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Important Meetings and Dates:
Porcupine Mountains Wilderness State Park Offers Winter Outdoors Programs
Porcupine Mountains Wilderness State Park, located near Ontonagon in the western Upper Peninsula, is offering several outdoor programs this winter aimed at getting people outdoors. Programs include snowshoeing the Union River Area, deer yard snowshoe hike, Lantern- Light cross country skiing and a winter free-fishing weekend event

All programs are free; however, a 2006 Motor Vehicle Permit is required to enter the park, except during the special Project GO-Get Outdoors weekend. Daily permits are $6, while annual permits * valid at all Michigan state parks * are $24.

Volunteers Needed for Stewardship Projects in Seven Southeast Michigan State Parks and Recreation Areas
Core stewardship volunteers are needed in seven southeast Michigan state parks and recreation areas. These volunteers will lead ongoing efforts to restore and maintain fragile habitats at the following locations: Algonac State Park, Bald Mountain, Brighton, Highland, Island Lake, Pinckney and Waterloo recreation areas. These parks contain remnant native ecosystems that have been identified by the State Park Stewardship Program as high priorities for ecological restoration.

Core stewardship volunteers will invigorate ongoing efforts, develop new volunteers, organize workdays throughout the year, recruit new volunteers and get local groups interested in ecosystem restoration and protection at each location.

Volunteer efforts will improve ecosystems by controlling the spread of invasive species, conducting plant and animal surveys and re-establishing native plant populations by collecting seed and planting. Volunteers will learn about Michigan's plants, animals and ecosystems, make new friends, and feel a great sense of accomplishment for restoring native ecosystems.

To learn more about becoming a core stewardship volunteer, please contact Laurel Malvitz at (248) 685-2187.

Student Poster Contest "Help Protect Your Waters and Stop Aquatic Hitchhikers!"
Grades 6-8 Aquatic Invasive Species Student Poster Contest
The Department of Environmental Quality's Office of the Great Lakes is providing Michigan students, grades 6 through 8, an opportunity to use critical thinking and to demonstrate their knowledge of Great Lakes aquatic invasive species. Students are invited to design a poster to convey a message to their friends, family and neighbors about how to keep AIS from spreading to new lakes and rivers such as removing plants from boats and other watercrafts. Poster submissions must include an explanation, not more than 150 words, describing the information presented in the poster.

The winning poster will be selected based on the accuracy of the message, legibility and ability to be reproduced. Last year, over 700 creative posters were submitted from students throughout Michigan.

The winning student will have their poster signed by Governor Jennifer M. Granholm as the official poster for Aquatic Invasive Species Awareness Week, June 3-11, 2006, to be reproduced and distributed statewide

and will have an opportunity to participate in an episode of Michigan United Conservation Clubs' Michigan Out-of-DoorsTM Television. Winning and honorable mention entries will be posted on the Department of Environmental Quality website. All submissions must be received no later than Friday, February 17, 2006. For more information about the poster contest visit:

or contact the Office of the Great Lakes at 517-335-4056.

Funding and Grants:
Grants Available for Southeastern Michigan Communities Affected by Emerald Ash Borer
Michigan communities impacted by the emerald ash borer (EAB) have until Feb. 22 to submit applications for tree planting or community forestry management activities. These grants are funded through the USDA Forest Service State and Private Forestry Program.

Grants up to $20,000 will be awarded to communities and nonprofit organizations on a competitive basis. A total of $500,000 will be available to eligible projects. Eligible projects for this funding cycle are tree planting, urban forestry management plans, hazard tree management plans and tree inventories. Projects must be completed by May 31, 2007.

All awarded grants require matching funds of at least 50 percent -- in either cash contributions or in-kind services, not including federal or state monies. Grant applications are accepted from local units of government and qualifying nonprofit organizations within the southeastern Michigan EAB quarantined counties designated by the Michigan Department of Agriculture. Visit www.michigan.gov/eab for the latest EAB quarantined counties.

For more information or to obtain a grant application, contact Kerry Gray, Emerald Ash Borer restoration coordinator, at (517) 241-1833, or visit the DNR Web site at www.michigan.gov/dnrucf.

Michigan Volunteer River, Stream and Creek Cleanup Grants Available for 2006
The Great Lakes Commission (GLC) and the Michigan Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ) are pleased to announce the release of the 2006 Grant Application Package (GAP) for Michigan’s Volunteer River, Stream and Creek Cleanup Program (VRSCCP). A total of $32,154 is available under the program for Fiscal Year (FY) 2006. This includes $25,000 of FY 2006 funds and $7,154 in carry-over funds from FY 2005. This funding is provided by the DEQ through fees collected from the sale of the State’s Water Quality Protection license plates (Public Act 74 of 2000). The application deadline for Volunteer River, Stream and Creek Cleanup grants is February 24, 2006.

The Michigan VRSCCP provides small grants to local units of government to help implement cleanup of trash and debris within or along the banks of rivers, streams, and creeks to improve the waters in Michigan. Local units of government may partner with nonprofit organizations or other volunteer groups to carry out the cleanups. There is a minimum local match requirement of 25 percent of the total project costs.

The Volunteer Stream Cleanup GAP and application instructions are available online at http://www.glc.org/streamclean/app06. The GAP contains detailed instructions, including eligibility requirements and other information for developing a proposal, evaluation criteria, and items that should be included with your application.

Applications will be reviewed and assessed by GLC and DEQ staff, with final decisions anticipated in March 2006. Grants are expected to be awarded in April. Contractual arrangements will be facilitated by the GLC, which is administering the VRSCCP on behalf of the DEQ.

Once again, the deadline for submitting grant applications under the FY 2006 Volunteer River, Stream and Creek Cleanup Program is February 24, 2006. If you have questions regarding the GAP or your application, please contact John Hummer at the Great Lakes Commission at 734-971-9135 or [email protected].
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