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‘Birdscaping’ focus of KWWF workshop May 20

ROSCOMMON – Learn how to increase the number and variety of birds in your yard by growing native plants offering natural habitat and a year-long smorgasbord of berries, nuts, and seeds, as author Mariette Nowak presents a workshop, “Birdscaping,” at the Kirtland’s Warbler Wildlife Festival’s Friday Workshop on Friday, May 20, on Kirtland Community College’s main campus near Roscommon.

“We think this presentation will be of great interest – and enjoyment – to people in the area, as they seek new ways to improve their properties over the summer months,” said Jim Enger, festival chairman and director of marketing at Kirtland. “That’s why we’re so excited to bring Mariette to the festival this year. People won’t want to miss out on this workshop.”

Nowak is the author of the book, “Birdscaping in the Midwest.” She is also the past director of the Wehr Nature Center in Milwaukee County, where she served for 18 years. An avid birder, Nowak is a board member of the Wisconsin Society of Ornithology. In addition, she is an active member and past vice-president of the Wild Ones natural landscaping organization, as well as serving on the Park Committee in Walworth County and the Town of Troy Planning Commission.

This year’s Friday workshop starts at 9:30 a.m. on May 20, breaking for lunch from noon to 1 p.m. There will then be an afternoon portion from 1-3 p.m. This is a day prior to the Kirtland’s Warbler Wildlife Festival on Saturday, May 21, which is also held on the Roscommon campus.

The morning session will include a one-hour PowerPoint presentation on “Birdscaping,” and will focus on learning how to increase the number and variety of birds in your yard by growing native plants offering natural habitat and a year-long smorgasbord of berries, nuts and seeds. According to Nowak, gardeners can play a vital role by restoring and preserving native communities, which support not only birds but other wildlife, including butterflies, bees and bats.

The morning presentation will be followed by a campus walk to show and discuss plants useful in landscaping.

There will be another PowerPoint presentation on “Your Yard Can Make a Difference” in the afternoon. This will include points such as:

  • Increasing biodiversity (birds, butterflies, and the abundance of all wildlings);
  • Heal your piece of the earth;
  • Improve the health of you and your family; and
  • Add to the quality of your life.

The afternoon talk will discuss the research that proves that people can accomplish all of the above, through natural landscaping with native plants.

“The sequence of the topics may be changed, so the outdoor portion could be scheduled at a time when the weather is most suitable,” Enger added.

Cost of the workshop is $25 and includes lunch, as well as festival button for entrance to the KWWF the following day. Pre-registration is required. For more information or to register, contact Lynn Taylor at the Kirtland House conference center via e-mail at or by call 989-275-5000, extension 418.

Nowak will also be in the Kirtland Bookstore, located in the Student Center, on the day of the festival, May 21, to sign copies of her book.

Annually, more than 3,000 students attend a variety of certificate and two-year degree programs at Kirtland’s four locations – the main campus near Roscommon and the Michigan Technical Education Center (M-TEC) in Gaylord, as well as sites in Grayling and West Branch – with the college’s service area including all or parts of Crawford, Oscoda, Ogemaw, Roscommon, Otsego, Kalkaska, Missaukee, Gladwin and Alcona counties, and the surrounding areas.

For more information or a complete festival schedule call 989-275-5000, extension 266.