Earth Day and Arbor Day 2017 – pulling more weeds, planting more trees

Earth Day 2017 – more invasive species work in Saugatuck Dunes State Park

Saugatuck Dunes, Earth Day 2017

Earth Day 2017: Invasive species work in the Saugatuck Dunes.

Picking up where he left off last year, Bill Strong recruited another crew to defend Saugatuck Dunes from an ongoing invasive species attack.

Garlic mustard is not a native dune plant, and the bugs and animals living there don’t like it. Left uneaten, it can take over an ecosystem, choke out the critters’ preferred vegetation, and change the character of the beautiful dunes along Lake Michigan’s shoreline. On the morning of Earth Day 2017 – Saturday, April 22 – Bill Strong, Sierra Club Southwest Michigan Group, and Michigan Department of Natural Resources went back to work fighting the invasion.

Joe and Bill, Earth Day 2017

For Earth Day 2017, Bill, shown here on the right with Sierra Club Southwest Michigan Group Executive Committee member Joe Ziolkowski, again rounded up a crew to attack the Saugatuck Dunes garlic mustard invasion.

garlic mustard attack crew, Earth Day 2017

Part of Bill’s 2017 garlic mustard attack crew.

Arbor Day, 2017 – planting more trees

Countining his annual county-to-county Arbor Day tree planting program, Bill Strong headed up a forest restoration project in Barry County.

Ben Savoie, Arbor Day 2017

Ben Savoie

For Arbor Day 2017 – Friday, April 28 – Bill Strong and Hastings High School’s Future Farmers of America planted four hundred chinkapin oaks at the 40-acre Hasting High School Nature Preserve. Bill coordinated the project with Sarah Nelson, Executive Director of Barry County Conservation District.

Ben Savoie, Barry County State Forester, talked to the students about the many roles trees fulfill in nature. He explained that, besides providing shelter and habitat for wildlife, trees also remove pollutants from the atmosphere. They’re the ecosystem’s foundation. Savoie then showed the students how to plant the trees.

Nelson and Savoie chose chinkapin oaks for the planting because of their natural resistance to the oak wilt fungus, which has attacked Michigan’s red, black, and pin oaks.

Scenes from the Arbor Day 2017 tree planting

On behalf of Keep Michigan Beautiful, Bill (right) presented Ben Savoie an award for the tree planting project

Bill is nominating the Hastings Future Farmers of America for a Keep Michigan Beautiful (KMB) award to acknowledge their contribution to the environmental improvement of Michigan. Bill learned that this was the first environmental project for the Hastings Hastings FFA, and he noticed how much the students enjoyed their hands-on-experience in nature.

This is the third year Bill and SWMG have planted trees to celebrate Arbor Day. It brings our total to about a thousand trees planted so far.

Media coverage in the Hastings Reminder. Click to enlarge.

More about Bill Strong

Bill was recently appointed to the Portage Environmental Board. He also serves as Vice President of Keep Michigan Beautiful, and he’s a Michigan representative to Keep America Beautiful.

Before he retired, Bill served as the advisor to Lawton’s Involvement for Future Environment (LIFE) Club at Lawton High School. In 2006, after he retired, Lawton High School’s nature trail was renamed the William Strong Arboretum and Nature Trail. Here’s a tour of the trail.