2015 Summer Newsletter

Newsletter Header Summer 2015cHawthorn Hollow Receives $10k Grant from the Fund for Lake Michigan

Hawthorn Hollow is receiving a $10,000 grant from the Fund for Lake Michigan to divert stormwater from the Pike River and enhance wetland habitat. Hawthorn Hollow’s stream reaches and those up- and downstream are considered Critical Areas for erosion in the 2013 Pike River Watershed Based Plan (PRWP). This will be Hawthorn Hollow’s first project to help improve the Pike River. This project was also identified in Hawthorn Hollow’s Master Plan that was completed in 2014.

Screen Shot 2015-11-24 at 11.32.01 AMThe project will divert stormwater entering the South Branch of the Pike River from our Tractor Road, our main trail to the Amphitheater and Historic Buildings. The Tractor Road runs about 540 feet downhill to the South Branch of the Pike River. This impervious gravel road collects a large volume of water during storm events. The downhill grading of the road funnels a significant volume of stormwater, causing erosion to the road and streambank, and adds to the volume of stormwater entering river.

The project will require a design and engineering plan; acquiring the appropriate permits and other requirements, such as wetland delineation, prior to implementation; and, finally, plan implementation. Implementation will include regrading the Tractor Road so that the stormwater is pitched off to the side of the road and into a stormwater swale, reducing both the amount and velocity of water travelling down the road. The swale will direct the stormwater into a low area in the floodplain that is isolated from the river. At one time, this low area was a meander in the river. Changes to natural stormwater flow over the decades have scoured down the main channel of the river, isolating it from the past meander. The stormwater will be detained in the old meander until it percolates into the ground, enhancing and improving the wetland habitat in that low area.  The grant will pay for the design and engineering plan. Plan implementation will not begin until 2016.

Great Horned Owl Nests at HHIMG_4948crop2015small


This past spring Hawthorn Hollow was home to a Great Horned Owl family. First noticed in mid April in a large willow tree next to the river, the owlet drew daily visitors who watched it grow and fledge. The owlet stays in its the nest for about six weeks. It then becomes a “branchling,” hopping to nearby branches, for about a week after that.  Then, it’s ready to fly. The young fledgling was spotted in various locations around Hawthorn Hollow for about a week after it flew from its tree. Great Horned Owls are found throughout the continental United States, Canada, and South America. We wish the Great Horned Owl family it the best of luck! Thanks to Cindy Donegan for the photos.

Market Garden Kickstarted Into Success!

IMG_4698The first year of the market garden has been met with great enthusiasm and success.  On June 1st Hawthorn Hollow launched an online crowndfunding campaign through Kickstarter.com with a goal of raising $4000 by June 30th to cover initial garden and food forest expenses. Supporters, or “backers” as they are called on the Kickstarter site, had the option of donating at different tiers ranging from $20-$250. In return, the backers receive rewards ranging from gift baskets of Hawthorn Hollow grown and produced non-perishable foods to becoming members of the our first year as a CSA (community supported agriculture). The Kickstarter fundraiser far surpassed the goal and raised over $6500. This additional support will be put to good use through continuous improvements and with next year’s seeds, plants, and trees.

This year the CSA consists of 45 members. That may be the most we can handle this year as far as the amount of harvest goes. The CSA members harvest they’re own FullSizeRenderrproduce and have a large variety of heirloom, pesticide-free and herbicide-free veggies and herbs to choose from with more and more coming into season. In this trial run as a CSA, backers have the opportunity to fill a weekly basket of produce through a combination of “pick your own” and “choose your own” methods. This “choose your own” produce is a unique style of CSA produce subscription that is turning out to be a wild hit among the first year’s participants, and we plan to continue this practice for next years offerings. With 13 varieties of tomatoes and 14 different kinds of peppers, the members have a great time coming to harvest. If interested in next year’s CSA please contact Dan at Hawthorn Hollow by email dan@hawthornhollow.org to get on the mailing list for next year’s produce subscriptions.

IMG_4516We are already halfway through the season and still expanding. Next Spring we look forward to the blue eggs of our 22 Easter Egger chickens who live in the chicken caravan at the gardens. The staff has learned a lot from this first year at the garden and look forward to doing it all over again next year, but this time on the grounds of Hawthorn Hollow as part of the future site of the visitor center complex in the arboretum master plan. The staff is deeply appreciative of the hard work of the 2015 volunteers, new and old, and would like to extend a HUGE THANK YOU to all 25 of them. You know who you are!


IMG_4530The market garden continues with the enthusiasm of many new volunteers. Volunteers meet to work on planting, weeding, mulching, pruning, and trellising. We really value their commitment and input in the garden. Between the staff and the volunteers over 1000 man-hours have been put in to the garden this year. There is still plenty of work to do so if interested, please contact Hawthorn Hollow.



Students learning about Potawatomi life explore the texture of various animal hides including white tailed deer (pictured) as well as beaver and rabbit. The students learned how the Potawatomi lived and survived throughout the seasons and how the cycles of abundance and decline played an important role in their lives. “In the Footsteps of the Potawatomi” is a new field trip offered during the spring and summer months at Hawthorn Hollow.



Hawthorn Hollow welcomes Guy Walton on board as our new part time employee. Guy is originally from Ashford, England and has a history of sorts with Hawthorn Hollow. He and his wife Terry married here in 2013. Guy has also been known to volunteer from time to time. He is a great addition to the Hawthorn Hollow team.




Comments are closed.