Guided snowshoe hike provides educational opportunity
The Benzie Conservation District is organizing a snowshoe hike through the woods to help educate local residents about forest management and wildlife habitat.
For $5, attendees are treated to a 90-minute guided tour of Michigan’s Legacy Art Park in Thompsonville, led by Benzie Conservation District Outreach Coordinator Aimé Merizon (pictured above at left) and Regional Forester Kama Ross (above, right). Michigan Legacy Art Park is a sculpture park that houses more than 40 works of art. The 30-acre preserve woodland is ‘dedicated to sharing the stories of the people, events and natural resources that continue to shape the legacy of Michigan.’
“We’ve partnered with Legacy Art Park for a couple years to entice people out into the woods,” said regional forester Kama Ross. “It’s a delightful day in the snow.”
Last year’s event attracted more than 20 people, including “Families with young kids and senior citizens,” said Ross. “We had one group of three older women who had a great time in the woods.” Merizon and Ross demonstrate tree identification and discuss how various wildlife rely on the woods for a home. Attendees can rent snowshoes from Crystal Mountain Park or bring their own equipment.
“It’s a great opportunity to reach people and talk about forestry and our natural resources,” said Ross.
Ross was hired in fall 2012 to assist the Wexford and Missaukee Conservation Districts through a Michigan Department of Agriculture and Rural Development grant, known as the Forestry Assistance Program. A year later she transferred to a new position covering three conservation districts: Benzie, Grand Traverse and Leelanau Counties. Through the shared position Ross is able to help private forest landowners assess their woodlands and explore eligible cost-share programs.