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My Town: Frederik Meijer Gardens provides a hot spot during spring break

My Town: Frederik Meijer Gardens provides a hot spot during spring break

GRAND RAPIDS TOWNSHIP, Mich.—If you can’t escape to a warmer place this spring break, just head to Frederik Meijer Gardens & Sculpture Park, where the Butterflies Are Blooming, and so are the opportunities for fun.

Now through April 30, visit the balmy Lena Meijer Tropical Conservatory where more than 7,000 butterflies from Africa, Asia, South America and Central America mature and  fly freely among the tropical plants. Butterflies Are Blooming is the largest temporary tropical butterfly exhibition in the nation.

 “Where else in the Midwest can you walk into a 15 thousand square-foot tropical environment and be instantly immersed in warm temperatures and thousands of exotic butterflies?” asked Steve LaWarre, director of horticulture. “This exhibition gives you the opportunity to experience something different—a taste of the tropics and special winged visitors-- right here in West Michigan.”

My Town Ada: Volunteers needed for Garlic Mustard Challenge Day

My Town Ada: Volunteers needed for Garlic Mustard Challenge Day

ADA, Mich.—Volunteers are needed to help tackle an invasive plant at one of the largest natural area parks in Kent County.

The Kent County Parks' annual Garlic Mustard Challenge Day is Saturday, April 26. The department is looking for help in removing garlic mustard from Seidman Park. This invasive plant has few natural enemies and crowds out native wildflowers and other plants.  

Volunteer shifts are 10 a.m. to noon and 1 p.m. to 3 p.m. All supplies and tools will be provided.

Registration is required. The deadline is Wednesday, April 23. To sign up, call Virginia Sines at (616) 632-7842.

My Town: Dozens competing in West Michigan Battle of the Buildings

My Town: Dozens competing in West Michigan Battle of the Buildings

UPDATE: Three more buildings have joined the competition.

Organizers say the MATS administration office, Community Mental Health and the Hall of Justice, all in Muskegon County are now involved in the Battle of the Buildings, bringing the total square footage to more than 9 million.  The new goal is 10 million square feet by the registration deadline of March 31.

PLAINFIELD TOWNSHIP, Mich.—More than three dozen local businesses are competing in cutting down energy in the West Michigan Battle of the Buildings.

The owners of 45 buildings representing nearly 9 million square feet of space have signed up to take part in the inaugural competition, organized by the U.S. Green Building Council West Michigan Chapter. The organization is teaming up with Consumers Energy and Hurst Mechanical to provide workshops on building improvements, optimizing operations and maintance and engaging building occupants to curb energy use.

My Town: Volunteers needed for Kent County Parks clean-up projects

My Town: Volunteers needed for Kent County Parks clean-up projects

KENT COUNTY, Mich.-- The Kent County Parks Department is looking for volunteers to help clean up parks this spring.

The 2014 Kent County spring clean event has not been scheduled for a specific day,  because of lingering snow cover.  However, volunteers are encouraged to sign up with he Kent County Parks Department and let them know what projects they'd like to work on, when the time comes.

People interested in pitching in to improve any of the county's 34 parks should contact Volunteer Services at (616) 632-7842 or email park.volunteers@kentcountymi.gov .  Volunteers can explain what work they'd like to do, and the Parks Department will then organize the clean-up effort.  The spring clean event provides an opportunity to meet new community members and make a difference throughout Kent County.

Frederik Meijer Gardens to welcome butterflies next week

Frederik Meijer Gardens to welcome butterflies next week

GRAND RAPIDS TOWNSHIP, Mich.—Butterflies will soon be blooming at Frederik Meijer Gardens and Sculpture Park, despite the snow.

The first shipment of tropical butterflies for the park’s annual exhibit will arrive next week, on Thursday, Feb. 20.   Meijer Gardens will receive more than 800 tropical chrysalides per week during the exhibition, which runs March 1 through April 30.

The chrysalides will be placed in the Butterfly Bungalow.  When the butterflies emerge, they will be released into the five-story Lena Meijer Tropical Conservatory to fly freely amongst guests.   Butterflies are Blooming draws nearly 150,000 guests each year.

'Snowshoes Stomp!' youth discovery program Feb. 1

'Snowshoes Stomp!' youth discovery program Feb. 1

ADA TOWNSHIP, Mich.—Learn about the different types of snowshoes and how animals survive with their own built-in snowshoes during a workshop at Ada  Township Park.

“Snowshoes Stomp!” will take place Saturday, Feb. 1, from 10 a.m. to 12 p.m.  The program is open to children ages 7-11.  Admission is $5 per youth.  Participants will get a chance to walk through the park on snowshoes and play snowshoe games.  Snowshoes and a snack will be provided.  Parents are welcome to stay for the event.

Orchids invade Frederik Meijer Gardens & Sculpture Park Jan. 25-26

Orchids invade Frederik Meijer Gardens & Sculpture Park Jan. 25-26

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich.—While most West Michigan gardens are covered with a thick layer of snow, flowers will be in bloom this weekend at Frederik Meijer Gardens & Sculpture Park.

Meijer Gardens is hosting the 16th annual Orchid Show Jan. 25-26.  Visitors can view hundreds of orchids in lush displays in the Grand Room.  Members of the Grand Valley Orchid Society will be on hand to answer questions and highlight the unique specimens at the show, which is free and open to the public.  

The orchid display will be open Saturday, from noon to 5 p.m. and Sunday, from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m.  Vendors will also be available to purchase orchid supplies and plants on Saturday, from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. and Sunday, from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m.

 Free orchid talks will also be held at the following times:

Saturday
1 p.m. Orchids for Beginners
2 p.m. How to Repot Orchids
3 p.m.