Impact Story: Michigan Civilian Conservation Corps Forest Health Crew

The Michigan Civilian Conservation Corps (MCCC) is a national service program operated through the Parks and Recreation Division of Michigan’s Department of Natural Resources. The program provides Michigan residents ages 18 – 27 the chance to gain hands-on experience in ecological restoration, forest health, horticulture or sign manufacturing. MCCC members have the opportunity to earn an AmeriCorps Education Award through The Corps Network’s AmeriCorps Education Award Program.

One MCCC program is the Forest Health Crew, which engages AmeriCorps members in planting and maintaining native trees, monitoring tree health, and addressing pests and diseases. Learn about some of their work below.

 


Crewmembers Zach Ostoin, Jacob de Boer, Noelani Belton and Autumn Fedorowicz inspecting EAB insect traps.

Forest Pest Training

Waterloo Recreation Area (Chelsea, MI)

At the beginning of summer 2021, MCCC Forest Health Crew members attended an outdoor, hands-on emerald ash borer (EAB) training at Waterloo Recreation Area. Crew members received specialized instruction in locating EAB-resistant trees and collecting hemlock seed to aid in the U.S. Forest Service’s hemlock protection efforts. As part of the training, the members surveyed for symptoms of invasive forest pests across this 11,000-acre park.

 

 


AmeriCorps member Dax Cilley watering a newly planted tree. AmeriCorps member Megan Leach learning arboricultural practices.

Forest Restoration Tree Planting

Belle Isle Park (Detroit, MI)

In late summer 2021, MCCC Forest Health members helped plant 55 native, locally-sourced trees across an area that experienced losses from emerald ash borer, oak wilt, and Dutch elm disease. Crew members learned about proper planting techniques and how to care for newly planted trees. Crew members also had the opportunity to learn arboriculture practices, such as tree climbing.

 

 


AmeriCorps member Travis Wilcox (left) exposes a fungal pressure pad on an infected oak tree. Evan Hunt (right) takes an oak wilt delimitation measurement at Waterloo Recreation Area in August 2021.

Oak Protection: Forest Health Survey for Invasive Oak Wilt

State-wide

MCCC Forest Health Crew members are part of the front-line protection and management of forest health in sensitive landscapes across Michigan State Parks. Crew members learn to identify symptoms of oak wilt, collect samples, and verify lab samples. Members help survey expansive landscapes.

 

 


Crew members, including Travis Wilcox and Megan Leach (left), are trained in pest identification and safe use of pesticides. Crew member Travis Wilcox (right) records datapoints about a small stand of hemlock at Silver Lake State Park.

Hemlock Woolly Adelgid Treatment

Michigan’s Golden Coast

MCCC Forest Health Crew members are part of an important statewide effort to eradicate invasive hemlock woolly adelgid, an insect that feeds on sap from trees. Surveys and treatment occurs in Michigan State Parks in priority locations along Lake Michigan. During the summer months, AmeriCorps members are hard at work treating infected trees and protecting non-infected trees. During winter months, the crew spends most of their time mapping hemlock stands and surveying and mapping infected trees.