Heritage Park is always abuzz with activities at the 200-acre park.

Heritage Park is always abuzz with activities at the 200-acre park.

File photo by Sean Work

Heritage Park activities make way for winter

By: Sherri Kolade | Farmington Press | Published November 7, 2017

FARMINGTON HILLS — Holistic health practitioner Sonja Ozog is quicker to grab some medicinal herbs than a bottle of cold medicine when she’s under the weather — and she encourages others to do the same.

“I’m trying to introduce people to the idea that they can support their health in holistic ways using herbs and simple practices in their life,” Ozog said.

Ozog, who specializes in herbal medicine, will be speaking at a five-part series 6:30-7:30 p.m. Wednesdays Nov. 8-Dec. 12 for a Holistic Health and Plant Workshop series at Heritage Park, 24915 Farmington Road. There will be no class Nov. 22. The series costs $35 for residents and $40 for nonresidents.

Topics include the immune system, echinacea, rooibos, Michigan herbs and holistic help for the body. 

Echinacea is a native plant, and rooibos is from a bush in Africa and is used as a tea.

“The advantage of this tea is it has as many antioxidants as green tea, but does not contain caffeine; in Europe it is served to children,” she said.

Ozog’s series is among the many on tap for the Heritage Park Nature Center’s fall and winter programs for people of all ages.  

Ozog said her program encourages people to ask questions.

“People are encouraged to learn about ... how they can ... support (the immune system),” she said, adding that some topics are audience-generated.

“The herbs I’m introducing are called mild herbs, which means they can be taken in large quantities without having side effects,” she said, adding that there are herbs that have to be taken with a lot more caution. “I will not be introducing any of those herbs in my workshop.”

The 200-acre Heritage Park, 24915 Farmington Road, is open year-round and offers an abundance of things to do and see this season and beyond.

Heritage Park programmer Carol Fink said that programming at the nature center is great anytime of the year, but especially now.

“This is a great time of year. (We’re) heading into late fall, (early) winter season, (which is) to be celebrated, not dreaded,” Fink said. “(There are) great things at the park.”

A program called Thanksgiving for Nature will be held 1-3 p.m. Nov. 18 at the nature center. The event will feature a self-guided scavenger hunt through the park and will inspire attendees to discover reasons to be thankful for all of nature’s gifts, Fink said. Storytelling with special guest Genot “Winter Elk” Picor around a campfire will be included. Attendees are asked to pre-register or drop in anytime between the listed times. Attendees are asked to drop off their completed scavenger hunt forms to receive a prize. The event costs $5 for adults; kids 3 and younger attend for free.

Picor said the event brings Native American culture to the nature center. 

“For Native American people, every day is Thanksgiving for us,” he said, adding that children and families play games, do activities, listen to stories, sing songs and more. “I always incorporate some dance into whatever presentation I give — at least as long as it’s meaningful to the event.”

Picor added that he teaches children a circle dance called “Joys of Quebec” and another dance with French roots. 

“The first French settlers (came) to the Michigan area … and brought their culture, dancing, and singing and storytelling. (That) was a big part of that culture, and they were thankful to be here too.”

Fink described Picor as a “superstar.”

“He brings a sense of Native American culture (to the nature center); we don’t talk about Columbus,” she said.

A wreath-making workshop will be held 1-3 p.m. Dec. 3. All of the dried items provided are from the nature center, Fink said, adding that people turn this simple event into a great time to make a homemade gift for others this Christmas season.

“These people leave making wreaths worth $100, all collected from our woods — collected sustainably; we don’t cut things down.  … It’s fun,” she said. Pre-registration is required.

Other upcoming events include the Junior Naturalist Club, in which a new nature topic is discussed each month for kids ages 5-11. Participation costs $10 per child or $12 at the door.

The Homeschool Nature Program is held 1-2:30 p.m. Tuesdays through Nov. 14 for kids ages 6-12. Drop-ins are welcome.

For more information on current or future programming, visit www.recreg.fh.gov.com or call (248) 477-1135. To register for any of the events or programs, go to www.rec reg.fhgov.com.