Latest Update on Go Green Youth Challenge

As November draws to a close, so does the first year of the Go Green Youth Challenge Grant program.  Six grants were awarded, each project contributing a different aspect in urban forestry.  The planting goals varied from area beautification or improvement to community education and awareness.  Here’s a summary of the plantings completed this fall.  You can find pictures and other information on the Michigan Arbor Day Alliance’s website.

Montcalm 4-H Fair Association – planting completed in October 2011

Several volunteers from the North Central and Country Kids 4-H Clubs, Master Gardeners Program, as well as others helped plant 88 trees and shrubs of various sizes and species at the Montcalm County 4-H Fair Grounds.  The project was coordinated to coincide with National 4-H Week.  The fair grounds are a fairly open area, previously a corn/soybean field.

The trees and shrubs planted will provide shade to cool the barns and pavilions, visual screening, area beautification, and erosion and odor control.  Many of the teens involved were interested in tree identification due to a school project and so Club members discussed placing identification signs on the plants before the fair in 2012.

Village of Leonard – planting completed in November 2011

The Village of Leonard and the Leonard Elementary School participated in this planting.  Fourth and fifth grade students helped plant four trees, two Red Maples and two Flowering Dogwoods, near the Polly Ann Trailhead.  Unlike some of the other tree plantings, the main focus of this project was participant education and awareness.

The coordinators wanted to instill an environmental awareness and sense of ownership in the students and community members who participated.  All students were encouraged and given the opportunity to assist with the planting and to ask questions of the Village President Michael McDonald and school Principal Paul McDevitt.


Arenac Conservation District – planting completed in November 2011

Cub Scouts, parents and Conservation District staff planted 30 trees – 10 Red Maples, 10 Sugar Maples, and 10 White Spruce – on a 1.5 acre plot of land owned by the District.  The site is to be the future home of a Conservation Education Center with one of the focal points being native plants.  The nine volunteers made short work of the planting.  Scouts learned about the importance of trees as well as how to correctly plant and care for them.  According to Arenac Conservation District Administrator Dawn Hergott “the boys really got into the planting.”

City of Frankenmuth – planting completed in November 2011

The City of Frankenmuth planted 32 trees of various species in Heritage Park to replace trees that had to be removed due to Emerald Ash Borer damage.  Heritage Park is 80% ash trees and the cost to treat the trees proved to be too challenging.  The new trees planted will maintain the park-like atmosphere, enable the City to eliminate some of the existing flaws in park design, and provide some much-needed shade.

Village of Lake Odessa – planting to be completed by November 30, 2011

The Village of Lake Odessa is a Tree City USA participant.  This project was a continuation of the Village’s dedication to urban forestry.  The two plantings are taking place on Village owned property, one site being a community park.  The areas are largely made up of ash trees, many of which are going to be removed due to Emerald Ash Borer damage.  The 15 trees planted will increase the diversity of the species in the Village, preventing future mass losses of trees, and maintain desired aesthetics.

City of Southgate – planting to be completed by December 3, 2011

The City of Southgate will be coordinating with a local high school to plant 29 trees of various species along a trail near the Frand & Poet Drain.  This project is a part of the Downriver Linked Greenway Initiative.  The Initiative put in a paved three-quarter mile trail from Leroy Ave. to Pennsylvania Rd.  The area is a flood plain zone, therefore only flood tolerant species will be planted.  The project aims to educate participating students on proper planting techniques and identification of trees, beautification of the trail and to improve Southgate’s part of the Link Greenway Initiative.

Congratulations to all of the participants in this year’s Go Green Youth Challenge!  Job well done and hopefully we’ll see many of you again for next year’s Challenge.


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