Tree planting event planned Sunday at new fairgrounds

By Jessica Beery • Last Updated 1:57 pm on Thursday, October 06, 2011

<b>STANTON</b> — Many local 4-H members will be hauling their shovels and wheelbarrows to the new Montcalm County 4-H Fairgrounds on Peck Road Sunday to help spruce up the property.
The North Central and Country Kids 4-H clubs, based in northeast Montcalm County and Crystal respectively, are planting 88 trees and shrubs thanks to a $2,000 Go Green Youth Challenge grant from the Michigan Arbor Day Alliance.
Melissa Eldridge, a leader of the North Central 4-H Club, applied for the grant and competed with dozens of other groups from across the state.
“One of the reasons we were awarded (the grant) is because we’ll be using native varieties more conducive to Michigan and went with more than one species,” Eldridge said.
She said volunteers are excited to get some trees in the ground at the new fairgrounds.
“We spent our first year at the fair and it was hot, dusty and noisy,” Eldridge said. “All those things can be conquered by trees. They can keep the noise down, provide shade and, of course, provide beautification.”
The trees, which include varieties such as maple, pine, oak, redbud, lilac and spruce, will be planted around the livestock buildings and pavilion. The planting will be the first of many in the months ahead as part of the fairgrounds master plan. Both clubs will be responsible for caring for the trees over the first year.
Volunteers are still needed for Sunday’s planting, scheduled to begin at 10 a.m. Anyone interested in volunteering is asked to wear boots and gloves, bringing shovels, wheelbarrows, wire cutters and any other equipment used to lift and plant trees.
Eldridge also is looking for someone to donate a tree spade for the day, because some of the trees are quite large.
Montcalm County Extension 4-H Youth Educator Pat Dignum said the tree planting project shows the important role 4-H plays in the community.
“Planning and participating in community service projects give direct evidence of this by our youth members and clubs,” Dignum said.
Montcalm County 4-H is open to all youths between the ages of 5 and 19 (based on their age of Jan. 1 of the program year).
The program is designed to teach youths skills that will last a lifetime, make friends and learn teamwork, discover the value of diversity and help them develop their leadership skills and service mentality.
Membership participation fees are $10 a year or $30 for a family of three or more youths.
For club referrals or more information, contact the Montcalm County MSU Extension office at (989) 831-7500.

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