Caramel Apple official summer flavor for Michigan’s state parks

This summer families cuddling underneath a warm blanket to watch the sunset at one of Michigan’s state parks can enjoy Pure Michigan Caramel Apple ice cream. That’s the state park system’s official flavor. “So many people get ice cream and watch Michigan’s great sunsets, in state parks or along our shorelines,” said Maia Stephens, a recreation programmer with the state’s Department of Natural Resources. Dawn Dummer of Houghton Lake created the new signature flavor, Stephens said. The state and the Holland-based Hudsonville Creamery and Ice Cream Co.

Warmer weather isn’t changing hummingbird migration

The warm weather in the Great Lakes region this March is unusual, but it should not change hummingbirds’ migration patterns and instincts, according to a hummingbird enthusiast. Lanny Chambers from St. Louis, Mo., is licensed to band hummingbirds, which is when a band with a unique number is placed around the bird’s ankle. This is for educational purposes and reveals a lot about migration habits. He also runs a website where people post when and where they have seen the birds migrating.

Sex, water and rock and roll: Sturgeon spawn while singing on the rocks

How does a scientist use sound to save a 150-million-year-old fish? In Wisconsin, Ron Bruch and Chris Bocast are trying to help restore sturgeon stock by listening for the sound they make when spawning that some call “thunder.” The sound can be heard here. “It’s a real low frequency, you can almost feel it instead of hear it,” said Bruch, fish supervisor with the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources. “One of the important measures of success is knowing your stock is spawning.”

Bocast, a University of Wisconsin-Madison doctoral student in acoustic ecology, discovered the sound while working on an audio book about sturgeons.

A small, slightly overweight animal predicts the rest of winter

One of the most famous wild animals in a Great Lakes state gets the environmental spotlight today.  Phil, a groundhog in Punxsutawney, Pa., has predicted winter’s future for more than 125 years. Since 1886 the town has celebrated Phil’s waking. Groundhog’s Day events there this year include Oreo stacking and a walking tour of sculptures of the little guy. Thousands of people nationwide participate, according to the event’s official website. The events only break when Phil comes out of his burrow at Gobbler’s Knob.

Nice try, Wisconsin – Michigan is still the mitten

Residents of Wisconsin believe their home state is shaped like a mitten. Since when? If you’re going to use another state’s trademark, at least choose a state on the other side of the country, not one right next to you. Or be shaped more like a mitten. Those of us who live in Michigan have a hard time accepting Wisconsin as the place where you use your hand to point out where you are from.