Great Lakes Energy vegetation management staff have planted crabapple seedlings in a state game area in Kent County that will one day provide food for wildlife.

As part of an Energy For Wildlife project, 100 Roselow Sargent crabapples were planted last fall along a Great Lakes Energy power line right-of-way (ROW). The seedlings will grow into short, fruit-bearing shrubs that will not pose a threat to overhead power lines. They were placed along the ROW edges so they are away from the path of crews who may need to work on the lines.

“We also worked with the state Department of Natural Resources and placed posts that will help control vehicular trespassing in the game area,” explains Joe Van Dyke, the GLE project leader.

Seedlings were purchased from Cold Stream Farm LLC, a GLE member near Free Soil.

The vegetation management department does an Energy for Wildlife project every year. The first one, in 2008, involved a similar planting of wildlife food by Boyne City High School students along a ROW in Charlevoix County.

The Energy for Wildlife program is run by the National Wild Turkey Federation, which works with utilities to improve power line rights-of-way for wildlife habitat. It also encourages hands-on learning activities for youth in land and wildlife management practices so they develop a better understanding and appreciation of their natural resources.

Earlier projects that also involved student participation include tree plantings at schools in Boyne Falls, Pellston and Shelby. In 2011, the co-op’s vegetation management staff planted clover along a right-of-way, creating another food source for wildlife within the Barry State Game Area.

Assisting with this year’s planting project were workers with Trees Inc., Great Lakes Energy’s ROW tree-clearing contractor.