Habitat Project in the Huron-Mansitee National Forest Needs Volunteers

On the Ground, Michigan United Conservation Clubs’ (MUCC) volunteer stewardship and habitat improvement program, will celebrate its 200th habitat project on May 13 in Manistee County by planting more than 2,000 native wildflower plugs.

The wildflower plugs planted near 6 Mile Bridge in the Huron-Manistee National Forest will support MDNR and USFS habitat management goals at an oak-pine barrens restoration site in the Cadillac-Manistee Ranger District. The oak-pine barrens habitat is a semi-open fire-dependent savanna community with a vegetative structure midway between a forest and a prairie.

This savanna community is one of the most imperiled in the state and it provides habitat for a variety of rare species, including dusted skipper, grizzled skipper, monarch butterfly, numerous bumblebees, eastern box turtle, red-headed woodpecker, and eastern massasauga rattlesnake. It’s also home to game species such as wild turkey, white-tailed deer and even the occasional black bear.

For the past decade, On the Ground has not only fostered relationships between volunteers and natural resources, but it has also been a driving force in connecting conservation organizations in Michigan through boots on the ground work.

MUCC will host this volunteer project in collaboration with the Michigan Department of Natural Resources (MDNR) Wildlife Division and the US Forest Service (USFS) Cadillac-Manistee Ranger District. 

During this event, USFS staff will provide an overview of the management tools used in barrens restoration and how this restoration work is helping to recover the federally-threatened eastern massasauga rattlesnake and numerous species of rare turtles. Additionally, MDNR staff will explain the Good Neighbor Authority program and how the program’s revenue is used to conduct numerous restoration projects across the forest.

“We are looking forward to highlighting not only the exceptional work on the ground, but the material relationships that made the work possible. The value of these habitat restoration projects cannot be understated, and we have collaborative relationships with strong partners to thank for their successful implementation,” said Cadillac-Manistee District Ranger, Scott Peedle. 

Funded in-part by the MDNR Wildlife Division, On the Ground has engaged nearly 4,000 volunteers who have positively impacted more than 3,500 acres of public land throughout the state since 2013. By participating in this event, members of the public can give back to the resources they care about by improving and enhancing wildlife habitat on their public lands.

Volunteers for the Manistee native wildflower planting event may register at mucc.org/on-the-ground/. The event will run from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. and all attendees will receive free lunch and an appreciation gift for their efforts.

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