Wildlife Wednesday: If You Build It, They Will Come

Sarah Topp Sarah Topp
After seven consecutive Saturday’s spent alongside volunteers for MUCC’s On the Ground habitat events, I took advantage of having last weekend off. I still spent my time outdoors in the nicest weather Michigan has seen yet this spring! Enjoying a different type of Michigan’s public lands, a park in Grand Ledge, I pitched my hammock between two sturdy oaks where the only widow-makers I had to be aware of were in the form of a cold brew. I didn't improve or restore any habitat, but I did improve my guitar skills over the weekend. Although there was no OTG event last weekend to boast about in today’s blog, that doesn't mean our volunteers are going unnoticed.
Volunteers at the Grayling State Forest Volunteers at the Grayling State Forest
Taking a look at the logistics of this season is outright impressive; and it’s only April! Thanks to our 137 volunteers that dedicated an estimated 550 hours to complete eight OTG habitat projects.  Outdoor enthusiasts; hunters, trappers, and anglers have spent many Saturday’s building brush piles for rabbitat, hinge cutting trees, and cleaning out or replacing wood duck boxes and mallard nesting structures. Those projects have been hosted in five of Michigan’s state game areas and one nature preserve. That’s six public land areas in various regions of the Lower Peninsula that have had habitat improved and restored; totaling an astounding 2,375 acres of land!
Volunteers at Gratiot-Saginaw State Game Area Volunteers at Gratiot-Saginaw State Game Area
Although each event aims to benefit one game species, such as whitetail deer, snowshoe hare, cottontail rabbits, wood ducks, etc., multiple species utilize these habitats. Many small game species and birds will use brush piles and hinge-cut areas for cover and escape zones. Benefits go beyond the wildlife. Volunteers have given back to their public lands and walk away with some new or refreshed knowledge about habitat restoration, the accomplishment of a hard day's work and maybe a callous or two.
It's clear that wildlife has also noticed the hard work of our volunteers. A follow up of the January OTG Hinge Cutting event in the Grayling State Forest found that both deer and snowshoe hare have been utilizing the newly placed browse and cover on the ground; see the full article here! Returning volunteers and rabbit hunters have also had success in areas of previous OTG rabbitat projects.
otgstampcolorSo, thank you to our volunteers! We've proudly outdone ourselves by exceeding the first year of OTG events in 2013 with a start of six projects. Don’t worry though; you've still got plenty of opportunities coming up this year to volunteer for wildlife. There's a variety of habitat events sure to fit your interests, from hinge cutting and building brush piles to planting trees or river clean-ups. Wildlife doesn't discriminate; there's a task for volunteers of all skill levels and ages. Join us this Saturday, April 25th, at the Crane Pond State Game Area to build rabbitat! See the event details and more upcoming OTG events here.

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  • commented 2015-08-11 14:27:03 -0400
    You dedication is beyond impressive! :)