Dig It! Youth Summer Series

Tuesdays, 10-11am | Bi-Weekly through August 10 | U Dig It Community Garden

Welcome to Dig It! Youth Summer Series for 7-11 year olds. U Dig It! Community Garden (UDICG), A Few Friends for the Environment of the World (AFFEW), MSU Extension and Lakeshore Food Club have partnered together and are excited to offer this FREE interactive youth gardening and nature experience to our community. We’ll be meeting bi-weekly at UDICG through August 10, see schedule below. Sign up for one session, or several. Each week we’ll have a fun, interactive activity planned at the garden! You may even win a prize to help with your gardening and cooking adventures!


Dig It! Youth Summer Series | Tuesday’s, 10-11 am | Children 7-11 years | Max: 15

June 29 Garden Exploration-Learn about yummy veggies. We will be picking vegetables and replanting a new crop! 
July 13 Art from Nature-We will be exploring different ways to make art with a variety of items, many found at the garden! 
July 27 Exploring the Garden and Beyond!-Learn about the many treasures found in the garden and surrounding areas on our nature scavenger hunt!
August 10 It’s all about BIRDS!– Representatives from Sable Dunes Audubon Society will talk about the many birds seen around the garden and we’ll build birdhouses to attract MORE!  

Get signed up by calling the MSU Extension office at 231-845-3361. We’ll email you a registration form to complete your registration and a list of instructions to make it a great experience. You can also register here by clicking the Get Registered button below to fill out the form. Space is limited! WE WILL CONTACT YOU IF ANY OF THE SESSIONS YOU REGISTERED FOR ARE FULL!!

U Dig It! Community Garden | 5810 E Bryant Rd, Ludington, MI 49431 
(Behind the United Methodist Church of Ludington)

Invasive Species Program

Tuesdays | April – October

Second Tuesday | 10 am-Noon   *   Fourth Tuesday | 6:30 pm – 8:30 pm

Help treat and remove a variety of invasive plant species at Cartier Park. A discussion to help identify these plants will take place before we begin. AFFEW partners with the City of Ludington, Mason-Lake Conservation District and North Country CISMA to eradicate these aggressive plants. Below is more information on some of the challenging invasive plants at Cartier Park.

Check the schedule on our Events and Activities page for dates we’ll be meeting. Meet at the Ludington Central Bark Park at the end of Rath Ave. Bring water, gloves and wear long pants, long sleeved shirt and closed toed shoes. Event will be held in fair weather, and sometimes wraps up early, depending on site conditions.

Unfortunately some of these invasive examples below can still be bought at nurseries. When considering plants for your property choose native species over invasive.  Once an invasive plant escapes into a natural area it can cause significant issues for native plants and wildlife. This includes altering soil chemistry in a way that gives future generations of invasive plants a competitive advantage. 

Learn more about invasive species and how to report them on North Country CISMA‘s website. View their High Priority Species  page for more information on identify invasive species in Michigan.

Native Species Alternatives

Enjoying a Plant-Based Diet

One of the most powerful steps you can take to improve your health, boost energy levels and reduce your impact on our environment, is to move to a plant-based diet. Many scientists praise the health benefits of transitioning towards a plant-based diet over meat and processed foods. Moving in this direction can help achieve better health and easier weight management while enjoying a variety of delicious meals. And living in Michigan, many resources for locally grown vegetables and fruits are available right here in our community.

The best part, you don’t have to completely change your diet to make a difference. Start off by making adjustments to some of your favorite recipes. Try adding rice, beans or other hearty vegetables in place of meat in a soup or casserole recipe. Substituting plant-based milk alternative in your recipes and for daily use is just one small way you can have an affect. As you become more accustomed to these changes, you’ll find plant-based meals can be just as delicious, healthier and have less impact on our planet.

View the presentation by Dr. Bob Breakey on Plant-Based Health from AFFEW’s November 12, 2020 VIRTUAL Annual Meeting.

Dr. Bob Breakey’s Eight Keys to Health and Success

Eat for Health | Choose abundant vegetables, whole grains, fruits and all types of beans, along with some nuts and seeds (including 2 TBSP of ground flax seeds) daily. Minimize, and ideally eliminate, animal foods – meat, dairy and eggs — and minimize refined sugar, oils and other processed foods. Fill your pantry with health supporting foods and make a conscious choice to eat when you are hungry and to choose foods with both great taste and great nutritional value.

Drink Water | Water is our natural beverage and thirst quencher and makes up about 70% of our bodies. Beverages with caffeine, alcohol, sugar, fat and/or a host of artificial ingredients slow you down, interfere with sleep cycles, increase the risk for obesity and should be enjoyed only on occasion.

Avoid Cow’s Milk | Cow’s milk and its associated foods: Cheese, yogurt and ice cream, are derived from “nature’s perfect food for baby cows” and are a totally unnatural component of human nutrition. No other mammal drinks milk after infancy, and most of the world’s human population has “lactose intolerance” meaning they get diarrhea and bloating right away if they drink milk. Cow’s milk is more than half fat, high in saturated fat and cholesterol and most of the rest (70%) is sugar. Milk proteins contribute to allergy, autoimmune disease, chronic kidney disease, mucus production, acne, osteoporosis and the promotion of breast, colon and prostate cancers. Cow’s milk always contains bovine estrogen and is nearly always contaminated with antibiotics, growth stimulants, bovine leukemia virus, pus cells and environmental toxins. Many other non-dairy alternatives are now readily available (i.e. soy, rice, coconut, cashew, flax or almond “milks”, cheeses, yogurts and ice creams). Calcium needs are easily obtained by eating “beans and greens”.

Eat Fiber | Health supporting whole foods contain dietary fiber. Avoid white bread, white rice and white pasta that are just metabolized quickly to sugar once they hit your digestive system. Whole grains like oats, brown rice, and whole grain breads, pastas and cereals are much more slowly digested providing consistent energy for your cells and abundant additional nutrients. They also support healthy bowel bacteria that help with hormone balance, detoxification of several toxins, overall colon health and immune function. Eat a broad variety of whole plant foods for the greatest effect and lower your risk of diabetes, heart disease and several cancers. Think “fiber in every bite” with plenty of vegetables, fruits, beans and whole grains while avoiding animal and processed foods that are devoid of fiber.

Be Active | Walk, run, dance, swim, jump, cycle, skate, ski, lift or whatever else gets you moving. Play and make it fun! Make daily physical activity a regular part of your routine and aim for 150 minutes of moderate exercise per week (think an average of 30 minutes 5 days/ week). Choose activities you enjoy that help you stay with your plan. Use stairs instead of elevators, park further away when you drive, and whenever you get the chance, “take the scenic route” under your own power.

Your Environment Matters | Avoid poisons and contaminants in your body by not smoking anything. Also, avoid even second or third hand smoke or tobacco exposure of any kind. Avoid other “recreational drugs”—they are a “dead end”. Choose foods low on the food chain and eat organic when practical. Use a good solid carbon water filter for clean drinking water and limit the use of pesticides and other toxins in your home environment.

Sleep Well | Plan time for 7 to 8 hours of sleep per night and develop good sleep hygiene habits: Develop a “wind down routine” an hour before bedtime with relaxing activities (no TV or Internet), a regular rising time each day, avoid caffeine, nicotine & alcohol, use your bed for sleeping only, limit naps and control your sleeping environment. With a good restful night’s sleep, you will enjoy more energy, improved concentration and better overall health.

Make Time to Relax & Play! | Stress is a part of life, but you can manage and harness it for the good by finding balance, prioritizing your responsibilities, setting and writing down challenging but attainable goals and making time for whatever form of adventurous play and/or peaceful relaxation that will help you to optimize your enjoyment. Make time for laughter, love and being with friends, family and others who share these same goals!

Download more Lifestyle Medicine Resources from Dr. Bob Breakey on Plant Based Health.

Below are links to a variety of plant-based recipes and more information on this healthy lifestyle.



  • How Not to Die | Michael Greger, MD
  • How Not to Diet | Michael Greger, MD
  • How to Survive a Pandemic | Michael Greger, MD 
  • Reversing Diabetes | Neal Barnard, MD
  • Forks Over Knives Plan | Alona Pulde and Matthew Lederman
  • Eat to Live | Joel Fuhrman, MD
  • The Pleasure Trap | Douglas Lisle, PhD
  • The Cheese Trap | Neal Barnard, MD
  • The Whole Heart Solution | Joel Kahan, MD
  • Whole | T. Colin Campbell, PhD
  • Prevent and Reverse Heart Disease | Caldwell Esselstyn, MD
  • The Starch Solution | John McDougall, MD
  • Empty Medicine Cabinet | Dustin Rudolph, PharmD
  • Proteinaholic | Garth Davis, MD
  • The End of Diabetes | Joel Fuhrman, MD
  • Fiber Fueled | Will Bulsiewicz, MD
  • Animal, Vegetable, Miracle: A Year of Food Life | Barbara, Kingsolver

Do you have a link to a favorite plant-based recipe or website you’d like to share? Fill out the form below and we’ll post it after review.

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    Native Plant Sale

    Saturday, June 12 | Time 930am-Noon

    Rotary Park, Ludington

    Help protect our species by gardening with native plants! AFFEW will offer a variety of native plants for sale in early June. These important plant species provide nectar, pollen, and seeds that serve as food for insects, birds and animals. Native plants also require minimal maintenance and their deep root system absorb more water than a traditional lawn. With the continuous decline of the Monarch butterfly population you can make a difference by creating a habitat for these beautiful and important orange butterflies!

    Last year our sale introduced nearly 1000 native plants to our community!  AFFEW will partner with Birdsfoot Native Nursery to bring these amazing plants to YOU!

    There will be a LARGE selection of individual quarts and gallon plants available the day of the sale and a representative from Birdsfoot Native Nursery will be there to answer any questions. Preview a list of plants that may be available the day of the sale. This list is neither complete nor guaranteed, but is a great way to see approximately what we will have to offer. We are excited to announce that this year we will also have a limit supply of woodland plants!

    Having problems with deer eating your plants? View the list of deer resistant native plants from the Lansing chapter of Wild Ones. We’ll have several of these plants available the day of the sale.

    Earth Day | Restore Our Earth

    A Month Long Celebration!

    AFFEW has been working diligently to bring several safe community events to celebrate Earth Day 2021! We’ll begin with a five week Zoom presentation series starting April 6 that includes a wide range of topics. We’ll also have a fun presentation on Michigan native reptiles and amphibians, perfect for families! In addition we’ll offer some guided hikes locally and a self guided informational quiz walk at Cartier Park.

    AFFEW Presentation Series

    Watch ALL past presentations on our YouTube Channel

    Tuesday, May 11 | Solar 101 | CANCELLED!!

    We’re disappointed to report that Tuesday’s Solar 101 presentation has been cancelled due to unforeseen circumstances with the speaker. AFFEW’s board of directors will work to bring a presentation on this topic in the future. We apologize for any inconvenience this may have caused. We hope you have enjoyed the other presentations and events that have taken place over the past five weeks in celebration of Earth Day!

    Join AFFEW!

    Earth Day Celebration Goes VIRTUAL

    Due to our concerns for the safety of the public and volunteers during Covid-19, AFFEW’s board of directors have cancelled the April 18 Earth Day Celebration.

    Instead we have listed below several resources from organizations that will host virtual events to celebrate the 50th anniversary of Earth Day. We can still make a difference as we stay home and be safe! 

    Helpful websites to visit during this time:



    Webinars & Podcasts:

    Kids Websites & Podcasts:

    10 Things YOU can do to make a difference in your home today and every day!

    1. Clean up your neighborhood, remembering social distancing.
    2. Go through your clothes or “things” and really reflect on what you use, need.
    3. Donate or give to someone when able to.
    4. Recycle metal?
    5. Reduce your use of items! Try to reduce plastics.
    6. Bake or make food from scratch, DIY lotions, etc
    7. Start composting, planning a native plant or vegetable garden.
    8. Eat vegetarian at least once a week.
    9. Plant a tree or two! (Contact Julia Chambers for free native tree seedlings)
    10. Use “green” supplies.

    Community Pride

    AFFEW and the City of Ludington are inviting Families (people that live in the same household) to help out with a few projects. Please practice social distancing and mask wearing. Post a picture of your family on AFFEW’s Facebook page after your project is done! Thanks for helping our Community! 

    Garlic Mustard Pulling at Cartier Park

    Each spring, large patches of Garlic Mustard pop up near the the dog park and by the gazebo in Cartier Park. You can help eliminate this invasive species by pulling and properly disposing of it.

    Bring water, gloves and wear long pants, long sleeved shirt and closed toed shoes. Pull garlic mustard from the ground, by the stem, trying to get all the roots out. Place the garlic mustard plants into a doubled plastic garbage bag. Note:  If the garlic mustard plants have seeds on them, try to keep the seed on the plant and in the bag!! Place the double bagged garbage bags in the garbage cans at the park or in your own garbage can at home. Visit the Midwest Invasive Species Network (NISIN) for more information on Garlic Mustard.

    Pick-up Trash Around Town and the Beach

    Ludington is renown for its great hometown atmosphere and beautiful beaches. Pitch in and make a difference in our community! Wear gloves for your protection and bring a plastic grocery or garbage bag. Walk around town or at the beach and pick up garbage only.  Be careful about glass and/or syringes. No need to collect organic matter, (sticks, dead fish, feathers, leaves, etc.) Thank you for helping keep our community beautiful!

    Don’t forget to post a group photo on AFFEW’s Facebook Page of your amazing accomplishments!