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Donald and Donna Miller of Licken Branch- Eaton County

Donald and Donna Miller, owners of the Licken Branch in Vermontville, had their property verified through the Michigan Agriculture Environmental Assurance Program (MAEAP) under the Forest, Wetlands and Habitat (FWH) System; the first FWH verification in Eaton County. The Millers have worked hard over the past several years to restore an abandoned gravel pit and turn it into a wildlife habitat. Once barren mine tailings, it is now covered with native species of grasses, bushes, and trees. Forest quality has improved through thinning, invasive species removal, and new tree plantings. Wildlife sightings are now common place for the Millers. In 2018, the Millers were awarded “Conservationist of the Year” by Eaton Conservation District.

The Millers continue to make improvements on their property, adding an additional 20 acres last few years. Recently, the Millers planted two additional food plots; the largest being five acres and consisting of corn and soybeans. In addition to creating a better habitat for the fish, the Millers also built wood duck houses for their pond and surrounding woods. The family plans to do more clear-cutting, as outlined by the forester, and some additional hinge cutting for brows and cover.