|Mural at Dicken Elementary
||Midwinter Candlelight Walk|
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DW Field Guide! A grant from FoDW to the Dicken classrooms has resulted in a Dicken Woods Field Guide, produced via a collaboration among FoDW, the Dicken Teachers, the Leslie Science and Nature Center, and the city's Natural Area Preservation Division. This Field Guide will help Dicken Teachers make the best possible use of DW as a classroom resource. This project was funded by the generosity of a FoDW member who asked to remain anonymous.
In November 2002, the Dicken neighborhood of Ann Arbor learned of an imminent threat to the nature area known as Dicken Woods: a Novi developer's proposal would destroy the woods. The neighbors joined forces, and over the course of one year, succeeded in saving the woods. In October 2003, the Ann Arbor City Council voted to purchase Dicken Woods as city parkland.
... and Now
The Friends of Dicken Woods are now working in close collaboration with NAP ( Natural Areas Preservation) as stewards of Dicken Woods. The goals are to preserve, protect, and improve the woods, and much has been done to meet these goals.
Early in our stewardship the FoDW established trails through the nature area. Each year we maintain the trails by clearing overhanging branches and overgrown weeds and by spreading chips to allow for easy access. Owl houses were added, drain pipes channel water under the wetter areas along the trails and a foot bridge was built as an Eagle Scout project.
An annual fall work day allows massive amounts of buckthorn and other invasive plants to be cut and removed, and a spring work day has provided an opportunity to plant hundreds of trees. Recently a butterfly garden has been started and many native species wildflowers have been planted in the garden and along the South Maple and Pauline perimeters.
The FoDW works with the Dicken Elementary School in holding its tremendously popular Midwinter Candlelight Walk. Students create luminaries in their art classes and the Friends line paths with the luminaries to turn a cold winter night into a magical evening. After the walk the Friends provide the more than 300 people with hot chocolate and cookies.
Early in our existence the Friends established a grants program for Dicken Elementary School. Each fall the Friends provide up to $1500 in grants to fund science programs which relate to the woods. The programs are mostly provided by the Leslie Science and Nature Center and are relevant to each grade's curriculum. Programs have included Winter Wonders; Fur Feathers and Scales; In Cold Blood (cold-blooded animals); Decomposers-Rats, Vultures, and Roaches; Hunters of the Sky (raptors); Rocks Rock; and Songs with Joe, (a Joe Reilly environmental concert).
A special one time project for the years 2008-9 was funded by an anonymous donor. The Friends worked with the Leslie Science and Nature Center to develop a Field Guide of Dicken Woods available to the school and others. Among other things, the Field Guide includes a map and history of the woods, points of interest, wildlife, birds, trees, and flowers and several pages of ideas for proper use of the woods.
Another special project is the tiled wall mural of Dicken Woods done as a school art project and presented as a permanent gift to the school.
Dicken Woods is not a playground. It is not a park. It is a nature area and we as a group have promised to preserve, protect, and improve the woods. As each year passes, the Friends continue to fulfill their original commitment.
To learn more about the first phase of the Friends' work - the year-long effort to save the woods - see the original archived web site.
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