2010-07-15 / News

Frog Fest To Put Focus on Environment

By Josh Perttunen

Jumping at the chance to educate the public on the unique environments created in the 36- island Les Cheneaux archipelago, the organizers of the first Frog Fest, held in 2000, formed a family-friendly weekend series of events emphasizing an appreciation and preservation of the area's natural beauty.

This tradition continues with this year's Frog Fest Friday, July 16, through Sunday, July 18, with an adult seminar on Friday, hands-on educational booths and kids games, crafts, and activities on Saturday, and judging of frog art on Sunday.

The free events are a celebration of Earth stewardship, said event organizer Wendy Waggoner, and an opportunity to learn more about the wetlands and marshes that are home to amphibians and reptiles.

“The Health of the Les Cheneaux Channels” will be addressed Friday, July 16, at the community center in Cedarville, in an evening presentation hosted by Bob Smith of the Les Cheneaux Watershed Council. From 6 p.m. to 7 p.m., Mr. Smith plans to discuss the ongoing dredging project in Cedarville Bay, sewage treatment plant options, and invasive species.

“We'd like to expand community involvement with watershed projects,” he said. “Currently, a lot of invasive species grow along trails and on people's properties. We're trying to help them identify invasive species such as phragmites, narrow-leaf cattails, and Eurasian water milfoil, as well as what can be done to control them.”

These plants need to be controlled, Mr. Smith said, because they grow taller and faster than local species, squeezing them out. Also, the roots of the invasive species don't hold soil together as well, meaning increased risk of erosion during storms.

Immediately after his presentation, the council will hold its annual meeting from 7 p.m. to 7:30 p.m., when officers will be elected and a budget for the upcoming year will be adopted. The watershed council is an advisory committee to the Clark Township board, formed in 2003.

Some of the weekend activities include a nature observation trip to Bush Bay, exhibits and artwork, and a fish fry, as well as opportunities to hold snakes, decipher frog croaks, and compete in the Tadpole Olympics.

All of Saturday's events, with the exception of the nature observation trip, the Tadpole Olympics, and the “Early Bird Gets the Midge” event, will be at the parking lot of Autore Oil on M-134 from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m.

Those interested in the observation trip should meet at the west entrance of the Cedar Campus at 10 a.m., while those participating in the early birdwatching event should meet at the Nature Conservancy Gerstacker Preserve on M-134.

All tours will be guided, Mrs. Waggoner said, and are a fun way to see some of the area's best kept natural secrets.

The series of games in the Tadpole Olympics are taking place at the grass field on the Autore Oil property.

Les Cheneaux Community Foundation Awards will be presented, starting at noon.

Event organizers said that this year's Frog Fest has something for everyone. Younger children may participate in the Little T Frog Fun event hosted by the Little Traverse Conservancy.

Sunday will conclude the Frog Fest weekend with the judging of Frog Art from 2 p.m. to 4 p.m. Local businesses and homes purchase the wooden frogs to decorate and display as part of a community art project. The price is $15 for residences, with a choice of one large frog or two smaller ones, and $25 for businesses.

Frogs are available for purchase at the Les Cheneaux Welcome Center.

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