Maher Sanctuary News

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Maher Sanctuary News

Report by Chris Baer

Have you been to Maher lately? This is the time of year when Maher is eye and ear candy. So, this is your list of things to do at Maher.

1. Walk the entire route around the sanctuary. Do not be discouraged by down trees over the trail. Experience it as an adventure.

2. Note and count how many spring flowers and plants you can find along the path. Can you name them?

3. Note and count the birds that you see and hear along the route.

4. Then, walk the route again, but this time, stop at each bench and sit for 15 minutes, again counting the birds you see and hear. Is it different from #3?

5. Go to the cattail marsh along the boardwalk and carefully watch – really watch – the red-wing blackbirds. They are very entertaining. How many are there? Such a common bird that exhibits interesting behavior.

6. Visit the oak savannah (a left turn after the artesian spring creek) and see the bur oaks. They have grown up and up, and as they grow, their bark changes. Look at and feel the bark. Not many oak trees go through these changes from smooth (young trees) to deeply furrowed, scaly ridges (older trees).

7. Cross the Bridge to Nowhere (take the south boardwalk to its end) and explore the woods there. What do you find? Think of a good name for the Bridge to Nowhere.

8. View the streams from different places along the south arm of the boardwalk. What do you see? Note any fish or aquatic insects in Caine Creek (under the Bridge to Nowhere) or the artesian spring creek (right turn at the parking lot, bridge with railing).

9. Observe the marle pond for 15 minutes (left turn from the parking lot). Stand quietly on the new section of boardwalk donated by Judy McNally’s family. What do you see? A muskrat was observed there last year and frequently wood ducks paddle the pond. The male wood duck is a sight to behold.

10. According to Al Batt “there is no secret to birding other than birding.” So, go birding every chance you get.

Maher Details

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Location Map

The Maher Sanctuary is located on the southwest corner of Woodschool Rd. and 108th St. on the border of Kent and Barry Counties.



From Grand Rapids take I-96 east to Lowell. Exit at the Lowell exit and take Alden Nash Ave. south to 100th St. Proceed east 1/2 mile on 100th to Baker Ave. Turn right and go one mile south on Baker, which becomes Woodschool at 108th St. This is the Barry County line. The Maher Sanctuary is located on the southwest corner of Woodschool and 108th. Turn right on 108th and look for the parking area on the left (south) side of the road about 1/4 mile west of Woodschool.