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 1,600 volunteers have improved fish and game habitat through weekend projects like 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:
On Saturday, February 17th, volunteers will be meeting in the Tuttle Marsh Wildlife Area to build brush piles for rabbitat. This project is coordinated with Gib King of Land Ethics LLC and will also provide a unique opportunity to enjoy improved habitat by hosting an afternoon clay shoot and rabbit hunt in the area- See more details and RSVP to volunteer here!
On Saturday, February 24th, we will be completing 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- see more details and RSVP to volunteer here!
For the 4th year in a row, OTG will be assisting with the Crane Pond SGA Youth Rabbit Hunt. This event allows for youth to enjoy habitat improvements on state land by utilizing brush piles previously built by volunteers during On the Ground wildlife habitat improvement events in the area. See more details about the event here!
On Saturday, March 17th from 9am-2pm, volunteers will be meeting at the Dansville State Game Area Shooting Range to complete and wildlife habitat improvement project in the area. Volunteers will be improving hunter access trails and building brush piles for rabbitat- see more details and RSVP to volunteer here!
On Saturday, March 24th and Sunday, March 25th, 2018, MUCC’s On the Ground program and the Heavy Equipment Response Coalition are offering a Chainsaw Safety Training course for all experience levels from no sawyer experience to advanced. The course will be hosted at the Hal & Jean Glassen building at the Rose Lake Shooting Range and will begin at 9 AM on both Saturday and Sunday. Sessions are expected to go until 4 PM on both days. Register here *(required)
On Saturday, April 7th from 9am-2pm, volunteers will continue wildlife habitat improvements in the area by building brush piles for rabbitat. This project has been completed in the region each year since the start of the program in 2013!
On Saturday, April 14th from 10am-2pm, volunteers will be planting 300 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-see more details and RSVP to volunteer here!
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.