This week on Tuesday, over twenty home-school students ranging 4th-grade to 6th-grade from Genesee County got together with OTG Jr to clean up the Lapeer State Game Area’s Central Unit. This site has been accumulating trash and a large amount of shotgun shells and bullet cartridges over several years. There is a designated shooting pit located nearby, but some people tend to use the parking areas around the corner as their personal shooting ranges when the pit is crowded. The road running through the Central Unit, Byers Rd, will be gated off on both ends to block vehicle access in the near future. The group removed enough trash and debris to completely fill a 20-yard dumpster that was placed on site.
Thanks to DNR staff with the Wildlife Division including Biologist John Curtis, Technician Jim Pulling and several of their other staff and seasonal workers for providing the dumpster and heavy equipment to haul the larger items with. A group of over 40 including the DNR staff, students and Mothers/chaperones, MUCC’s Education Director Shaun McKeon and myself spent three hours removing trash from two parking areas in the game area. Students worked together in small groups to fill countless 30 gallon bags with shotgun shells, bullet casings, cardboard, plastic bottles, oil cans, glass, broken furniture, a propane tank, tires, shingles and other miscellaneous items people used for target practice.
With this being the first State Game Area experience for many of the kids, DNR Wildlife Technician Jim Pulling made sure to emphasize that this is not at all indicative of all sportsmen and women, but that there are some people who just don’t bother to take care of their public lands like many of us do. We hope that these efforts will not go unnoticed and that people utilizing this area will help continue to keep it clean. The students were very motivated to removed all of the trash to restore the two sites to a natural environment and improve wildlife habitat. After the hard work, the entire group enjoyed a pizza lunch and an afternoon of archery in the field.For a few of the students, this was their first time shooting a bow, but many had shot at least once before.
Much gratitude goes out to these students and the Mom’s/chaperones that came together to organize this event with OTG Jr. This project was a combined effort between MUCC’s OTG Jr program, the DNR, and the local Genesee County home-school community. There are several more OTG Jr events this spring reaching Elmwood Twp Mini State Game Area on May 2nd, Bay County in mid-May, and Rose Lake State Game Area on May 30th and 31st. See more upcoming events and RSVP to volunteer with On the Ground to improve wildlife habitat on public lands at www.mucc.org/on-the-ground !
MUCC’s On The Ground Program is supported by the Michigan Department of Natural Resources Wildlife Division