Last week on Friday, OTG Jr successfully completed the third event for its Spring 2017 trial season. The Cramer Jr High Community Service Club partnered with OTG Jr in efforts to eradicate invasive species at the Bay City State Recreation Area near Tobico Marsh. A total of 16 students from the club participated in the project accompanied by Brad Williams- the school counselor for Cramer Jr High, as well as two other adult chaperones. During the habitat improvement portion of the event, the group pulled enough garlic mustard to fill over 30 trash bags and made small brush piles for rabbitat using autumn olive, glossy buckthorn, rose bushes, and japanese knotweed. After a well-earned lunch break, the kids then enjoyed an afternoon of fishing on the lagoon for their recreation activity portion of the day.
The kids learned a lot about how to identify various plants in the field. They learned the importance of paying close attention to details of leaf shape, texture, color, and pattern as well as the stem or bark characteristics. They were excited to look for the invasive species and help restore the area to succession of native plants. Many of the kids also got to experience fishing for the first time, while others had plenty of prior experience. MUCC’s Education Director, Shaun McKeon, led the group through a safety discussion and explained the importance of knowing the current fishing rules and regulations before any lines touched the water. The kids then baited their hooks with a worm and got to fishin! Although nobody caught a fish, the group was determined to try up until they departed back to school to end a successful day outdoors.
The other two completed OTG Jr events were with the Reese High School Out-of-Doors Club at Fish Point Wildlife Area, where the group installed 15 new wood duck boxes and maintained 20 existing wood duck boxes, and the Grand Traverse Academy 5th & 6th Grade science class planted 91 trees in the Betsie Grouse Enhanced Management Site (GEMS). The Grand Traverse Academy students participated in an archery session in the field after their habitat work as well. Haven’t heard of OTG Jr yet? Check out the information below to see an overview of the program!
Michigan United Conservation Clubs Classroom On the Ground Projects
Who we are: Michigan United Conservation Clubs is the largest statewide conservation organization in the nation. We were founded in 1937.
Mission: Uniting citizens to conserve, protect, and enhance Michigan’s natural resources and outdoor heritage.
Overview: For the last 4 years MUCC has run a wildlife habitat program called, On the Ground (OTG). The program has expanded to include k-12 schools and take classrooms of students on public lands to complete a habitat program, referred to as OTG Jr. The purpose is to involve them in habitat restoration to support wildlife in our state and to get them to understand the connection between habitat health and the wildlife that depends on it.
Regions: Detroit, Grand Rapids, Flint, Saginaw, Muskegon, Kalamazoo, Ypsilanti
Time Requirement: One full school day: 9am- lunch habitat project(lunch provided), 2nd ½ of day would be outdoor recreation (ex: teaching how to fish, shoot archery, or other place-based fun)
Equipment: Gloves, shovels, and all other work equipment will be provided by MUCC
Ideal Grade Level: 6 grade +
Who is involved: MUCC Staff, NWF Staff and Michigan DNR Wildlife Biologists
Contact: Shaun McKeon Education Director Michigan United Conservation Clubs firstname.lastname@example.org or 517-346- 6466 or Sarah Topp Wildlife Volunteer Coordinator Michigan United Conservation Clubs email@example.com or 517-346- 6493
MUCC's On The Ground Program is supported by the Michigan Department of Natural Resources Wildlife Division