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Newly planted oak trees in Portland State Game Area will memorialize beloved EGLE colleague

Duane Roskoskey

A grove of red oak trees along a stretch of the Grand River near Portland is a tangible memorial to a beloved Michigan EGLE employee who passed away last year.

Members of EGLE's Materials Management Division (MMD) cleared trash and invasive plants and planted 25 oak trees earlier this year in memory of fellow team member Duane Roskoskey, who lost his battle to cancer in September 2020.

Using memorial donations to help benefit one of his favorite pastimes was an obvious choice. In coordination with the Michigan DNR, an area was designated within the Portland State Game Area that needed habitat restoration. The selected area was located along the Grand River and featured rubbish and invasive species such as autumn olive. Oak trees provide habitat for several species of wildlife in the area, such as turkey, that was one of Duane's favorite game species. State Game Areas are also some of the last wild areas left in Southern Michigan. All management projects completed in state game areas are to benefit those animals and the Michiganders that love them.

Duane worked for EGLE and its variations (DNR, DEQ, DNRE) over a 30-year span and was known fondly by its members for his sense of humor, wit, and love of the outdoors. Duane enjoyed almost anything related to the outdoors. He was an avid, hunter, and environmental protector. Everyone who had the fortune of knowing Duane will remember his iconic jokes and one-liners, straight to the point demeanor, and natural way of always lightening the mood.

Duane's wife, Diane, and two of their three children, Aubrey and Daniel, joined the celebration and planting.

A park bench will also be placed near Lake Superior in the Baraga State Park, Duane's favorite state park. The bench will have a plaque and a quote to commemorate Duane and will allow visitors a chance to relax and enjoy nature as he loved to do. Finally, a commemorative plaque will be installed in MMD's area in Constitution Hall in his memory.

Photo caption: Duane Roskoskey

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