Looking Back: George Merring Outdoor Science Study Area

West Bloomfield Beacon | Published April 6, 2016

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In March 1970, Ronee Gritzinger, a teacher at Frank E. Doherty Elementary School, described natural ice formations to a group of sixth-grade students. This photo appeared in the Inter-Lake News in 1970.

The creek environment is part of the 2-acre George Merring Outdoor Science Study Area. The area was specially planted with native species around the original farm pond that brothers Frank E. and Albert Doherty dug when the land was their family farm. The pond and its stream are part of the Rouge River watershed. Community members and Boy Scouts cleared and planted the nature area. Doherty was only about 1 year old at the time of this photo.  

The area was used by Doherty teachers and students. Today, due to overgrowth of these plants and liability concerns of an open pond, the area is fenced off and is so overgrown that the pond can’t be seen. However, the sign designating it as the George Merring Outdoor Science Study Area still hangs on the fence, faded and hidden by vines.

There are no plans to try to clear or open the study area, but Frank E. Doherty Elementary School officials invite the public to help bring it back to usable status by first cleaning the area of any trash and help with maintaining the plant species.

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