This week with On the Ground Jr, the Cramer Jr High Community Service Club with Brad Williams dedicated another day to wildlife conservation by volunteering in the Bay City State Recreation Area on Tuesday. Last year, the group pulled enough garlic mustard in the area to fill over 30 trash bags. This year, the group of 25 students removed large amounts of invasive shrubs including autumn olive, glossy buckthorn, and rosebush around the visitor center and lagoon areas. Their efforts seemed to have opened up large areas of the understory for regeneration of new, native vegetation instead. The group then enjoyed an afternoon of fishing on the lagoon. Read more to see the full recap of the event as well as upcoming OTG Jr events this month!
This year’s group toughed out an hour of light rain in the morning while removing invasive shrubs around the Bay City State Recreation Area. The rain subsided shortly after beginning work but was enough to keep the students cool throughout the morning! Each student eagerly put on a pair of work gloves and selected a pair of loppers or a handsaw to cut invasive shrubs with. Some of the shrubs were small enough to pull by hand, but many were thumb to wrist size in diameter and required cutting at the base of the stump. The group worked diligently from 9 AM until lunch arrived at noon and enjoyed their well-earned Subway sandwiches.
The afternoon offered a sunny opportunity for fishing on the lagoon. Each student grabbed a fishing pole rigged with a hook and bobber and after a short safety briefing; the students began to bait their own hooks with wax worms or bee larvae. For some, this was their first fishing experience. Many of the students were excited to bait their own hooks for the first time or had done it before. Others were offered a one-time freebie by MUCC’s Education Director- Shaun McKeon and had to bait the hook on their own the next time. We saw more success than last year as one student reeled in a nice pike and a few others caught some bluegill!
Next up, we’ll be building brush piles and pulling garlic mustard at sites in the Rose Lake State Game Area! On Wednesday, May 30th and Thursday, May 31st, we will be building brush piles for rabbitat and pulling garlic mustard with 100 students from Murphy Elementary in the Haslett public schools. This project is coordinated with Zsa Mahon and her 5th-grade classes with our On the Ground Jr program! See more upcoming events with OTG at www.mucc.org/on-the-ground