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Joint Project In Ontonagon County Grows Trees For The Future

A cooperative seed collection effort in Ontonagon County will produce trees to be grown at Porcupine Mountains Wilderness State Park in the western Upper Peninsula –Michigan’s largest state park.

Recently, the Michigan Department of Natural Resources, the Ontonagon Area School agriculture class and White Pine Electric volunteers gathered on a beautiful fall afternoon to collect maple tree seeds and oak acorns at the Porcupine Mountains.Volunteers work to prepare collected maple seeds and oak acorns for planting.

The seeds and acorns will be used to grow seedlings to be planted in the Porcupine Mountains.

“We will be working with the Ottawa National Forest’s local Toumi Nursery to raise the seedlings,” said Bob Wild, park interpreter at the Porcupine Mountains.
Once ready for replanting, the oak and maple seedlings will be returned to the park. Eventually, they will grow to join the forest canopy of trees.

“We are pleased to have been able to partner with our neighboring conservationists on this exciting reforestation project,” said Bill O’Neill, chief of the DNR’s Forest Resources Division.
In addition to planting trees for the future, the outing provided the schoolchildren with a chance to see and participate in forest regeneration close at hand.

“Our students enjoyed getting outside to partner with the Michigan DNR, Forest Service and White Pine Electric and help out on this project,” said Jim Bobula, superintendent and principal at the Ontonagon Area School in Ontonagon. “This kind of outing can instill a lifetime of interest in the outdoors, nature and conservation, as well as build a collaborative relationship with our local DNR and Forest.”

The project was undertaken to fulfill a commitment from White Pine Electric Power to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.

“I was excited to be able to partner with these groups and provide such a hands-on learning opportunity for the students,” said J.R. Richardson, director of environment and safety for PM Power Group, Inc., which owns and operates the White Pine power plant. “What an exciting day for all of us.”

For more information on Michigan’s forest resources, visit the DNR’s webpage.

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