A total of 2,600 trees were planted by volunteers with MUCC’s Wildlife Habitat Improvement Program and school groups participating in OTG Jr events this month. The trees and shrubs planted included conifers to provide thermal cover and also, mast-producing trees to provide browse for wildlife. Projects were completed this month in the Southwest, Southeast, and Northwest regions of the state. The Upper Peninsula isn’t being forgotten, join On the Ground (OTG) on May 6th in the Gwinn State Forest to plant another 190 trees for wildlife- see more details and RSVP to volunteer here! Read more to see what was accomplished by volunteers with OTG last week.
Last week on Wednesday, a group of sixteen 5th and 6th graders from the Grand Traverse Academy planted a total of 91 trees in the Betsie Grouse Enhanced Management Area. This was the second OTG Jr program for the pilot year and was coordinated with MUCC’s Education Director, Shaun McKeon. The day involved three hours of habitat work in the morning and was followed by lunch on site with an activity for the kids in the afternoon before heading back to school. The group planted 30 balsam fir, 42 white spruce, 10 staghorn sumac, 6 black cherry and 3 white oak to provide both thermal cover and browse for the areas whitetail deer, black bear, turkey, and of course, grouse!
The kids had a blast planting trees and learned about the wildlife and ecology of the area from the local DNR Wildlife Biologist, Stephen Griffith and DNR Wildlife Technician, Tim Lyon. They learned which wildlife species would benefit from their hard work and also got to put up protective structures around the young oaks they’d planted. The OTG Jr program gets school groups involved in wildlife habitat improvement while learning valuable lessons about the area with a hands-on experience they won’t forget. The second half of the day involves a fun activity; in this case, it was an archery lesson. Many of the kids had never shot before and walked away with proud smiles and dirty hands.
Another group of volunteers got their hands dirty this past weekend in honor of Earth Day. A total of 600 trees and shrubs were planted by 6 volunteers in the Crane Pond State Game Area to provide thermal cover and browse in a wildlife opening. Tree and shrub varieties planted included 150 crabapple, 150 white oak, 100 white spruce, 100 red cedar, and 100 balsam fir. The areas DNR Wildlife Technician, Nate DeVries, chose the location to plant and also spotted 5 turkeys in the field as we began planting! Those turkeys will soon benefit from the habitat improvements made by this dedicated group of volunteers!
COMING UP NEXT:
June 2017 Pigeon River Country State Forest
We will be joining the Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation to plant mast-producing trees for wildlife in the area such as elk, white-tailed deer, and black bear.
MUCC’s On The Ground Program is supported by the Michigan Department of Natural Resources Wildlife Division