HOUGHTON, Mich. (WLUC) – Students, staff, and volunteers gathered at the Tech Trails in Houghton this past weekend to plant over 800 trees.
“We’re just thrilled to be out here contributing to a trail system that we feel so passionately to maintain,” said Michigan Technological University (MTU) Research Professor and Keweenaw Invasive Species Management Coordinator, Sigrid Resh.
The goal of the tree planting is to regenerate the forest, since much of it has been decimated by emerald ash borers.
This invasive species, Resh said, causes holes in the forest canopy.
“You have, instead of the native forest regenerating itself, you have those gaps filling in with the invasive species that I’ve found on the trail system,” Resh added.
One of these invasive species that’s taking over, besides the emerald ash borer, is a plant called Japanese Barberry. The barberry plant is still planted in gardens in the area, causing it to spread and take over the undergrowth in many forests.
This weekend’s volunteers also spent time digging up barberry plants and replacing them with native tree species.
“This tree planting is providing just an awesome avenue for maintaining carbon storage and nutrient cycling and a diverse array of the native species that should be here instead of the invasive species that are trying to get their way into here,” she added.
Tristan Tarsa, a civil engineering student at MTU, said he wanted to help with the tree planting because he enjoys the Tech Trails. Plus, he said it’s a great way to interact with people outside of his major.
“I’m a civil [engineering student], we’ve got the forestry people, I think we had a bio-med [major], so it’s cool to see all of these different people come to do something and to give back to the community in this way,” Tarsa said.