MARQUETTE COUNTY, MI – With schedules full and vacations planned, summer is around the corner, but many still are finding a few hours to work together to make a difference for wildlife and those who enjoy it.
Over the Memorial Day weekend, a group gathered in the Upper Peninsula, in south Marquette County, to improve wildlife habitat. A Department of Natural Resources Wildlife Habitat Grant enabled Michigan United Conservation Clubs to provide assistance and coordination for the event.
“Thanks to the many volunteers, and those that did all the legwork ahead of time,” said MUCC Vice President George Lindquist. “Nice job to all, and on a holiday weekend, no less.”
On public land near Arnold, Michigan, 18 volunteers from U.P. Whitetails and MUCC planted 140 oak trees – not just oak seedlings, but 10-foot red and burr oak trees to ensure better survival and a faster timeline for acorn production. In just two hours, this group was able to provide additional, valuable food sources for the future, in an area where countless wildlife will benefit.
Below the bridge in Cheboygan County, volunteers worked on public land at the LeeGrande GEMS (Grouse Enhanced Management Sites). The Ruffed Grouse Society and the American Woodcock Society also received a DNR Wildlife Habitat Grant to purchase and plant trees for projects like this. Additional partners from the Flint Chapter of Safari Club International and the Natural Resources Conservation Service district office in Alpena also assisted on this project.
Thirty crabapple trees were planted, with protective fencing placed around them to allow the trees to establish without being browsed by wildlife. Hard mast, like acorns or nuts, is a great food source, although soft mast like crabapples can retain their fruit longer and, in some cases, through the winter on the stem. Keeping the fruits available for wildlife in northern Michigan, when the snow gets deep, is something that benefits ruffed grouse and wild turkeys.
Current Wildlife Habitat Grant cycle: Apply by July 10
The application period currently is open for the Wildlife Habitat Grant program’s third straight year. The grant program provides funding to local, state, federal and tribal units of government, for-profit and nonprofit groups, and individuals to assist the DNR Wildlife Division with developing or improving wildlife habitat for game species. Proposal applications still can be submitted, but are due by close of business July 10.
Visit www.michigan.gov/dnr-grants for more information.