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DAR brings back a day for kids

EagleHerald Staff Writer

MENOMINEE—After raising his own children on a farm in Delta County where they learned to collect and sell eggs and ride horses, Noel Czygan drove a mobile petting zoo to Menominee Thursday so other children could enjoy farm animals face to face.

Maria Lamalfa, 2, of Menominee, ran back and forth from the petting zoo packed in a trailer to the colorful bouncy house across the school yard. Her mother, Lexie Lamalfa said Maria wasn’t patient enough to stand in line and wait her turn to jump, but she obviously enjoyed seeing the bunnies, chickens, goats and pigs.

So did 7-year-old David and 10-year-old Brayden Smith of Marinette, who reached over a chicken-wire fence to pat the rabbits.

The petting zoo was the first activity they noticed when they arrived at the Community Kids Day event Thursday in Menominee. After several years of forgoing the event due to COVID-19, the DAR Boys & Girls Club held it again in conjunction with other Marinette and Menominee organizations that provided free activities, balloons, candy, food, goodie bags and information.

“Honestly moms have days, dads have days, goundhogs have days. Kids need a day to have fun and just expend some energy in a positive way. This is our community day,” said DAR chief executive Koreen Gardon.

Mother Nisa Miron of Menominee said her two boys enjoyed the activities and the food. “They get dinner—snacks, drinks and hot dogs,” she said.

Brittany Simpson, who runs an in-home day care on 10th Avenue, said she had heard about the event for years, but with COVID, it didn’t happen. This year, her 9-month-old daughter Emily sat and soaked in the sun and the sights, while Simpson’s other children enjoyed the games and bouncy houses.

Michell Hampton, financial development director at the YMCA, said the Y has participated in the event for years to help promote movement and getting outside. It’s important to the community “just to get people moving in fresh air and in the sun, just to get outside and play every day. Everyone should be doing that,” she said.

Czygan said he and his wife Michelle, owner of Party Time Pony in Rapid River, raised their children on a farm to teach them responsibility. “It just teaches them good values, values that are hard to find on a smartphone.”

Their grown children are now professional violinists, he said, but they learned about business from raising farm animals. “My son had the egg concession. He sold the eggs, so he learned business. My daughter did the same thing with horses. She learned how to ride them. We decided living on a farm was a good match.”

Youth groups occasionally visit the Czygan farm, but Party Time Pony also brings the barn to the city. It’s housed in a trailer pulled by a truck. “If you have animals, you might as well put them in a barn on wheels,” Noel Czygan said. “It’s fun to share what you have.”

It’s about time, it’s about space

ESCANABA—Time and space are key elements in forest management but they do not always sync well with human schedules. These “temporal” and “spatial” differentials become the source of many natural resource conflicts.

Trees take a fairly long time to grow, some species more than others. Forests take an even longer time to fully develop, and they regularly change over time, sometimes gradually and sometimes violently.

The human measure of time runs considerably shorter than that of forests, unless you’re a forester, logger, or perhaps, another breed of natural resource person. One who replants forests often understands the forest time frame. Most humans function within units of days and hours, not decades or centuries.

The partner of time is space. Humans tend to pass judgement based on a peculiarly small sample of what they can see, such as the areas around their residences (cities, for the most part) or along highway corridors as we travel from place A to place B.

If forests could talk, they might advise us about patience and tolerance and broader perspective.

Why does this matter?

I suppose the classic case study would be to consider a clearcut in aspen or jack pine. Or, one of those forest types that experience widespread mortality from wildfire or a massive attack by an insect or pathogen outbreak. In the short term, it all looks like devastation. However, in the forest time frame, it is a disturbance essential to renewal for those kinds of forests and all their denizens.

Another example might be the historic recovery of forests after the brutal decades of wanton harvest and massive wildfires. Through management and natural recovery, we all benefit from contemporary “secondary” forests. Nothing we do today comes close to the scale of what was done 150 years ago. Today, we hold different values, have far more knowledge and experience at our disposal, and work far more strategically.

Returning to that clearcut or wildfire on your own forestland, or in a favorite forest place, this visual change evokes negative emotions among those of us who typically view the world in a time frame much shorter than that of a forest. Of course, disappointment is entirely understandable. We’ll not likely see “what was” again in our lifetime. At least not in that place.

However, part of the forest aesthetic is to appreciate and admire the process of forest dynamics. “Aesthetic” is a poor synonym for visual quality, for which the word is commonly misused. Knowing more about how a forest “works” can engender a much elevated sense of satisfaction than merely how a forest “looks”. An analogy might be judging a person solely on how they appear. People are more than their mere appearance, and so are forests.

This deeper esteem is a large part of why I love being a forester and wildlife biologist.

Our case study of a “devastated” forest is actually a crucible of renewal and exciting change. Long-oppressed plants burst into life, often with colorful blooms. In “devastated” jack pine stands, this is where the blueberries thrive. The matrix of wildlife shifts to take advantage of the new forest, new food sources, and different habitat structure. The concert of spring birds takes-on a different sound.

The huge influx of sunlight changes life, then attenuates for at least a few decades. This is a good thing, and wonderfully remarkable.

Gradually, in our time frame, the trees resume their dominance. Highly vulnerable in the beginning, most baby trees die. However, more than enough usually survive to restock the forest. Once the trees reach heights of ten to twenty feet, the riotous cacophony of sun-loving plants begins to fade, as shade from the tree canopy suppresses their growth and abundance for many decades to come.

The observant will see forests in various stages of development while rolling along highways and byways. Recently, I drove over 12,000 miles throughout western Canada, Alaska, and the northern tier of U.S. states. I saw tens of thousands of acres burned by wildfire just last year, and then those burned ten years ago, and then those burned decades ago. There were also vast areas of taiga that were seemingly untouched. It was an excellent lesson in temporal and spatial characteristics of forested landscapes. It was also humbling.

Such is a healthy matrix of area and age classes.

Along with the “temporal element” of forest ecology, the under-appreciated “spatial element” also adds to natural resources conflict. The sort of “visual quality” that many people prefer always exists somewhere, often close by, but not always right where “we” might want it. I suggest this is a rather self-centered viewpoint imposed upon nature.

Forests don’t much care about what “we” think about their appearance. In fact, forests don’t care or think at all. But they do morph and evolve over time . . . and space.

However, people sometimes grow upset and ornery when “their” forest visual quality changes in a manner they consider unattractive. Too often, these folks fail to embrace the whirling dervish of forest dynamics that occupies vast landscapes.

Humans tend to exist in the immediate here and now. Forests do not. Forests play the long game. So, conflict brews when forest managers “spoil” a particular “here and now” that then can generate conflict and criticism. And, so it goes, as Kurt Vonnegut said.

Bill Cook is a retired MSU Extension forester/biologist

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Bay Jammer tradition will continue

MENOMINEE—Menominee is known for many historic things ranging from logging to being the home of the Lloyd Loom; however some people may not realize that Menominee is also home to the nation’s oldest Scouting event of its kind. For the past 63 years, the Bay-Lakes Council of the Boy Scouts of America, based out of Appleton, Wisconsin, has sponsored an event known as Bay Jammer in downtown Menominee. The storied tradition continues the weekend of July 22-24 at the Great Lakes Memorial Marina-Park.

Bay Jammer is known throughout the twin-cities and in Scouting circles as an event that brings Venture Scouts, Sea Scouts, Explorers, Boy Scouts, Mariners, and Senior Girl Scouts together for a weekend of competitions, friendship, and good Scouting fun in downtown Menominee. Bay Jammer began as just a small idea back during the cold winter months of 1948. At that time individuals like the late Michael Anuta, Ray Pawlowski, Don Payton and Earl Nelson had a bold idea that hadn’t been tried before anywhere, but certainly not in Menominee.

Each of the forefathers of this event pushed forward through countless obstacles to create what today is known nationally as one of the best Scouting events for young men and women.

Today Bay Jammer lives on after 73 consecutive years as a part of Menominee’s lore and as an offering for youth through the Bay-Lakes Council’s Venturing Program. In the early days over 1,000 Scouts gathered in downtown Menominee for this event. Today’s numbers are much smaller, but Scouts still find it exciting to make the trip.

Bay Jammer offers Scouts an opportunity to compete in a wide-array of competitions. The weekend festival begins on July 22 with the talent night competition called “LipJam.” This event begins at 8 p.m. with opening ceremonies followed by performances by each unit. This year’s theme for LipJam is “Musical Theater.”

Other events on July 23 and 24 include swimming, sand sculpting, volleyball, canoeing, boating, log rolling, tug-of-war, and much more. The weekend also includes two dances, a meal and many awards.

Although Bay Jammer can only allow active Scouts to participate in its events, residents of the twin-cities are strongly encouraged to visit downtown Menominee to take in some of the events and visit with the Scouts in attendance. The Bay Lakes Council Museum will be in town with a historic Sea Scout\Bay Jammer display Friday evening and continuing Saturday morning at the Yacht Club.

Businesses in Menominee and Marinette are also asked to get into the Bay Jammer spirit by placing “welcome” messages in their windows and on their display boards.

Michigan House candidates will debate
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MENOMINEE—A debate featuring the four Republican candidates for the Michigan House 108th District seat will take place Monday at Blesch Auditorium in Menominee. All four candidates have been invited to attend.

Doors open at 5:30 p.m. and the debate starts at 6. There is no admission charge and it is open to the public. The event is sponsored by the Menominee County Constitutionalists group and the Delta County GOP.

The candidates are: Mark Simon of Menominee, Casey Hoffman of Menominee, Dave Prestin of Cedar River and Kurt Perron of Brimley.

The winner will take on Democrat Chris Lopez in the November general election.