On the Ground: Volunteers Improve Small Game Habitat at Gourdneck SGA

OTG volunteers stack limbs and brush to create rabbitat within Gourdneck SGA.

Last Saturday, March 26, 2022, a group of 15 volunteers joined MUCC’s On the Ground program (OTG) and Kalamazoo Conservation District in a day of assembling brush piles to enhance wildlife habitat in Gourdneck State Game Area (SGA). Brush piles, also known as “rabbitat” (rabbit habitat), provide a variety of wildlife with shelter, nesting and denning sites, and protection from predators. Species that are positively impacted by the presence of brush piles specifically at Gourdneck SGA include cottontail rabbits, squirrels, chipmunks, foxes, garter snakes, and songbirds, just to name a few. In total, volunteers assembled 10 large brush piles which will enhance wildlife habitat on approximately 7 acres of land within Gourdneck SGA for years to come.

Volunteers construct the base of a brush pile at Gourdneck SGA.

A properly assembled brush pile can provide year-round habitat for a variety of species. The base of a brush pile, typically built with large logs, limbs and stumps, provides natural tunnels and nesting sites for small mammals. Once a sturdy base is constructed, smaller brush and limbs can be stacked on top. A typical brush pile is about 4-8 feet high with enough materials on top to provide animals with shelter and protection from predators, but loose enough around the edges for access to the tunnels inside. For more information on the importance of brush piles, click here.

MUCC values its volunteers and would like to extend our gratitude to all volunteers who participated in this event. If you are interested in volunteering with OTG, you can find information on upcoming projects, volunteer registration, and an interactive project map at mucc.org/on-the-ground. Our next OTG project is the Clinton River Clean-Up on Saturday, April 7, 2022 at River Bends Park in Shelby Township. Join MUCC OTG, the Metro-West Steelheaders, and the Clinton River Watershed from 8:50am to 1pm in a day of trash clean-up to improve fish and wildlife habitat in and around the Clinton River. All necessary equipment will be provided (trash grabbers, gloves, waders, trash bags, etc.). Volunteers will receive free breakfast and lunch, as well as a volunteer gift. To view more details or to register, please click here.

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