I hope everyone took advantage of the awesome weather and got outside over the weekend! Thirteen volunteers returned to the Gratiot-Saginaw State Game Area last weekend to build brush piles for rabbitat and clear shrubs and encroaching timber from a wildlife opening. Among those volunteers were Doug and Dianne Reeves who are both enjoying recent retirement by improving habitat and building brush piles on a daily basis. Frequent volunteer Wayne Hanson, along with Doug and Dianne Reeves, have volunteered at this habitat event all four years that it’s been hosted here with DNR Wildlife Technician Chad Krumnauer. An additional eight students from the Midland Dow High School Conservation Class taught by Brent Chambers attended this project for the second year in a row and were a great help in removing encroaching timber and stacking large brush piles.
I was also joined by Bethy Williams who has attended all but one of this year’s events with me! She got to practice the new felling techniques she learned from the chainsaw safety course MUCC hosted in January. After improving wildlife habitat and building brush piles, we took the opportunity to check out last year’s project location and kicked some brush piles in hopes of scaring out a few rabbits. We were stealthy enough to sneak up on a red fox and Bethy got a glimpse of a rabbit scurrying on the opposite side of a brush pile, but we did not get any chance to shoot. It was still a great way to enjoy the warm Saturday in February; I couldn’t believe that it was so warm out with temperatures in the low 60’s!
If you missed out on the event last weekend, you can volunteer at the Fulton State Game Area on Saturday, March 5th to help build brush piles for rabbitat. The Fulton SGA is unique for this project because "volunteers building brush piles" is written in its management plan for cottontail rabbits. This will be the third year in a row MUCC's Wildlife Habitat program will be completing a rabbitat project in this area. See more details about this event and RSVP to volunteer for rabbitat here.
This upcoming weekend I will be presenting about MUCC’s wildlife habitat program at the Branch County Conservation District Annual Meeting & Expo. As always, I am proud to represent the volunteers that dedicate their free time to improve wildlife habitat with me at various locations around the state. This will be a great opportunity to showcase the impacts you have all made through the past three years of this habitat program. On Sunday I will be attending Outdoorama to represent MUCC’s volunteers there as well. I have not yet been to Outdoorama so I’m looking forward to it; be sure to stop by MUCC’s booth if you get the chance to go!