On the Ground Junior: Grand Traverse Academy students provide unBEElievable habitat improvement in Benize County

On Thursday, May 4, 2023, 74 middle school students and faculty from the Grand Traverse Academy in Traverse City volunteered to improve wildlife habitat in the Little Betsie Grouse Enhanced Management Site (GEMS) in Benize County.

Students rotated through four different stations where they completed activities relating to wildlife and habitat. At one station students created a pollinator garden by planting native wildflowers and milkweed seedlings that they grew in the classroom through Pheasants Forever Milkweed in the Classroom program. At another station volunteers planted native shrubs such as ninebark, sweetfern and wild plum along with nearly 100 white oak seedlings and a few brush piles to help small mammal species. For the last two stations, volunteers learned archery skills and participated in pollinator-habitat educational activities such as a pollinator relay race.

Our young volunteers gained hands-on experience improving and enhancing wildlife habitat by restoring pollinator habitat and planting mast-producing trees and shrubs that will provide food and cover for a variety of wildlife for years to come. In total, approximately 3 acres of wildlife habitat were impacted by this project.

There are multiple opportunities to get involved with MUCC’s On The Ground program this spring. Our next open event is on May 13 in the Huron-Manistee National Forest. Volunteers will help plant native wildflower plugs to improve pollinator habitat in a restored oak pine barrens site. Volunteers are also invited to help remove old fencing at Potterville State Game Area on May 20 to improve the quality and accessibility of this piece of public land in Eaton County. Please click HERE for more details.

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