Attendees at the MUCC-sponsored Habitat Day listen to Dr. Craig Harper from the University of Tennessee discuss native vegetation and proper habitat management.


Michigan residents were able to gain a greater knowledge of habitat management and where to focus their efforts to help improve wildlife habitat in their area during an MUCC-sponsored Habitat Day.

The all-day event took place at the Maple River State Game Area on Saturday, August 5.

Craig Harper, professor of wildlife management and the extension wildlife specialist at the University of Tennessee, presented the event’s main seminar — a look at native vegetation management and the value of native forage.

Harper said he was humbled to be asked to speak at the event and that it was a no brainer for him to attend.

“Habitat Day was a terrific event that brought together landowners and natural resource professionals,” Harper said. “Ideas and experiences surrounding land management were shared by all, and the discussions and field demonstrations not only fostered learning but also led to partnerships that will enable landowners to reach their goals and objectives for wildlife management.”

The event was a coordinated partnership between Michigan United Conservation Clubs, Department of Natural Resources, Quality Deer Management Association, Pheasants Forever, National Wild Turkey Federation, Ducks Unlimited and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.

Event coordinator and MUCC Wildlife Cooperative Coordinator Anna Mitterling said it was perfect weather for the more than 100 attendees who showed up to learn about proper wildlife management techniques.

“I am proud and honored to have been part of such an event with the great set of partners who contributed in many ways to making this event the success it was,” MItterling said.

The day consisted of brief presentations by each of the partnering organizations, followed by Harper’s seminar. After lunch, the attendees were split into groups and taken on a tour of five sites and demonstrations — a water system, fruit tree pruning, food plots, grassland structures and habitat management equipment. Each station had an expert to help explain the site and demonstration.

David Heatherly of the Pheasants Forever, Monroe Chapter said the event helped him to gain knowledge he couldn’t elsewhere.

“I gained a tremendous amount of knowledge about habitat that I had overlooked and its benefit to wildlife,” Heatherly said. “In fact, I even bought one of Dr. Harper’s books — something I would rarely do.”