Last weekend, volunteers including four of MSU’s Glassen Scholars improved rabbit habitat in the Rose Lake State Game Area. The group of nine total volunteers and DNR Wildlife staff built four large brush piles along the edges of a small wildlife opening. The area’s DNR Wildlife Technician, Chad Krumnauer, and I spent half a day prior to the event felling fifteen black locust trees and sectioning the trunks into moveable pieces at the project site. Volunteers then used the non-native black locust trees in the area to build the brush piles. Although the event may have been more physically demanding than anticipated, volunteers felt accomplished and eager to help out again; special thanks to the Glassen Scholars that participated!
The Hal and Jean Glassen Scholars Program with Michigan State University offers students exposure to policymaking in Michigan and real-world experience while working full-time as paid interns at state and federal agencies, non-governmental organizations or businesses that focus on complex natural resource issues in Michigan. The four scholars that volunteered understand the importance of the role policy plays in keeping our public lands available to hunt, fish, and trap. They took this opportunity to make a direct impact on wildlife habitat on public land here in Michigan. Among the Glassen Scholars volunteering for wildlife was MUCC’s policy intern, Mikaylah Heffernan!
It was a great experience to step outside of the office for a day in the woods. This volunteer group was predominantly female and that didn’t slow us down a bit. Glassen Scholars Faith Hatt, Jaclyn Heikkila, Danielle Gerlach, and Mikaylah alongside local volunteers Bethy Williams and Jimmy Lee worked together to move large tree trunks and stack well-structured brush piles. With black locust being a very dense wood, the brush piles will require little maintenance and will provide cover for rabbits and other small game for many years to come. There are several more opportunities to make a lasting impact on wildlife conservation on public lands this month!
On Sunday, August 7, 2016 at 10am we will be meeting for a wildlife habitat event pruning apple trees at the King Orchard in the Grayling State Forest. Volunteers will meet at Charlie’s Country Corner truck stop located off of I-75 exit 251, 5800 Nelson A Miles Parkway, Grayling, MI 49738. The project site is a historic apple orchard within the state forest that provides essential soft mast to the areas wildlife including whitetail deer, black bear, elk, small game, and birds. This project site was selected by the areas DNR Wildlife Biologist, Brain Piccolo and volunteer efforts are in coordination with the National Wild Turkey Federation as well as the Ruffed Grouse Society.
The following weekend, on Saturday, August 13th at 9am we will be building brush piles for rabbit habitat in the Barry State Game Area. The project area needs removal of non-native black locust trees, so we will be cutting the black locust trees and stacking them into large brush piles in the edges of the project site. These brush piles will provide cover for cottontail rabbits as well as other small game species. See more upcoming projects through September 2016 and RSVP to volunteer for wildlife here!