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  • Belle Isle Conservancy

David Brostek is a creative.


Working as a carpenter and artist, he is always designing and bringing something new into existence. One day he decided he wanted something bigger.


Something different. Something for himself. And definitely something he’s never done before.


“I just wanted to do a big art piece”, Brostek simply stated.


After coming across a large supply of old recycled computer parts, the idea came to him. Taking the large variety of electronics he had amassed, he then went out and took a step nobody could have guessed- he bought a car.


The next move in his grand idea took him one year to complete.


He began to painstakingly arrange and glue different types of computer electronics all over his new car, a 1991 Ford Escort. He would painstakingly trim out every section he wanted to use with metal shears and then glue them to the car, always careful to make sure there was interesting elements and transitions wherever you looked on the car.


“You never know how many different types of color green there are until you do a project like this.” Said Brostek, referring to the immense variety of colored computer parts he was working with.


He took care to organize how he laid out the parts. He’ll be quick to tell you he’s not at all a computer guy. He would rather organize his layout based off of how he thought the parts would visually work together, what they could represent and look like as a hole. It became a new world for him. He’d point to some sections, saying how they could look like a city from high above, or how small round fan blade could be imagined a sports arena in a city.


When 2006 came to close as a year, so did he project. Over 1,500 pieces came together on his car. No longer was is a ’91 Ford Escort, now it was ‘CAR-PUTER’, and it was immediately something Brostek took pride in. He loves driving it around town, in parades and talking about it with curious people. He keeps it in his garage and only drives it around on nice days. Only twice in the eleven years of driving it has he been caught in a rain shower.


For him the enjoyment is how much curiosity and enjoyment it can inspire. He loves how the variety of parts on his car look in the sunlight, the small moving pieces, how there is always something different to look at.

  • Belle Isle Conservancy

When Pastor James Williams sits down, he does so with an air of measured authority. Smartly dressed, he begins speaking slowly and methodically. His voice instantly draws listeners in as stories of lifelong Detroit experiences begin unveiling themselves, piece by piece. “This guy,” you think, “this guy knows what he’s talking about.”


Soon, Williams fills the air with a vivid, tenacious and contagious fervor, pouring out an hour's worth of experience on the past, present, and future of Belle Isle. “The island has been my place of solitude. I’m a pastor, I’ve been doing that for the past 20 years. I’ve always been in the Church, I’ve always had a hectic kind of life [...] the island is the place I came to breathe."

Recalling his childhood, Pastor Williams remembered how “the Island was always part of my life growing up [...] I remember coming to the island and playing with whatever kids happened to be on the island at the time. I couldn't necessarily play with the kids on the other side of Outer Drive. But when we got to the island, for whatever reason, those barriers were down. I’d love to see the island again become that place where barriers come down. Children don’t recognize barriers. One kid can’t look at another kid and tell what economic or social status he comes from. He just sees a ball and wants to go play! [...] There are still issues to address to have a place where everybody can breathe. Where people are just people.”


Drawn to his words, I ventured around the island the next day, searching for what Williams so vividly believes in. I happened upon Belle Isle’s East Shore Playground, nestled between the edge of the Messic Flatwood Forest and one of the island’s inland lakes. I found a moment out of his vision - a place where children of all races, ages, and ethnicities just, well, played.

Pastor Williams is the kind of guy who needs something he can dig his teeth into. He’s considered moving, but talking to him, you can’t help but get the sense that Detroit just isn’t done with him yet, nor is he certainly done with Detroit. For many Detroiters who haven’t been to the Isle in a long time, he simply says this: “It’s time. It’s time for you to go visit the Island.”

  • Belle Isle Conservancy

Description:

The Slender False Foxglove (scientific name Agalinis tenuifolia) is a beautiful wildflower that can be found in the prairie area on the Eastern point behind the BlueH eron Lagoon. It is a wiry looking branched plant that grows about 20 inches tall. It has very narrow leaves that are about 3 inches long. Each of the dainty light-pink to colored flowers, with darker purple spots on the inside, resemble the single funnel shaped Foxglove (Digitalis Purpurea) blossoms that you might have in your garden. Each flower only blooms for one day, but there are enough blossoms that you will see them blooming from August up to October each year. This is an annual flower that reproduces each year by producing rounded fruit capsules that split open to disperse many seeds.


Habitat:

The Slender False Foxglove is native to most of the Eastern United States and Canada, but it likes specific habitats. In Michigan, it is classified as a Facultative Wetland plant, meaning it prefers moist to marshy habitats, though it may be found in other areas as well. The plant is hemiparasitic, which means, while it can perform photosynthesis by itself, it will also connect its roots to host plants to gather additional nutrients. You’ll often find it intermingling with favorite host grasses. The Slender False Foxglove’s preferred habitats can be threatened by man-made changes in the environment or by invasive species.

Belle Isle Conservancy | 300 River Place Drive, Suite 2800, Detroit, MI 48207 | 313.331.7760 | info@belleisleconservancy.org

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