Today marks the official start of fall and just seven more days until the archery season opener! I’m feeling the nerves and excitement as I see my social media filling up with posts of youth hunt success stories and memories shared. I’ve hunted public lands before, but this will be my first archery season to hunt and also my first hunting experience south of the 45th parallel. I’ve been fortunate enough to get to explore quite a few different state game areas in southern Michigan through my service with OTG. Knowing how many areas have had habitat improved by volunteers, I’m feeling like a kid in a candy store trying to pick which areas I want to hunt!
This September has been a successful month for OTG's events removing invasive species to improve wildlife habitat. We targeted invasive autumn olive at one of Little Forks land Conservancy's nature preserves- the Forestview Natural Area. Volunteers, including two DOW Chemical employees, helped to create five large brush piles using the autumn olive removed from this 70 acre preserve. These brush piles will provide cover for rabbits and other small game; a great benefit for this fern covered forest floor!
Volunteers also made an impact on Lake Huron's shoreline by pulling 420 pounds of invasive European frog-bit; that's 21 5-gallon bucket loads of drained frog-bit! This OTG event was focused on a boat launch site at Nayanquing Point State Wildlife Area. This project site was one of five patches of the invasive aquatic plant we had mapped in a previous OTG event this August. It was chosen as high priority because of the popular use of the launch site for duck and other waterfowl hunters. Although this was just a one acre patch of the floating plant, the removal of it in that location will lessen the spread of it to locations further down the shoreline.
Our efforts are just the beginning of a continuing battle against invasive plants, but make a positive impact nonetheless! These events were possible largely in part of a grant from the Saginaw Bay Watershed Initiative Network (WIN). WIN is a community-based, voluntary initiative that connects people, resources, organizations, and programs. I can definitely agree that WIN has held true to this statement as I have made some great connections through these events that I hope to collaborate with for future projects.
This Saturday, September 26th, is National Public Lands Day!! Give back to your public lands by volunteering with OTG at Allegan State Game Area! We will be restoring a unique coastal marsh area by cutting out encroaching timber to improve waterfowl habitat. I’m looking forward to this great event that will be followed up with a grill-out at the local Rod & Gun Club! You can volunteer with us at Sharonville State Wildlife Management Area on Sunday, October 11th where we will be removing fencing to help prepare a site for planting native grasses for pheasant habitat.