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Wanted: volunteers to help improve turkey habitat on Gaylord-area public land

Contact: Al Stewart, 517-241-3101 or Drew YoungeDyke, 517-346-6486
Agency: Natural Resources

An Eastern wild turkey hen enjoying fruit in the winter.

Oct. 7, 2013

Do you love turkey hunting? Have you always wanted to pay it forward?

On Saturday, Oct. 19, Michigan United Conservation Clubs (MUCC), the National Wild Turkey Federation (NWTF) and the Department of Natural Resources (DNR) will plant crabapple trees on public land in the Gaylord area. Anyone who would like to lend a hand is encouraged to join in the effort.

"Fall is a great time of year for a hunter to give back to the resource," said DNR upland game bird specialist Al Stewart. "We're all out hunting or planning our next hunting vacation, so here is a way you can throw in a few hours of sweat equity while you are at it. You could even do some small game hunting in the afternoon!"

This volunteer day is part of Michigan On-the-Ground, a public-private partnership between the DNR and MUCC, with additional financial support from the Consumers Energy Foundation. Michigan On-the-Ground is also part of Outdoor Life's Open Country initiative to improve public hunting access throughout the United States.

Volunteers will meet at the Gaylord DNR Office, located at 1732 West M-32, at 9 a.m. and caravan to several locations on public land to plant the crabapple trees. The trees were originally planted at the Rose Lake DNR Office, and volunteers have been part of the process the entire way.

"Volunteers helped repot crabapple seedlings this spring," said Stewart. "We have a good amount of seedlings ready to get in some northern Michigan soil."

In northern Michigan, areas that receive a good amount of snow need to have an available winter food source. Turkeys will have a better chance of survival, and be healthier in the spring, if they can find winter food. Better habitat conditions for turkeys will benefit more than just this species.

"Fruit-bearing trees, like crabapple, benefit more than just turkeys," said Gaylord wildlife biologist Mark Monroe. "A big part of habitat management is providing food sources for all seasons, and winter can be hard on Michigan's wildlife."

For more information about this event, call Drew YoungeDyke at 517-346-6486 or visit www.mucc.org. Lunches will be provided to volunteers, along with a digital subscription to the Michigan Out-of-Doors Magazine.

The Michigan Department of Natural Resources is committed to the conservation, protection, management, use and enjoyment of the state's natural and cultural resources for current and future generations. For more information, go to www.michigan.gov/dnr.

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