‘Protect Wild Places’ program starts in April | Entertainment

Ad Blocker Detected

Our website is made possible by displaying online advertisements to our visitors. Please consider supporting us by disabling your ad blocker.

GAYLORD – Huron Pines is set to officially launch “Protect Wild Places,” a program to engage communities across the state in conservation efforts through volunteer, education and training opportunities.

The program has been in the works since May 2021, when the nonprofit Huron Pines organization was provided with a $200,000 Planet Award Grant by the Consumers Energy Foundation.

April marks the start of the 2022 Protect Wild Places event series, with one live event in Gaylord and two virtual events having been scheduled.

The new series gives Huron Pines the opportunity to work directly with local residents, municipalities and conservation partners to drive the long-term health of their environment. Additionally, with the help of partners and volunteer participants, Huron Pines will restore 5,000 acres of wildlife habitat and recreational land, as well as 150 miles of waterways and Great Lakes shoreline over the course of the program.

According to their website, participants will learn about natural resources and be encouraged to put their new skills and knowledge into practice on their surrounding lands and waters. Topics which will be covered through events and volunteer opportunities include invasive species prevention, leave-no-trace principles, native habitat restoration, forest management and waterway monitoring.

Michigan’s environmental threats can’t be solved by Huron Pines, alone; however, the collective effort of many motivated people can and will make a lasting impact on the wild places we all love, says Community Program Director Abigail Ertel. “We can’t wait to work together to ensure a future rich with healthy water, protected places and vibrant communities.”

“It’s exciting to see Huron Pines grow the Planet Award we provided with these initiatives to give many the opportunity to actively participate in conserving, protecting and increasing the abundance of our state’s natural resources,” added Consumer Energy Foundation Secretary/Treasurer Carolyn Bloodworth. “I’d encourage anyone with an interest in wild places to take advantage of these events.”

To kick things off, Huron Pines is hosting a workshop tailored to Northern Michigan hunters and anglers this Saturday, April 2, in Gaylord. It is slated from 10 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. and will be hosted at Jay’s Sporting Goods, located at 1151 S. Otsego Ave. Participants are asked to RSVP at huronpines.org/events, which is also where all future Protect Wild Places events will be posted.

The in-person workshop will cover practical tips for protecting wildlife habitat, and will also introduce tools to locate some lesser known hunting and fishing spots on public and private land. Guests will discover places to hunt and fish across Northern Michigan, while they learn how to prevent the spread of invasive species and protect their favorite wild places.

Attendees will also have a chance to win a Jay’s gift card and other door prizes at this event, which is supported in part by the Michigan Invasive Species Grant program and the Consumers Energy Foundation.

The Protect Wild Places series will then continue virtually, with two different options for attending the “Connect to Nature Through iNaturalist” workshop. The first opportunity is on Tuesday, April 5, from 10-11 a.m. The second workshop is set for Tuesday, April 12, from 4:30 p.m. to 5:30 p.m.

Participants are invited to join Huron Pines to learn how to use the iNaturalist app while exploring the outdoors or visiting one of the organization’s preserves.

iNaturalist, one of the world’s most popular nature apps, allows users to monitor and share information about all varieties of plants and animals in their favorite wild places, or even their own backyards.

Huron Pines representatives will guide webinar attendees through the fundamentals of using the app, and will demonstrate how participants can contribute to community science by making nature observations and recording them. The data collected through the iNaturalist app can help Huron Pines better understand what plants and animals are living on their preserves, and can also help participants learn more about the natural world.

To sign up for either of these online workshops, go to huronpines.org/events. This training is part of the Protect Wild Places program, and is also supported by the Consumers Energy Foundation.

Anyone with questions regarding either the in-person or virtual events noted above, as well as the registration process, may send an e-mail to [email protected].