Friends program to help Hine’s emerald dragonfly
BLACK RIVER – The Friends of Negwegon State Park and a number of partners are collaborating on a program to help an endangered dragonfly, and the groups are looking for the public’s help.
The friends group, along with the Michigan Natural Features Inventory and the Department of Natural Resources, will hold an informational meeting June 12 at the Alcona Township Hall, 5576 N. US-23, near Black River. Speakers will teach the audience about the plants, animals and habitats found at the park, with a focus on the Hine’s emerald dragonfly, friends group President Sue Keller said.This rare insect has been spotted at Negwegon and Thompson’s Harbor state parks.
Audience members will learn how to become citizen scientists and assist on surveys for invasive species and dragonfly habitat. It’s part of a two-year program to help the dragonfly, paid for by a grant from the United States Fish and Wildlife Service Coastal Program Grant through the Great Lakes Stewardship Initiative, according to a release. Members of Huron Pines will treat any invasive plants found during the surveys.
“One of the threats to everything is invasive plants and invasive plant species,” Keller said. “We’ll look for (dragonfly) habitat and breeding grounds, and along with that we’ll be able to map and treat invasive species along the way. We’ve mapped the shorelines for invasives, but the interior really has not been mapped for invasives.”
The June 12 training will prepare volunteers for surveys on Aug. 4-8 and Sept. 22-26, although Keller said participants don’t have to spend the entire week in the parks for each survey.
Volunteers also will learn to identify other rare species found in Negwegon or Thompson’s Harbor state parks, or both, according to the release. That’s the piping plover, a ground-nesting shorebird, the pitcher’s thistle, the dwarf lake iris and the eastern massasauga rattlesnake.
Keller said the project fits the friends group’s mission of being good stewards of the land well. Invasive plant species not only crowd out native ones, but alter the habitat and impact other species as well.
“It’s part of the whole habitat that every plant and animal species interconnects with everyone, it’s all part of the puzzle,” she said. “When the balance is shifted, then everything is shifted and not always to the good.”
It’s also a way to educate the public about Negwegon State Park, a wild and somewhat remote state park just north of Black River, Keller said. It’s wildness means there’s no need to recreate any wild habitat, but it must still be maintained.
To sign up for the class, call Eric Ostrander or Colleen Higgins at Harrisville State Park by the end of today at 724-5126, or email email@example.com.