Fenner Nature Center - Lansing, Michigan

I looked over my 35mm files and could not find any pictures taken at Fenner Nature Center. The image at left is the first one I have in my digital files of FNC (D036 0001), and it is the only photo I show taken there on that particular date (8-15-04). Do not ask me how such a thing might happen. I do not know. Anybody familiar with me when I have a camera in my hands knows how improbable that is. Yet, I do not show another picture taken at Fenner until February 2, 2008. I remember thinking I needed to get out there with my camera to take some shots, but I do not know if I realized I only had one in my entire inventory at the time. 

I have a memory of visiting Fenner without my camera before the 2004 photo. Some friends suggested we meet there for a Sunday afternoon walk. As I have mentioned elsewhere, I do not like the sense that I am working (photographing) when I am doing things with friends or family unless I have specifically been invited to a place because the person thought I would enjoy the picture taking opportunities there. But that was not the case here. I made a conscious decision to not even put my camera in the car to avoid any temptation to carry it along on the walk. I remember this because, at one point in the walk, a Blue Heron decided to keep on feeding even though we were clearly visible less than ten feet from where he was in the water. Oh well.    



I am amused that I choose the words "oh well" now, as if my reaction to that circumstance was nice and calm with an attitude of no big deal. Let me assure you this was not my emotional response at the time. It makes my top five "bonehead times when I did not take my camera" list. I mention another one in the Fitzgerald Park (animal) pages. 

Anyway, the second mystery for me is why the next pictures are the February photos, the dead of winter, instead of one of the festivals which we were more likely to attend. My wife was with me, so I am guessing perhaps we decided to go for a little outdoor time after being mostly cooped up indoors all season. Just a walk, but with the whole Blue Heron thing, I was not about to go to Fenner without my camera good choice. As poor a memory as I have, I can recall I was wearing a brown coat.  It was a color similar to deer hide. The second set of pictures below reveal why I remember such a detail. I still wonder if I could have gotten as close as I did if I had been in a different color coat. 

The Sugar Bush Trail and the building in the last grouping below become hubs of activity during Fenner's Maple Syrup Festival each spring. Some festival images are coming up next after the winter shots. The Cardinal gave me another opportunity to take his picture as we were departing. Their red feathers give such stark contrast to winter's white. 











The next pictures in my inventory are from the Maple Syrup Festival (March 22, 2009). Their website describes it thus, "Take a short walk to the maple grove and look for sap in the buckets hanging on the maple trees. Then wander to the fire to watch the sap boiling in the large evaporating pan. Taste the sweet sap and syrup. Warm up inside the Visitor Center with some hot chocolate, purchase some maple products and enjoy the nature art such as woodcarving, painting, photography and Native American wood flutes and beadwork on exhibit by local artists." 

A major motivation in my going to the Fenner festivals is that they are free. There are those, in organizations I have belonged to, who feel you must put an admission price on something in order for people to value it. I understand where such a philosophy derives its roots in our money obsessed culture, but I have long disagreed with this, and the attendance at Fenner events has seemed quite good on the occasions when I was visiting, as will be evidenced by the photos within these pages. Even though the Fenner property is owned by the city of Lansing, its operations now fall to the "Friends of Fenner." I pray their general and volunteer support will be adequate to keep the events free. 

There is quite a bit going on inside the visitor center as well as outdoors during the Maple Syrup Festival. The photos will start inside, followed by a section where we will join a group hearing a guided history and explanation of maple syrup gathering and processing. It is rounded out by a few shots simply wandering the grounds on our own. And, in the last two sections of images from the festival, we are back next to the visitors center where they have some feeders attracting both large and small birds. I took a lot of turkey pictures, but have whittled them down to a few, to keep you from getting too shell shocked. I particularly liked the gents who started strutting their stuff (or more specifically puffed right up) when some ladies showed up. Hmmm, sounds just like us humans imagine that. 















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