This past weekend, 20 volunteers from Marquette County planted 130 trees to improve wildlife habitat in the Gwinn State Forest. A great amount of support was shown by locals including MUCC Vice President-George Lindquist, UP Whitetails member-John Strom as well as local DNR staff including DNR Deputy Public Information Officer-John Pepin and family, DNR Forester-Rachel McDonald and family, and soon-to-be DNR Wildlife Assistant for the Escanaba Field Office- Kim Randolph. The apple tree varieties and the planting locations were chosen by the areas DNR Wildlife Technician, Caleb Eckloff. Protective fencing was placed around each tree to ensure that they are not browsed on by deer too early. Once the trees start producing soft mast (apples), they will provide food for the areas wildlife including whitetail deer, black bear, turkey, grouse, as well as other small game and bird species.
Volunteers started off the day by gathering at the Gwinn Field office to sign in and get an overview of the tree planting locations from Eckloff. The group then caravanned to the planting locations in the southern portion of Marquette County. With shovels in hand, the group gathered around for a planting demonstration of one of the apple trees completed with placement of the fencing structure around it. Eckloff explained the importance of root placement and depth of the soil in relation to the root graft. Volunteers then dispersed and started planting trees and placing fencing structures around each tree. A total of 130 trees were planted among four different wildlife openings.
This project was the 9th project completed in the UP region of the state since the start of MUCC’s On the Ground program (OTG) in 2013. A total of 117 volunteers, one of which was Governor Rick Snyder, have dedicated a Saturday to improve wildlife habitat on public land in Alger, Delta, Iron, Marquette, and Menominee counties with the OTG program so far. Thank you to the representatives from various organizations, local residents, and DNR staff for making these projects possible. See more opportunities to improve wildlife habitat with MUCC’s On the Ground program here!
UPCOMING OTG EVENTS:
June 3, 2017 Pigeon River Country State Forest
We will be joining the Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation to restore a site for wildlife in the area such as elk, whitetail deer, and black bear.
MUCC’s On The Ground Program is supported by the Michigan Department of Natural Resources Wildlife Division