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NEWS | Oct. 31, 2022

Camp Grayling improves habitat through National Environmental Education Foundation grant

By Staff Sgt. Tristan D. Viglianco Michigan National Guard Public Affairs

This fall, the Camp Grayling Environmental team improved the local habitat on base through a grant from the National Environmental Education Foundation and the Department of Defense Legacy Resource Management Program

The approximately $11,000 grant was used to plant 13 trees, roughly 10 to 12 feet tall, and create a 1500 square foot pollinator garden.

“This was the first year we applied for this grant and things went really well,” said Matt Kleitch, Camp Grayling natural resource specialist. “Our leadership team here is happy with the result, so if this opportunity is available next year, we will definitely pursue it in the future.”

The tree species, all native to Northern Michigan, were a mix of white pine, white spruce, oak, red maple. These trees were selected by the environmental team to help boost biodiversity and improve forest health on the installation.

“We have a high deer population on cantonment, so we don’t have as many young trees coming in, '' said Kleitch. “The trees we planted are big enough and above the browse line for whitetail. It is important for us to be proactive as our forest ages.”

The garden consists of native grasses and wildflowers, which will serve as food and habitat for pollinators. The area will also feature a walkway and signs to serve as an education tool for troops visiting the base.

“There has been a decline of native pollinators across the country, so us creating pollinator habitat can help mitigate that,” said Kleitch. “On the educational outreach component, we can help motivate folks to do similar things in their yards; it will contribute to the conservation of those species.”

The projects were made possible with the assistance of Camp Grayling’s Department of Public Works and volunteers.

The trees and the plants needed for the project were purchased from two Northern Michigan nurseries.

Camp Grayling is planning to use some additional money left over to plant additional trees in Spring 2023