DNR News: Bat Week, online archaeology tools, composting tips and more

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News Digest - Week of Oct. 26, 2020


Bat week is the perfect time to learn how you can help these important species.

Here's a look at some of this week's stories from the Department of Natural Resources:

See other news releases, Showcasing the DNR stories, photos and other resources at Michigan.gov/DNRPressRoom.

PHOTO FOLDER: Larger, higher-res versions of the images used below, and additional ones, are available in this folder.

It's Bat Week!

red bat

Bats do some pretty amazing things for Michigan, and there’s no better time to spotlight them than during Bat Week (Oct. 24-31), an annual international celebration. It’s a good opportunity to learn about these important species and consider the benefits of bats.

Michigan is home to nine different bat species – including the handsome red bat – all of which are insectivores. During the evening hours, these flying mammals consume many insects including mosquitoes, beetles, moths and flies. 

But the bat benefits don't stop there. Other species in different parts of the country provide much-needed crop pollination and seed dispersal, helping agriculture and the local environment.

Bats are important members of Michigan's ecosystems, but, unfortunately, many species are in decline. White-nose syndrome is a deadly disease that affects North American bats primarily during their winter hibernation. Infected bats wake up early from hibernation, rapidly deplete their fat reserves and are unable to survive the winter. Bats with this disease often exhibit unusual behavior, like flying during daylight hours or gathering outside of caves in cold weather.

There are plenty of ways to support Michigan’s bats. You can: 

Visit BatWeek.org to learn more about these awesome animals and ways you can take action during Bat Week and all year long.

Get more information on our state’s bat species and ways to help at Michigan.gov/Bats.

Questions? Contact Holly Vaughn at 248-881-9429.

Don't forget your hunter safety certificate

hunter safety certificate

With opening day of the 2020 firearm season just weeks away, it’s a good time to start preparing. Hunters, if you’ve lost or misplaced your hunter safety certificate or changed your name, you can request a duplicate; it will take about two weeks to receive in the mail. And for first-time hunters, there’s still time to earn that safety designation!

Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the DNR is offering a temporary safety certificate for eligible hunter education students who have completed the online course but have not yet completed the required field day. Those students can purchase a Michigan hunting license through June 1, 2021.

Eligible online students must have either:

  • Started the program on or after Sept. 10, 2019, and complete it by June 1, 2021.
  • Already completed the online program but have yet to complete a field day.

Students are encouraged to complete a field day (currently being offered) as soon as possible. All hunters need a hunter education safety certificate to purchase a Michigan hunting license.

Find a field day or learn more at Michigan.gov/HunterEducation.

Questions? Email DNR-LED-RecSafety@michigan.gov.

Dig into Michigan Archaeology Day with online resources

hold out hand

Each October, the Michigan History Museum in Lansing hosts a celebration to highlight almost 14,000 years of human history in our state. This year, the celebration has gone virtual with an all-new online presence, making it easier for more people to uncover these stories.

Videos, maps and other resources for people of all ages now are available from the comfort of home! Explore active archaeology projects from around the state, take virtual tours, and find activities for the entire family to enjoy. You can also learn about new digital technologies for photographing and studying artifacts and what to do if you think you might have found part of a shipwreck. Start your exploration at MiPlace.org/Archaeology-Day.

Tired of bagging leaves? Try composting instead


Raking up fallen leaves can be a fun fall activity or a challenging chore. While most homeowners rake leaves for curbside disposal, many are turning to composting, a simple and effective way to deal with organic waste.

“Composting is nature’s way of turning your leaves and grass into a valuable soil conditioner,” said Aaron Hiday, Compost Program coordinator at the Michigan Department of Environment, Great Lakes, and Energy.

Compost has several benefits. It:

  • Saves money by reducing the need for expensive bags and commercial soil additives.
  • Helps gardens and lawns by improving the fertility and health of the soil.
  • Saves water by helping the soil hold moisture and reducing water runoff.
  • Improves the environment by recycling valuable organic resources and extending the lives of landfills.

Getting started is easy. All you need is a pitchfork, rake and shovel, a compost bin and some soil. Compost bins can be purchased at a hardware store or made of inexpensive blocks, wire, wood or snow fencing.

There are a few do’s and don’ts for proper composting.

  • Do compost grass clippings, leaves, weeds, garden debris, small brush, twigs, clean wood ash, sawdust, wood chips, eggshells, coffee grounds and food waste.
  • Don’t compost whole branches or logs, pet or human waste, charcoal briquette ash, sawdust from treated wood, meat or dairy food items.

EGLE’s handy Home Composting: Reap a Heap of Benefits info sheet provides more valuable tips, as does this short video.

If composting at home is not an option, check with your local municipality or recycler for yard waste drop-off locations. The Michigan Recycling Directory website also lists locations that take food scraps. (Select the "Organics" tab and then click on "Food Scraps." Be sure to verify with the location that it accepts food scraps before taking them to the location.)

Composting is an easy way to dispose of organic waste with a ton of benefits. Get started today!

Questions? Contact Aaron Hiday at 517-282-7546.

ICYMI: UP couple invites rare birds using forest management


Camping and exploring nature are passions for Bill and Betty Perkis, an Upper Peninsula couple who enjoy planning their vacations around visits to national parks. The two recently decided to bring a bit of nature home by actively managing their property for wildlife. The Perkises sought the help of forestry and habitat experts to incorporate sustainable forestry techniques that would improve their 40 acres for species like the golden-winged warbler –  a rare, yellow and gray songbird that prefers young forests for breeding and nesting.

In case you missed it, read the full story to learn how the Perkis family turned acres of tangled trees into healthy forest land perfect for birds and wildlife. 


Want to stay at a state park, but don't have a tent or an RV? We have plenty of cabins, lodges, yurts and more to let you camp cozy this fall! Check out your options and reserve today.


Are your kids curious about critters? Get your holiday shopping done early and pick up What in the Wild, the DNR’s wildlife card game, at a 10% discount through Nov. 1.


Want to share your thoughts about natural and cultural resources with the DNR? Check out these upcoming meetings for opportunities to make your voice heard. 

DNR COVID-19 RESPONSE: For details on affected DNR facilities and services, visit this webpage. Follow state actions and guidelines at Michigan.gov/Coronavirus.

Make your plan to vote November 3 or earlier