Over the Memorial Day weekend, two groups made a difference in wildlife habitat in Michigan.
In the Upper Peninsula, in south Marquette County, 18 volunteers from U.P. Whitetails and Michigan United Conservation Clubs (MUCC) helped local wildlife out.
On public land near Arnold, the volunteers planted 140 oak trees — 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 planted 30 crabapple trees. Protective fencing was 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.
“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.”
Both efforts were aided by a Department of Natural Resources Wildlife Habitat Grant. Additional partners from the Flint Chapter of Safari Club International and the Natural Resources Conservation Service district office in Alpena also assisted in the LeeGrande GEMS project.