These past two weeks have been very productive for MUCC’s On the Ground Jr program. After completing three trial events in the spring, OTG JR has just completed three more events this fall. Last week on Monday, October 23rd, over 60 students from the Grand Traverse Academy planted crabapple trees in the Traverse City State Forest near Copemish. On Wednesday, October 25th, and Wednesday, November 1st, over 70 students from Morrice Elementary School removed logs, roots, and stumps from a field in the Rose Lake State Game Area in preparation for the planting of native grasses. Each group was then able to participate in an archery session for the afternoon. These events consist of wildlife habitat work in the morning and a break for lunch followed by a recreation activity.
The OTG Jr event in the Traverse City State Forest was coordinated with Justin Lazar’s 5th and 6th-grade class, Michelle Lazar’s 3rd and 4th-grade class, and Emily Deegan’s 3rd and 4th-grade class from the Grand Traverse Academy. The project was chosen by DNR Wildlife Biologist Steve Griffith and DNR Wildlife Technician Tim Lyon. Including chaperones, the group totaled 82 people to plant 50 crabapple trees along the edges of an opening. For many of the students, this was their first tree planting experience. The students worked in groups of 4 to dig the large holes, plant the trees, then place mulch around the base of the trees, and place fencing structures around some of the trees to protect them from being browsed too soon. Although it was too rainy for archery at this event, the kids got to learn a lot about the wildlife that might exist in the area as MUCC’s Education Director-Shaun McKeon presented various furs and skulls to the group.
The two events in the Rose Lake State Game Area were coordinated with Morgan Chapko’s 5th-grade class and 6th-grade class. Each class spent a day helping to prepare the site for the future planting of native grasses by picking up large sticks, roots, and stumps left behind from a recent clear-cut. The project was chosen by the areas DNR Wildlife Technician, Chad Krumnauer. The classes are currently covering the topic of human impact on wildlife and their habitat, making this project a great fit. This opportunity allowed the group to see a positive human impact on wildlife habitat. After three hours of habitat work, the groups got to participate in an archery session at the Rose Lake Shooting Range for the afternoon. For many students, it was their first experience shooting a bow and arrow and many showed interest to try it again in the future.
See what events are coming up with OTG and OTG Jr at www.mucc.org/ontheground and RSVP to volunteer for wildlife habitat!
MUCC’s On The Ground Program is supported by the Department of Natural Resources Wildlife Division.