ON THE GROUND

On the Ground (OTG) is MUCC’s volunteer fish and wildlife habitat improvement program. Launched in 2013 with six pilot projects, it won Outdoor Life magazine’s inaugural Open Country award for its partnership with the Department of Natural Resources.

Over 2,005 volunteers have improved fish and game habitat through more than 100 OTG projects involving building brush piles and removing invasive trees, installing fish spawning structures, hinge-cutting trees for deer and snowshoe hare, installing wood duck boxes, regenerating aspen stands, and planting a variety of trees for wildlife food and cover.

OTG focuses on projects which improve habitat for game species and sport fish on lands open to the public for hunting and fishing. Through this program, hunters, anglers and trappers have the opportunity to donate their time for the benefit of the species they pursue, showing the general public that we’re true conservationists, while seeing first-hand how their license dollars are put to use. At the same time, non-hunters and new hunters learn about wildlife habitat and the contributions made by hunters, anglers and trappers for conservation.

On the Ground is supported by a Wildlife Habitat Grant from the Michigan Department of Natural Resources along with Michigan’s hunters, anglers, and trappers.

 

 

UPCOMING OTG EVENTS:

 

June 22, 2018 Gladwin Grouse Enhanced Management Site (GEMS)

On Friday, June 22nd from 10AM-2PM, we will be kicking off MUCC’s Annual Convention by improving hunter walking trails in the Gladwin GEMS Lame Duck Foot Access Area. Volunteers will be building a boardwalk in the area.

Click HERE for more details and to register for the event

 

July 14, 2018 Clinton River Clean-Up

On Saturday, July 14th from 9am-2pm, volunteers will meet to improve water quality and fish habitat for the annual Clinton River clean-up hosted by the Metro-West Steelheaders and OTG. Attendees are encouraged to bring waders if they have them, however a limited number of them will be available for use at the event.
Come join Metro-West Steelheaders and OTG for a great afternoon!

Click HERE for more details and to register for the event

 

July 21, 2018 Manistee River Clean-Up

On Saturday, July 21st from 9am-2pm, volunteers will meet for the annual Manistee River clean-up hosted by Steelhead Manifesto and OTG. All participants are encouraged to bring waders if they have them, however a limited number of them will be available for use at the event. Personal boats are welcome (and encouraged) as well, and would be very helpful! All other necessary supplies will be provided.
Come join Steelhead Manifesto and OTG for a great afternoon!

Click HERE for more details and to register for the event

 

August 18, 2018 Shiawassee River State Game Area

On Saturday, August 18th from 9AM-12PM and 1PM-4PM volunteers will be improving wildlife habitat in the Shiawassee River SGA as part of the Joint Partner Habitat Day. This project will involve attendees participating in the Habitat Day and projects will include willow cutting along banks and installing fencing structures around trees that were previously planted in the area. More details to come.

 

September 8, 2018 Grayling State Forest

On Saturday, September 8th from 9am-3pm, volunteers will be planting trees and shrubs to provide cover and browse for turkey. This project is partnered with the National Wild Turkey Federation (NWTF). More details to come.

 

Fall 2018 Atlanta State Forest

On date TBD, from 8:30am-4pm we will be continuing efforts to remove Scotch pine in a location in the Atlanta State Forest. Last year, volunteers cut Scotch pine in a 10-acre section near Tomahawk Hwy. This year, we will be continuing those efforts to allow proper growth and regeneration of Jack Pine in the area. This provides great habitat for the areas whitetail deer, cottontail rabbits, snowshoe hare, elk, and of course the Kirtland Warbler!

 

Fall 2018 Grayling State Forest

On date TBD, from 9am-3pm, volunteers will be pruning apple trees in a state forest land orchard. These trees will produce soft mast (apples) for the areas wildlife including deer, bear, turkey, grouse and small game. See more details and RSVP to volunteer here.

 

Fall 2018 Keeler State Game Area

On a date TBD, from 9am-2pm volunteers will be building brush piles for rabbitat in the Keeler State Game Area. These brush piles will provide cover for the areas cottontail rabbits and many other wildlife species.

 

Fall 2018 Barry State Game Area

On a date TBD, from 9am-2pm volunteers will be planting trees in the Barry State Game Area. These trees will provide cover and browse for the area’s wildlife. More details to come.

 

 

COMPLETED OTG EVENTS:

 

December 2, 2017 Allegan State Game Area

A total of 19 volunteers continued efforts to promote aspen regeneration near the Fennville Farm Unit. Over-mature Aspen trees were cut to allow sunlight through for young aspen growth. The trunks and branches were stacked into 6 large brush piles for rabbitat.

 

February 17, 2018 Tuttle Marsh Wildlife Area

A total of 21 volunteers built over 50 new brush piles for rabbitat in the Tuttle Marsh Wildlife Area. This project was coordinated with Gib King of Land Ethics LLC and volunteers also enjoyed the unique opportunity to spend an afternoon shooting clays and rabbit hunting in the area!

 

February 24, 2018 Gratiot-Saginaw State Game Area

A total of 18 volunteers worked to complete habitat work in a wildlife opening in the Gratiot-Saginaw SGA. For the past 3 years, volunteers and students from the Midland-Dow High Conservation Club have been working hard to restore a wildlife opening by cutting encroaching timber and shrubs and building brush piles for rabbitat; that area is now clear of timber and shrubs and can be further prepared for planting in the future!

 

March 17, 2018 Dansville State Game Area

On Saturday, March 17th from 9am-2pm, a group of 12 volunteers improved hunter access trails and built 10 brush piles for rabbitat at the Dansville State Game Area’s Hewes Lake area.

 

March 24-25, 2018 Rose Lake Shooting Range (Glassen Building)

On Saturday, March 24th and Sunday, March 25th, 2018, MUCC’s On the Ground program and the Heavy Equipment Response Coalition are offered a Chainsaw Safety Training course for 32 participants. The course was hosted at the Hal & Jean Glassen building at the Rose Lake State Game Area.

 

April 10, 2018 Lapeer State Game Area (OTG Jr)

On Tuesday, April 10th from 9am-2pm a group of over 20 home-school students from Genesee County improved wildlife conditions in the Lapeer State Game Area by cleaning up two large dump sites along Byers Rd in the areas Central Unit. The group removed enough trash and debris to fill a 20-yard dumpster!

 

April 21, 2018 Crane Pond State Game Area

On Saturday, April 21st from 10am-2pm, a group of 14 volunteers planted 400 tree seedlings in 3-gallon pots at the Crane Pond SGA DNR Field Office. These trees will be monitored and cared for until they are large enough to plant in wildlife openings in the area to provide browse and thermal cover for the area’s wildlife!

 

April 22, 2018 Huron-Manistee National Forest: Baldwin

On Sunday, April 22nd from 9am-3pm, a total of 23 volunteers planted 345 mast producing trees in openings and along roads in the Huron-Manistee National Forest near Baldwin, MI. This project was partnered with the National Wild Turkey Federation’s District Biologist, Ryan Boyer and Heather Keough with the Huron-Manistee USFS.

 

April 28, 2018 Gladwin GEMS Area

On Saturday, April 28th, a group of over 20 volunteers planted 60 trees and placed fencing structures around each tree in the Gladwin GEMS Area. The group planted 40 different varieties of apple trees and 20 crabapple trees in groups of 10 at sites adjacent to wildlife openings in the Lame Duck Foot Access Area, Gladwin County, Michigan. This was a joint project between the DNR Wildlife Division and the North Central Chapter of the Ruffed Grouse Society and a local Girl Scout troop!

 

May 2, 2018 Elmwood Twp Mini-State Game Area (OTG Jr)

On Wednesday, May 2nd from 9am-2pm a total of 17 students with the Reese Out of Doors Club completed a wildlife habitat program for the fourth year in a row with OTG Jr. The group planted 600 shrubs along a roadway in the Elmowwod Twp Mini SGA to provide cover for pheasants in the area. The 600 dogwood and highbush cranberry trees were generously donated by Cold Stream Farms to make this project possible!

 

May 15, 2018 Tobico Marsh/Bay City State Rec Area (OTG Jr)

On Tuesday, May 15th from 9am-3pm, a total 0f 25 students from the Cramer Jr High Service Club pulled garlic mustard and removed invasives including glossy buckthorn, autumn olive, and more in the Tobico Marsh area. This group removed over 30 bags of garlic mustard and other invasives from the area last year! The students enjoyed an afternoon of fishing after the habitat work was completed.

 

May 20, 2018 Gwinn State Forest

On Saturday, May 20th from 9am-3pm a group of 16 volunteers planted 110 mast-producing trees in the Gwinn State Forest. Volunteers also placed fencing structures around the newly planted trees. These trees will provide browse for the areas whitetail deer, black bear, turkey, grouse, and more!

 

May 30 & 31, 2018 Rose Lake State Game Area (OTG Jr)

On Wednesday, May 30th and Thursday, May 31st, 100 students from Murphy Elementary in the Haslett public schools built brush piles and pulled enough garlic mustard and dames rocket to fill over 25 large trash bags.  This project was coordinated with Zsa Mahon and her 5th-grade classes with our On the Ground Jr program!

 

June 2, 2018 Pigeon River Country State Forest

On Saturday, June 2nd from 9AM-4PM a group of 20 volunteers with the Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation (RMEF) completed elk habitat improvement for their annual habitat workday in the Pigeon River Country State Forest. This year, volunteers planted 40 oak trees and removed fencing from a newly acquired property near the Johnson’s Crossing area.

 

June 9, 2018 Pigeon River Country State Forest

On Saturday, June 9th from 9AM-2PM we will be improving wildlife habitat in the Pigeon River Country State Forest. Volunteers will be cutting encroaching timber to open up an area with an oak understory to allow better regeneration of the mast-producing species. The project location will be near Pickerel Lake. See more details and RSVP to volunteer here!