DNR News: Wetland Wonders winners, ALB tree check, water safety smarts

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News Digest - Week of Aug. 9, 2021

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The Explore MI Wetland Wonders contest winners have been announced!

This week's stories may reflect how the Department of Natural Resources has adapted to meet customer needs and protect public health and safety. Follow our COVID-19 response page for updates on access to facilities and programs.  

We'll continue to share news and information about the best ways to discover and enjoy Michigan's natural and heritage resources! Here's a look at some of this week's stories:

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 others, are available in this folder.

Photo ambassador snapshot: Sunny trails at Saugatuck Dunes

Saugatuck Dunes SP

Want to see more pictures like this, taken by Michigan state parks photo ambassador Greg Viau at Saugatuck Dunes State Park in Allegan County? Visit Instagram.com/MiStateParks to explore photos and learn more about the photo ambassadors! For more on the program, call Stephanie Yancer at 989-274-6182.

Explore MI Wetland Wonders contest winners announced

Hadley & Bill Stansberry

We’re pleased to announce the winners of the Consumers Energy-sponsored Explore MI Wetland Wonders contest. All four winners will receive Cabela’s gift cards in varying amounts:  

  • Grand prizewinner ($1,000 gift card) – Hadley Stansberry of Monroe (pictured with her father, Bill)
  • 2nd prizewinner ($750 gift card) – Ryan Quackenbush of Freeland 
  • 3rd prizewinner ($500 gift card) – Brian Barnabo of Brighton  
  • 4th prizewinner ($250 gift card) – Isaac Terry of Saginaw 

Being a part of this year’s challenge was easy and fun; all participants had to do was visit at least one of Michigan’s 15 Wetland Wonders and email a selfie taken next to the area sign.  

“If you’re a birder in Michigan, there’s a chance you’ve visited several of these Wetland Wonders,” said third prizewinner Brian Barnabo.

“There are some birds that you’re just not going to find anywhere else,” he said. “Whether it’s American white pelicans at Shiawassee, yellow headed blackbirds at Nayanquing Point, or the rare birds that show up at Point Mouillee like black-necked stilts, these locations offer the best opportunities to observe migrating shorebirds and waterfowl. Every one of these locations offers a unique variety of species and habitat that the birding community here in Michigan utilizes year-round.”  

Michigan's Wetland Wonders, located across the state, are managed to provide high-quality wetlands for waterfowl and waterbirds while providing great outdoor recreation opportunities. These areas are funded by hunting license fees, but they are open for anyone to visit, use and enjoy most of the year.  

“Our Wetland Wonders are well-known for some of the best waterfowl hunting in the state, but what many people don’t know about are the great wildlife viewing, hiking, kayaking, birding, fishing and other outdoor recreation opportunities there during the spring and summer,” said Barbara Avers, DNR waterfowl and wetlands specialist.  

Special thanks to contest sponsor Consumers Energy and contest partners Michigan United Conservation Clubs and MI Birds.  

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

Check your trees for signs of Asian longhorned beetle


Imagine what the summer heat would feel like without the cooling shade of backyard trees. If you appreciate your trees, August is the time to show them some love! Take a few minutes to check your trees for invasive Asian longhorned beetles and the damage their larvae leave behind.

The U.S. Department of Agriculture has declared August Tree Check Month because it is the best time to spot the round, drill-like holes made by the Asian longhorned beetle.

To date, the beetle has not been detected in Michigan, but has been confirmed in six states, including Illinois and Ohio. Discovering early signs of infestation can prevent widespread damage to Michigan’s forest resources, urban landscapes and maple syrup production.

What to look for

  • Dime-sized, perfectly round exit holes in trunks or branches.
  • Shallow chew marks in the bark where the beetle lays its eggs.
  • Material resembling wood shavings at the base of the tree, or where branches meet the trunk.
  • Dead branches on otherwise leafy trees.
  • Shiny black beetles, 3/4 to 1 1/2 inches in length, with white spots and white striped antennae.

What to do

If you see an Asian longhorned beetle, or a tree that appears to have ALB damage, report it. If possible, capture the beetle in a jar, take photos, record the location and report it as soon as possible at AsianLonghornedBeetle.com or contact the Michigan Department of Agriculture and Rural Development at 800-292-3939 or MDA-info@Michigan.gov.

Questions? Contact Joanne Foreman at 517-284-5814.

Hitting the water? Remember life jackets and safety smarts

kayakers with lifejackets

We’re coming into what traditionally is the hottest part of Michigan summer, and that means many people are flocking to the water for relief and relaxation. Whether plans include time on the Great Lakes or inland lakes and waterways, a little preparation will go a long way toward ensuring everyone in your group has a great time and stays safe.

When swimming or boating in any body of water, make safety your first priority. Never swim alone, always keep close watch over children and bring U.S. Coast Guard-approved life jackets, especially for new and inexperienced swimmers.

Many, but not all, state parks on the Great Lakes offer designated swimming areas that are identified by buoys or buoys and markers, a beach flag warning system and water depth less than 5 feet at the time of installation. You also may find other designated swim areas in places other than state parks.

Visit Michigan.gov/BeachSafety for more on warning flags, types of currents and other safety information. Where beach flag warning systems are available, check the flag upon arrival and monitor it throughout the day because conditions can change rapidly.

  • Green flag = Go. Enter the water but stay aware of changing conditions.
  • Yellow flag = Caution. Watch for dangerous currents and high waves.
  • Red flag = Stop. Stay on the beach; do not enter the water and do not swim.

When boating, have life jackets available for everyone aboard, leave a float plan with someone on shore, stay alert and carry a cellphone or marine radio. That goes for those on personal watercraft like Jet Skis and paddle boards, too. The DNR’s boating safety webpage offers more tips.

Questions? Contact Ron Olson at 517-243-1477.

'I Voted' exhibit open now in Lansing

i voted exhibit

A new exhibit at the DNR's Michigan History Museum in Lansing shares the history of voting rights in Michigan and showcases stories about the people, protests and policies that transformed voting in our state.

The exhibit, which is open through spring 2022, features documents, photographs and objects – including a 1920s voting machine, artifacts from the 1961 Constitutional Convention and a variety of campaign ephemera. 

The museum is open Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays in August, and reopens seven days a week starting Sept. 7. The exhibit is free with museum admission.

Visit Michigan.gov/Museum for visitor information. Questions? Contact Tobi Voigt at 517-898-6067.


The Great Lakes offer world-class fishing opportunities and are perfect for your next fishing trip. Check out the DNR's Roadmaps to Fishing the Great Lakes for tips. 


Free ORV weekend (Aug. 21-22) is coming up fast! You can ride DNR routes and trails without an ORV license or permit, but still need a Recreation Passport where applicable.


Want to become a community scientist? Check out the new community science opportunities page and see how you can help across the state and around the world!