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My Town: Volunteers needed for Grand River cleanup on Sept. 21

My Town: Volunteers needed for Grand River cleanup on Sept. 21

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich.-- The annual Mayor’s Grand River Cleanup takes place Sept. 21.

Volunteers are encouraged to make a difference in their community by taking part in this clean-up effort focusing on sites in Grand Rapids, Grandville, Plainfield Township, Walker and Wyoming.

Registration takes place on Sept. 21 at Sixth Street Park located at 647 Monroe Ave. on the corner of Monroe Avenue and Newberry in downtown Grand Rapids. Arrivals after 9:15 a.m. may not be guaranteed a place on the bus. Buses leave at 9:35 a.m. sharp from the Sixth Street Park.

Call Becky Brown at (616) 451-3051, e-mail her at bbrown@wmeac.org or visit www.grandrivercleanup.com for more information.

Living Nativity returns for its 18th year

 Living Nativity returns for its 18th year

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich.-- This live re-enactment of the Christmas story  takes place on three consecutive nights, starting Friday, Dec. 13 at Brookside Christian Reformed Church.

Performances complete with live animals are scheduled for 7 p.m., 7:30 p.m. and 8 p.m. each evening. Warm up in the Activity Center with a cup of hot chocolate, sample cookies, visit with the Neighbors in Nazareth and take part in activities and crafts.

Brookside Christian Reformed Church is located at 3600 Kalamazoo Avenue SE in Grand Rapids. The event is open to the entire community and admission is free.

For more information, call (616) 452-3191 or visit www.brooksidecrc.org.

Company transforms roof into wildlife habitat

Company transforms roof into wildlife habitat

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich.—A wildlife habitat is now gracing the roof of a Grand Rapids area home.

Tom Newhouse designed and built his home and design studio in 1978 as a solar, earth-sheltered, low energy place, complete with a green roof.  The project won a national design award from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development and Environmental Protection Agency at the time.

Last year, when upgrades were needed for his roof, Newhouse found Advanced Green Architecture.  Workers with the Grand Rapids business replaced his aging roof with a new modular green roof system that supports wildlife. AGA reused existing plants from the original green roof and added more than 30 varieties of Michigan native plants.  Workers also planted wildflower seeds, added a small pond to attract birds, insects and frogs, and installed a walking path and seating area.

Annual Christmas Bird Count begins on December 14

Annual Christmas Bird Count begins on December 14

Every year tens of thousands of volunteers throughout the Americas take part in an adventure that has become a family tradition among generations.  Families and students, birders and scientists, armed with binoculars, bird guides and checklists go out on an annual mission - often before dawn.  For over one hundred years, the desire to both make a difference and to experience the beauty of nature has driven dedicated people to leave the comfort of a warm house during the Holiday season.

Each of the citizen scientists who annually braves  the snow, wind, or rain, to take part in the Christmas Bird Count makes an enormous contribution to conservation.  Audubon and other organizations use data collected in this longest-running wildlife census to assess the health of bird populations - and to help guide conservation action.

From feeder-watchers and field observers to count compilers and regional editors, everyone who takes part in the Christmas Bird Co

Calvin College students create inventory of 3,500 trees on campus

Calvin College students create inventory of 3,500 trees on campus

GRAND RAPIDS (WZZM) - After one year of surveying, Calvin College biology and geography students have created an inventory and map of every tree on campus, west of the Beltline. The project began in the fall of 2010 under the direction of Calvin College biology professor Dave Warners and geography professor Jason VanHorn.

"As we start thinking about a more sustainable campus and trying to become carbon neutral, it seemed to make sense that we needed to document the trees on campus," Warners said. "In order to know how much carbon sequestration we have on campus, we have to know the number and size of trees.

The online tree map contains details of the size, species, location and age of more than 3,500 trees.

Among the summary statistics was the total number of trees (3,516), the number of species (112), the number of landscaped vs. natural trees (1138/2378) and the number of each type of tree: Norway Spruce is the most common at 305.

Group helping stray animals by holding Second Best Sale

A non-profit group helping stray cats is welcoming donations.

Carol’s Ferals & Friendlies is hosting its Second Best Sale this week. Visitors can drop off tax-deductible donations at the back corridor of Menard’s in the Centerpointe Mall through 7 p.m. on June 21. Donations may include clothing, house wares, books, sports equipment, pet items, toys, furniture, CDs, DVDs, books, antiques and collectibles.

The sale will run June 23, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.; June 24, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.; and June 25, 12 p.m. to 4 p.m.  All proceeds will go to Carol’s Ferals & Friendlies.