outdoor events perfect for shaking off the pandemic blues.

From 5:30 to 7:30 p.m. on each Thursday of the month, the conservancy invites the public to join them on their invasive species removal work sessions at Sylvan Solace Preserve. Volunteers will gather to remove the invasive autumn olive, an Asian shrub introduced here to provide wildlife habitat but, as it turns out, the shrub is more harmful – and aggressive – than originally thought.

On Saturday, Sept. 19, the public is invited to join Sister Marie Kopin from the North American Mycological Association as she leads a class on how to identify different mushroom types. The class runs from 10:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. at Hall’s Lake Natural Area.

Sister Marie Kopin is also leading mushroom forays on Wednesday, Sept. 23, from 1:30 to 4 p.m. at Audobon Woods Preserve; Wednesday, Oct. 21, from 9:30 a.m. to noon at Sylvan Solace Preserve; and Saturday, Oct. 24, from 10:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. at Bundy Hill Preserve.

Visit the Chippewa Watershed Conservancy online for more opportunities to get outdoors.

Got a development news story to share? Email MJ Galbraith here or send him a tweet @mikegalbraith.

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