It’s mid-October here in Michigan and several hunting seasons are in progress. Whether you hunt small game, deer, waterfowl, or upland birds, there are endless opportunities to get out on public lands that Michigan has to offer. MUCC’s On the Ground Jr program will be busy introducing several student groups to wildlife habitat conservation and outdoor recreation activities this month as well. Several classes with the Grand Traverse Academy will be returning for another tree planting project in the Traverse City State Forest Area. The 5th and 6th-grade science classes with Morrice Elementary School will each be spending a day improving wildlife habitat in the Rose Lake State Game Area in the Next two weeks. All of the groups will complete three hours of habitat work in the morning and then, following lunch, the groups will participate in an archery range session.
A successful trial season was held for OTG Jr this past spring, in which three events were completed with three different school groups. One of those groups was Justin Lazar’s 5th and 6th grade class with the Grand Traverse Academy. The students planted trees and shrubs in the Betsie GEMS area and participated in an archery session after the habitat work. Next week on October 23rd, Lazar’s new 5th and 6th-grade students will be joined by Michelle Lazar’s 3rd and 4th-grade students as well from the Grand Traverse Academy to plant crabapple trees, build small brush piles for rabbitat, and place kestrel nesting boxes in a state forest area near Copemish, MI. This project will improve wildlife habitat for several species including turkey, whitetail deer, black bear, grouse, small game, and non-game species.
In August, OTG participated in the annual orientation day for teachers with the Grand Learning Network at the Rose Lake State Game Area. A group of nine teachers from the Greater Lansing area participated in a wildlife habitat project building brush piles for rabbitat and an archery session to get a glimpse of what an OTG Jr project would look like. Morgan Chapko’s 5th and 6th-grade science classes with Morrice Elementary School will be participating in their own OTG Jr events in the next two weeks at the Rose Lake SGA. The students will be removing leftover branches and tree roots and making brush piles to prepare a site for the planting of native grasses. This project will improve wildlife habitat for the areas small game, pheasants, deer, and non-game species as well.
This program offers an opportunity for students to get out of the classroom for a day and focus on hand on conservation while learning about relevant topics in environmental science, wildlife habitat management, and learn a new skill or two with outdoor recreation activities offered. Check back next week to see what was accomplished in the Traverse City State Forest and Rose Lake State Game Area with On the Ground Jr!