Yesterday, I visited the Gourdneck State Game Area with DNR Wildlife Biologist Mark Mills and Brandon Thomas from Boy Scout Troop 253 of Vicksburg, MI to discuss plans for a tree planting project this spring. Brandon had attended fellow troop members Eagle Scout project just a few weeks ago and decided that he would like to complete his Eagle Scout Project with a wildlife habitat improvement event as well. Brandon’s Eagle Scout project is scheduled for April 15th and will involve planting 1,000 trees in a wildlife opening in the Gourdneck SGA. The variety of white cedar, white spruce, and fir species will provide thermal cover for the areas whitetail deer, turkey, small game and other wildlife.
The tree planting will be the second phase of wildlife habitat improvement in this location. The previous project involved building brush piles along the edges of the opening for rabbit habitat. There is significant sign of deer in the area and this location will highly benefit from thermal cover provided by the trees when they grow enough. There is a water source east of the opening and a food source just west of the opening, making this a popular crossing area. The trees will be planted in clusters throughout the lowland areas of the opening; the resulting thermal cover may help to hold more deer and other wildlife in the area.
Before we get to April’s projects, coming up on March 4th we will be building brush piles for rabbit habitat in the Fulton State Game Area. It is written into the area’s management plan to have volunteers construct at least 50 brush piles in the area over a period of 10 years. Through MUCC’s Wildlife Habitat Program since 2013, volunteers have exceeded that goal already! On March 25th, we will be starting off the tree planting season in the Barry State Game Area. Volunteers will be planting a variety of mast-producing trees and shrubs to provide browse for the areas deer, turkey, and other wildlife. See more upcoming events and details to RSVP here!
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MUCC's On The Ground Program is supported by the Michigan Department of Natural Resources Wildlife Division