Michigan Arbor Day Alliance Honors Consumers Energy for Longtime Support

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On Thursday, September 26, MADA’s Program Coordinator and ECD’s Executive Director went to Consumers Energy in Jackson to honor and thank employees for their longtime support of MADA’s programs. They were presented with a picture and plaque of the 2019 Arbor Day Celebration. Without Consumers support, we would not be able to hold our Annual State Arbor Day Celebration or provide communities across the state with trees to beautify their towns/cities. Kay Lancour (left), a Consumers Energy employee, has been on MADA’s board for many years and has played a pivotal role in the success of our Annual Arbor Day Celebration at Potter Park Zoo. We are thankful for her continuous support over the years and are lucky to have her on our planning committee.

This year, MADA was able to award six Tree Planting Grants, which will result in getting 73 trees rooted in communities across the state. Hannah Reynolds, the Arbor Day Coordinator stated, “The MADA Tree Planting Grant program is funded solely on donations from our sponsors. Without support from Consumers Energy and our other sponsors, MADA’s programs would not be possible.” Consumers Energy support for our programs shows their dedication to promoting environmental education and stewardship. We look forward to continue to educate people across the state about the importance of trees and make a positive difference in the lives of Michigan residents.

Michigan Arbor Day Alliance Honors ITC for Longtime Support

 

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Photo: ITC Michigan staff presented with award from Michigan Arbor Day Alliance for longtime support.

CHARLOTTE, MI -The Michigan Arbor Day Alliance (MADA) honored ITC Michigan at their headquarters in Novi, MI on Thursday, September 5 for their longtime support of the organization’s programs to promote environmental stewardship and education. State Arbor Day Coordinator Hannah Reynolds, presented ITC with a plaque and framed picture of students who attended the 2019 State Arbor Day Celebration.

MADA, a program of the Eaton Conservation District, promotes and facilitates Arbor Day through a progressive network for the stewardship of forestry and natural resources in Michigan’s communities. MADA is a coalition of organizations and agencies dedicated to the promotion and celebration of Arbor Day throughout Michigan. MADA’s dedication comes from the belief in the importance of trees and their role in community health and well-being. In addition, MADA assists organizations, businesses, etc. in planning and facilitating tree plantings to expand the urban canopy.

The 2019 State Arbor Day Celebration was held on Friday, April 26, 2019 at Potter Park Zoo in Lansing, MI. MADA, in cooperation with Eaton Conservation District and the Michigan Department of Natural Resources-Forest Resources Division, welcomed approximately 1,000 2nd and 3rd graders from Mid-Michigan to the all-day outdoor event focused on learning about trees and the environment. Students often leave Arbor Day talking about ways they can help better the environment and have a deeper appreciation for trees and nature. This annual field trip is offered to second and third graders in the state of Michigan at no cost. “It is because of our generous sponsors that we can provide this opportunity for the students, teachers and their chaperones to get outside and learn about our natural resources. The sponsors, volunteers, presenters, along with the planning committee, make this event a great success each year,” said Reynolds.

“Through our Right Tree, Right Place program, ITC works to help people understand what kinds of plants and shrubs can be safely established near electricity transmission lines, and the right places for trees. Planting the right tree in the right place, away from power lines, can help conserve energy by providing wind protection, shade and cool air. This can add beauty, privacy and wildlife habitat to the landscape while also protecting the safety and reliability of the transmission system,” said Donna Zalewski, Director of Local Government and Community Affairs and Philanthropy. “ITC is proud to support the Michigan Arbor Day Alliance and to encourage everyone, including these young students, to plant the right trees in the right places.”

In addition to the annual State Arbor Day Celebration, MADA offers a Tree Planting Grant to local units of government, schools, non-profit organizations, and more. This year, MADA was able to award six Tree Planting Grants, which will result in getting 73 trees rooted in communities across the state. Hannah Reynolds, the Arbor Day Coordinator stated, “The MADA Tree Planting Grant program is funded solely on donations from our sponsors. Without support from ITC, MADA’s programs would not be possible. ITC’s continued support of the Michigan Arbor Day Alliance shows their dedication to promoting environmental education and stewardship as well as our goal to expand the urban canopy.”

Learn more about the Michigan Arbor Day Alliance here. 

Learn more about ITC Holdings. Corp here. 

Authored by Hannah Reynolds, Eaton Conservation District and Kelly Fulford, ITC

Landscaping for Water Quality

Michigan is fortunate to have an abundance of high quality lakes and streams that
everyone can benefit from for swimming, boating, fishing, drinking water or simply
enjoying. When rainwater falls on a natural site, the vegetation and soils absorb and collect it. When rainwater falls on a man-made surface like a parking lot or roof top, it quickly runs off of it into storm drains and drainage ditches. While proper drainage is needed to protect your home from water damage, the water picks up fertilizer, sediment, pesticides, and other pollutants, rapidly carrying them into waterways as it runs off of your property. Eventually, these waterways connect to lakes, streams, wetlands, rivers, and other bodies of water that can be harmed by these pollutants.

Water quality in the lakes and streams in your area can be improved by incorporating simple landscape features designed to collect and treat run-off water.

There are many different landscape designs that exist today but are they protecting water quality? Are they intercepting as much water as they could?

Cities are already beginning to experience severe flooding, and with annual precipitation predicted to increase in the Midwest as a result of climate change, it is vital we tackle this issue head on. So, why are native plants and trees the answer? Research and case studies have shown that a single large tree can lift up to 100 gallons of water out of the ground and discharge it into the atmosphere (evapotranspiration) in a day. Native plants have deep root systems, which means they can tolerate periods of drought by extending their roots deeper into the ground to access water. They can also absorb excess water when needed.

Rain gardens are also a way you can help improve water quality. A rain garden is an area created to collect run-off water with a coarse or porous soil mixture of sand or gravel beneath a bed of native plants. Run-off water collects in the rain garden, soaks quickly
into the soils, or is absorbed by the plants in the garden.

If you would like to learn more about landscape designs you can implement at home, take a look at the Landscaping-for-Water Quality Guide. 

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Michigan Pollinator Initiative- Minimizing Pesticide Exposure to Pollinators

Pesticides are often used to protect plants from pests, but it can sometimes have some negative unwanted consequences when pollinators and other beneficial insects are exposed. We want to be able to grow healthy crops and other plants, but we want to have the least amount of impact on the insects that we need. If you absolutely have to use pesticides, you can reduce the chance of harming pollinators by 1) ensuring that the application is necessary and 2) reducing the non-target exposure of the application.

If you are considering using pesticides in your home garden, please take a look at MSU Extension’s Bee Aware brochure. 

1). Ensure that every application is necessary: 

a. Use preventative measures. To minimize the need for pesticides, you can start by using preventative measures for pests. One of the most helpful things you can do is encourage diverse habitat on your property. Diverse plants reduce pest activity while also attracting natural predators. In addition, if you plant species that are native to your area, they will be more pest and disease resistant (learn more about good trees and shrubs or native plant varieties). If you have seen some pest activity, bury the infested plant residues so more pests are not attracted to your yard. It is also healthy to expect and accept some pest activity. Not every garden or lawn will be perfect and you will do pollinators a favor if you avoid pesticide use as long as possible.

b. Practice Integrated Pest Management (IPM). Many applications may not be necessary, especially if you are just using a calendar schedule, and not using information about the risk to your particular plant. Integrated pest management is a way to make sure that you only apply a pesticide if there is a risk.  The four steps of IPM are:

  • Avoid using chemicals as a preventative strategy and
  • only apply the minimum recommended dose listed on the label. Also,
  • choose a pesticide that is effective for the target pest and the least toxic to non-pest species. Xerces Society has a helpful document on choosing safer pesticides.
  • Once you have chosen a pesticide, be mindful of when and where you apply it. Bees visit flowers.
  • Avoid applying when wildflowers are in bloom because bees are more likely to be exposed.
  • Remove flowers in your yard before you apply a chemical, such as flowering weeds in or around your lawn.
  • Bees are active during the day. Spray chemicals later in the evening or at night to reduce the risk to bees.
  • Also, be aware of drift and open water sources. According to an article from Xerces Society,  “Optimal spray conditions for reducing drift occur when the air is slightly unstable with a very mild steady wind. Ideally, temperatures should be moderate and the air slightly humid.” The drift of pesticides by wind or water can carry the chemicals miles away where they will affect pollinators and other wildlife until they degrade. You can take many measures to keep bees safe from pesticides in and around your yard.

If we take care of our pollinators, they will in turn take care of us. We just have to give them the chance.

This article was modified from the original MSU Extension article. 

Wood is Environmentally Friendly

Wood is the only building material whose amount is constantly increasing. By using wood, the consumption of non-renewable materials can be reduced and/or completely avoided. This is particularly significant in construction, where the quantities of material used are great and the replacement of other materials with wood is comparatively easy.

The manufacture of wood products and structures only consumes a little energy compared to products and structures made of other materials. Unlike other materials, most of the energy needed in the production of wood products is based on renewable sources of energy. Most of the energy is obtained from by-products of its manufacturing process, such as tree bark. In fact, in the production of basic wood products for construction, such as sawn and planed products, more energy is created than consumed.

At the end of their life cycle, wood products can be recycled or converted to energy. The energy obtained from wood is renewable and can replace fossil fuels.

Forest mill products produce a wide range of products through primary and secondary manufacturers – products like OSB (chipboard), veneer, lumber, and paper. They make thousands of products that we all use every day and provide the financial incentive to manage forests well. Watch the video below to learn about sawmills and some of the great renewable products that they produce!

 

 

Gypsy moth numbers increasing in southern Michigan

Gypsy moth caterpillar feeding on oak leaf.

Gypsy moth caterpillar feeding on oak leaf. Photo by Clifford Sadof, Purdue University.

Gypsy moths are an invasive species, a term used for non-native pests that can cause harm to native species and ecosystems. During it’s caterpillar life stage, the insect caused widespread damage to defoliation in Michigan from the mid-1980s to the early 1990s. A large population in 2018 has led to more caterpillars hatching this spring. The defoliation is heaviest in Barry, Ionia and Washtenaw counties but MDNR forest health experts say that its likely that gypsy moth caterpillars are causing similar problems on a local scale in other areas of the Lower Peninsula. Heavy defoliation will likely become visible within the next few weeks in localized outbreak areas and persist through mid-July.

Forest health expert, James Wieferich says, “gypsy moths rarely kill trees in Michigan. Only stressed trees suffering from problems like drought, old age or root damage are at high risk. In most cases, gypsy moth caterpillars are more of a nuisance in residential areas than in the woods.”

Defoliation most often occurs in the season following a drought-heavy year, such as 2016, 2017 and the summer of 2018. Many forest pests tend to target trees that are weakened – perhaps from drought – or otherwise not in the best of health.

The leaf-eating caterpillars are hairy, up to 2 inches long and have a pattern of blue and dark red spots. Male moths are dark buff in color and fly; females are white with black, wavy markings and do not fly.

How to Protect your Trees from Gypsy Moth 

Weiferich says you can help promote tree health by “watering trees regularly and avoid damaging the roots and bark. Doing these two things will help the trees fend off the effects of defoliation. You can also remove dead and dying trees in a woodlot periodically as this will help the remaining trees stay strong.”

Mature forests normally can withstand heavy gypsy moth defoliation with little impact. Defoliated trees will begin to develop new leaves in July to replace those that were eaten. Even heavily defoliated trees will recover without serious long-term effects. However, consecutive years of mass defoliation will start to take a toll, even on the healthiest of mature trees.

More detailed information is available in this MSUE bulletin that covers the Btk management for gypsy moth.

Original article by James Wieferich, MDNR

Michigan Arbor Day Alliance awards six tree planting grants, made possible by Consumers Energy, ITC, and Lansing Board of Water and Light

The Michigan Arbor Day Alliance (MADA) Tree Planting Grants are available to local units of government, public educational institutions, public libraries, non-profit organizations, neighborhood associations, churches and tribal governments. Tree planting sites include cities and towns, school yards and conservation areas such as stream bank stabilization and habitat restoration. The grant application is made available in early February, with applications due at the end of April. Applicants were notified in May of their award status. All of the planting projects will be completed by the end of the year.

This year, MADA received 20 applications from cities, villages, conservation districts, neighborhood associations, non-profits, and schools from all across the state. After careful consideration, we selected the following grant recipients: City of Beverly Hills, Kalkaska Conservation District, Hope College, Court Street Village (Flint, MI), Charter Township of Calumet, and the Village of Middleville. A total of 73 trees will be planted across all of these communities.

These tree planting grants will provide the funding for the trees and in turn, improve the lives of residents. We believe trees play a vital role in community health and well being. Trees are an investment in the health of our people, wildlife and the environment. They provide shade, beautify the landscape, clean the air and water, lower energy costs, increase property values, mitigate flooding, and so much more. We are thrilled to have the opportunity to offer these grants and hope to increase funding in the future to be able to award more grants.

Our generous sponsors, Consumers Energy, ITC and Lansing Board of Water and Light  have made this grant program possible. We appreciate their continued support of Michigan Arbor Day Alliance’s programs.

Descriptions of the six planting projects happening across the state of Michigan:

Charter Township of Calumet: This project will install six sugar maple trees at a prominent intersection and vacant lot in Calumet Township. The planting site is located on Red Jacket Road, an historic route and contributing resource within Keweenaw National Historical Park. This project will replace missing historic trees in the right of way according to the preferred treatment plan in the park’s cultural landscape report. Installation of trees will help define the historic route, the adjacent vacant lot, provide shade and comfort to pedestrians and improve the community canopy cover. This partnership between Calumet Township and Keweenaw National Historical Park is an important step to help a small rural community recognize the value of street tree planting for the benefit of residents and visitors. Anticipated project start date: May 2019;  Grant award: $1,200.

Kalkaska Conservation District: The Kalkaska Conservation District will partner with the Kalkaska Public Schools to plant 17 trees on school property. Placement of trees will be strategic to act as a wind break and visual break to slow down traffic on school grounds. Trees will be planted in Fall 2019 by District staff, school staff, and middle and high school students. Anticipated project start date: June 5, 2019; Grant award: $2,000

Court Street Village: Due to severe budgetary constraints in the city of Flint, there is no current funding to replace lost street trees in core neighborhoods. The Central Park Neighborhood is an historic residential neighborhood of 18 blocks and approximately 500 households adjacent to downtown and the Flint Cultural Center. Flint currently has an existing canopy of street trees, but many are reaching the end of their lives due to damage or pests. Volunteers from the neighborhood association completed a street tree inventory last spring of missing street trees and identified 14 potential sites for re-planting. Court Street Village will replace seven of these trees this year, and the additional seven in the next year or two. They chose sites with high visibility on the busier streets surrounding the neighborhood, and then prioritized sites that were close to each other both for impact and ease of maintenance. Replacing these street trees will enhance residents’ quality of life and stabilize property values in an important core neighborhood in Flint. Anticipated project start date: September 15, 2019; Grant award: $1,500

Village of Beverly Hills: Beverly Park is a staple of Beverly Hills, stretching 34 acres through the middle of the Village. The park is currently undergoing an invasive species eradication and woodland reforestation project. Beverly Park was overwhelmed by buckthorn, which is in the process of being completely cleared out. This leaves vast space available for planting new, native species. The Parks and Recreation Board and Village staff are actively working to secure funding for the reforestation efforts. The public services team and volunteers will periodically plant new trees over the next two years. This year, the Village will plant five new trees in the park. Anticipated project start date: October 1, 2019. Grant award: $1,000

Village of Middleville: In 2016 a new section of the Paul Henry- Thornapple Trail was constructed. A new trail head and parking lot was then completed on Crane Road. During construction, the area was leveled and cleared of brush leaving an open, sunny section between the trail and drive into the new parking lot. In this area, the Village plans to plant three native Sugar maple trees. In addition, two large evergreen trees in the Middleville Downtown parks are failing and will be replaced with concolor fir trees. Anticipated project state date: September 2019; Grant award: $1,000

Hope College: Hope College is committed to increasing their urban tree canopy cover. With MADA’s support, Hope College will be able to increase their tree plantings (33 new trees) for 2019 and help reduce their carbon footprint, improve air quality, and beatify the campus for all to enjoy for years to come. As part of the college’s commitment to increasing urban tree canopy, Hope College has received “Tree Campus USA” certification. Anticipated project start date: June 1, 2019; Grant award: $2,000

Proud sponsors of this program:

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For more information about the Michigan Arbor Day Alliance program, please visit https://www.miarbordayalliance.org/home.html

The Michigan Arbor Day Alliance (MADA) is a coalition of organizations and agencies dedicated to the promotion and celebration of Arbor Day throughout Michigan. Our dedication comes from our belief in the importance of trees and their role in community health and well-being.

MADA is a program of the Eaton Conservation District in Charlotte, MI.