2016 Spring Tree Sale

We are gearing up for our annual Spring Tree Sale and couldn’t be more excited to offer a wide variety of native species. What are native species and why are they important? “Native species” is a term used to describe a species, in this case a tree or shrub, which has historically been found in an area without having been brought here by humans.

What makes this so important is that it means that individual plants of these species have a complex combination of traits that have been selected for over millions of years so that they are particularly well-suited to this area. What this means for the grower is that, when planted in the appropriate spot, native plants require less watering and maintenance over the years than non-native species and are more likely to withstand the wide range of extreme weather conditions in this area. They are also more resistant to local pests. Native plants are better-suited for sustaining diverse native wildlife communities and are much less likely to become invasive.

To get ready for the tree sale, we will feature a new native tree and shrub each week. All of these species are available through the district’s Spring Tree Sale. Check back to learn more!

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District Forester

BCD has a new district forester. Welcome, Matt Modlin!

Matt received his Master of Forestry degree from Michigan Tech University. He gained natural resources experience working on a National Wildlife Refuge in southern Arkansas managing invasive species and endangered species. He has also worked setting up and administering timber sales with the Michigan DNR. Matt loves to fly fish, bird hunt, go hiking, camping, canoeing, and wildlife photography. He hopes he can be a valuable resource for you and your land and would love to take a walk through your woods with you. He can be reached at (269) 948-8037 x190 or matt.modlin@macd.org.

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BCD Seeks Candidates for Board of Directors

Two positions on the Barry Conservation District Board of Directors will be up for election at the March 30, 2016 Annual Meeting. Each position is a four-year term, with the candidate elected serving through Spring 2020.

District seats are non-partisan. Eligible candidates are residents of Barry County who are 18 years of age or older and can show proof of residency with one identification card. Additionally, a candidate must complete a nominating petition by obtaining signatures from five Barry County residents age 18 or older. Nominating petitions are now available at the Barry Conservation District Office, 1611 S. Hanover, Suite 105, Hastings (Secretary of State building).

All petitions must be completed and submitted to the District Office by Friday January 29, 2016, at 3:00 p.m.

The Barry Conservation District Board regularly meets on the third Friday of each month at 7:30 a.m. in the Village View Conference Room in Pennock Hospital in Hastings. The next scheduled meeting is Friday, January 15, 2016. All meetings are open to the public.

Annually, the board creates a plan of work, budget and annual report. The Barry Conservation District provides access to the Forest Assistance Program (FAP), Michigan Agricultural Environmental Assurance Program (MAEAP) and Michigan’s Hunting Access Program (HAP) for Barry County residents. The District currently administers Barry County’s Agricultural Promotion Board and programs and holds a seat on the Barry County Solid Waste Oversight Committee. The District also provides monitoring and management of the Thornapple River Watershed, along with regular district business. Major projects in 2015 included the Highbanks Creek Restoration Project, development of the Thornapple River Watershed Management Plan, and the Barry County Outdoor Recreation Youth Day.

What is a Conservation District?
A Conservation District is a local unit of government organized by the people within the District boundaries under provisions of the Soil Conservation District Law, Act 297 of Public Acts of 1937, as amended. As such, it is a locally controlled resource management agency, created by concerned landowners and administered by publicly elected boards of directors. The boundaries of the Barry Conservation District are those of Barry County.

What is the Purpose of the Barry Conservation District?
Over the years, the role of the Barry Conservation District has evolved somewhat. The district now works closely with the USDA’s Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) to bring cost share programs to county farmers implementing soil, water and habitat conservation practices. Additionally, the district has developed partnerships with the Michigan Department of Agriculture (MDA) and the Michigan Department of Natural Resources (MDNR) to provide resource conservation assistance to both farming and non-farm landowners.

By 1999, when the District’s Board of Directors completed a new resource assessment, they recognized that many other resources including forestland, grasslands, wetlands, and certain declining plant and animal species needed attention. By changing their name to the Barry Conservation District (BCD), the Board expressed the increasingly broad conservation challenges created by a developing community. As such, the work of the district now also reflects a broader focus on environmental and natural resource conservation issues.

How is it Operated?
The locally elected five-member board of directors makes all decisions regarding the District’s programs and activities. The directors hire qualified staff to conduct and carry out the programs and activities that they have approved. These programs provide technical help, information and awareness to assist people in the District to properly manage their natural resources. In Michigan, there are 78 Conservation Districts which are generally organized along county boundaries.

How is a Conservation District Funded?
District funding sources currently include county appropriations, federal and state grants, and an annual spring tree sale. Conservation District Directors are responsible for developing these funding sources for the operation of the Conservation District and for public programs focused on solving resource issues.

If you would like more information about the Barry Conservation District and the role of its Board of Directors, please visit the District Office at 1611 S. Hanover, Suite 105 (Secretary of State Building) in Hastings, email sarah.nelson@macd.org, or phone (269) 948-8037 x117

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Upcoming Habitat Workshops Planned Around Southern Michigan

Over the next couple months, Michigan United Conservation Clubs, Pheasants Forever, Quality Deer Management Association, local Conservation Districts, USDA Farm Services Agency, the DNR, and many other partners are coming together to promote pheasant cooperatives and general Conservation Reserve Program (CRP) sign-up around Southern Michigan. January 2016 marks the 5th year of the Michigan Pheasant Restoration Initiative (MPRI), and along with sharing the successes of the MPRI, general CRP is opening for enrollment. These programs work to assist financially to put quality wildlife habitat on the ground.

“The goal of these events is to provide landowners with valuable information and tools that equip them to create and enhance wildlife habitat on their properties,” said Wildlife Cooperative Coordinator with Michigan United Conservation Clubs, Anna Mitterling. “Landowners will walk away with tips for increasing their odds to receive financial assistance, and will have personal access to experts who work with various habitat programs.”

The MPRI is a conservation initiative to restore and enhance Michigan pheasant habitat, populations, and hunting opportunities on private and public lands via pheasant cooperatives. The MPRI works by acquiring state and federal resources to assist landowners in the cooperatives to improve wildlife habitat on their properties and by improving habitat on selected state game areas, recreation areas, or other public lands.

“We are giving greater focus to small game hunting opportunities in Michigan,” said Wildlife Division chief Russ Mason. “We believe by restoring our high-quality pheasant hunting tradition there will be the creation of new hunters and the return of hunters who have left the sport.”

If you are interested in seeing more pheasants in your area, this event is for you. Visit www.michigan.gov/pheasant and www.mucc.org/cooperatives to learn more.

There will be an event in Barry County on February 18 at 6:30 pm at Baltimore Township Hall, 3100 E Dowling Rd, Hastings, MI 49058

Additional events will be held in other counties. For more information on these events, contact Anna Mitterling at amitterling@mucc.org. Founded in 1937, Michigan United Conservation Clubs is the largest conservation organization in Michigan. Its mission is to unite citizens to conserve, protect and enhance Michigan’s natural resources and outdoor heritage.

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The Barry Conservation District Board of Directors has scheduled a special meeting for Thursday, December 10, 2015 at 6pm at the Barry Conservation District Office, located at 1611 S Hanover St, Suite 105, Hastings, MI to discuss hiring a Forestry Assistance Program forester.

The public is welcome to attend.

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2015-2016 Board Meeting Schedule

Barry Conservation District
Monthly Meeting Schedule

The Barry Conservation District meets at 7:30 am on the third Friday of the month, unless otherwise noted*

October 16th, 2015- Pennock Hospital
November 20, 2015- 7:30 am-Pennock Hospital
December 17, 2015- 6:00 pm- County Seat**
January 15, 2016- 7:30 am-Pennock Hospital
February 19, 2016- 7:30 am-Pennock Hospital
March 18, 2016- 7:30 am-Pennock Hospital
April 15, 2016- 7:30 am-Pennock Hospital
May 20, 2016- 7:30 am-Pennock Hospital
June 17, 2016- 7:30 am-Pennock Hospital
July 15, 2016- 7:30 am- Pennock Hospital
August 15, 2016- 7:30 am-Pennock Hospital
September 16, 2016- 7:30 am-Pennock Hospital

The meetings will be held under the provisions of Open Meetings Act (Public Act 267 of 1976) at Pennock Hospital in the Village View Conference Room, 1009 W. Green St, Hastings, MI

*The District’s Annual Meeting date and place has yet to be determined.
**December meeting will be held at 6:00 p.m. at the County Seat, 128 S Jefferson St, Hastings, MI

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Now Hiring District Forester

The Barry Conservation District (BCD) seeks a Forestry Assistance Program (FAP) Forester. Position requires a minimum of a B.S. or M.S. in Forestry. This is a granted position, renewed annually. The wage ($40k – $45k) will be commensurate with candidate’s experience and education and include a benefit contribution.

Send cover letter and resume by November 11, 2015 to:
Sarah Nelson, Executive Director
Barry Conservation District
1611 S. Hanover, Suite 105
Hastings, MI 49058
(269) 948-8037 x117

This position description is for the Barry Conservation District. The Forestry Assistance Program provides private forested landowners with technical assistance and information regarding forestry, wildlife habitat, and related natural resource concerns, so that they may make informed decisions about the use and management of their forestlands. (“Landowners” include non-industrial private forestland owners, schools, local units of government, rural and urban residents.)

The Barry Conservation District will be the employer of record for this position and the forester will report directly to the BCD Executive Director. Primary office space for the Forestry position is located at BCD office in Hastings, Michigan. The forester’s time is allocated between the Barry, Allegan and Ottawa Conservation Districts, but office duties may be carried out at this “primary” office. The forestry position is primarily a field position.

The basic requirements for this position are:

  • Bachelor or Master of Science degree in forestry from a college or university with an accredited forestry program
  • Good communication skills (writing, public speaking, working with individuals of all ages)
  • Computer fluency
  • Ability to read various types of maps (aerial, topography, soils) and navigate through properties, accordingly
  • Ability to assist CD and Natural Resources Conservation Service(NRCS) staff to achieve deliverables as well as short- and long-term goals for the Conservation Districts and NRCS
  • Arboriculture experience is highly recommended but not required.


  • Serves as initial point of contact for non-industrial private forest landowners, local governments, etc. for forest management, wildlife habitat, other natural resource issues or concerns.
  • Fulfill grant agreement requirements and deliverables.
  • Provides on-site land examination and resource evaluation.
  • Provides options regarding forest management.
  • Provides options regarding wildlife habitat management.
  • Prepares written follow-ups that may include appropriate handouts/materials, after visiting with landowners on-site or in the office, as appropriate.
  • Provides advice on tree planting/reforestation for timber production, windbreaks, wildlife habitat.
  • Provides diagnosis and advice on the control of insects, disease, and wildlife pests for individual trees and woodlands.
  • Provides information and makes referrals regarding programs, agencies, organizations, and private sector interests that furnish technical and/or financial assistance for natural resource management activities.
  • Maintains a good working relationship with other forestry assistance providers, both public and private.
  • Provides technical input regarding species selection for the Conservation Districts’ annual tree, shrub, plant sales. (Native species that are useful for reforestation, wildlife habitat, soil erosion control, etc.)
  • Provides advice on the control of sedimentation resulting from forest management activities.
  • Conducts demonstration and workshops.
  • Prepares correspondence, reports, news articles, newsletter.
  • Assists with preparation of the program documentation, including, but not limited to: annual grant application, Natural Resource Plan of Work, etc.
  • Prepares regular, written reports to Conservation District boards (monthly),
  • Pursue certification with Society of American Foresters (SAF)

A performance evaluation will be conducted annually. Training and continuing education opportunities will be provided.

The Barry Conservation District’s mission is to promote responsible natural resource and land-use management for present and future generations. We are an equal opportunity employer and program provider.

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Exotic Insect Found Infesting Hemlock Trees in Ottawa County (MDARD Press Release)

Confirmed in three locations in Park Township
For immediate Release: August 13, 2015
Media contact: Jennifer Holton, 517-284-5724
Program contact: 800-292-3939

LANSING – Today, Ottawa County residents have an alert arborist to thank for the discovery of hemlock woolly adelgid, which triggered response efforts by the Michigan Department of Agriculture and Rural Development to help protect the state’s hemlock trees and other natural resources.

The infestation was discovered in June by an alert arborist working in Park Township who reported his suspicion to MDARD. Samples were sent to a United States Department of Agriculture insect identifier who confirmed the insect as HWA.  MDARD immediately initiated a survey of hemlock trees within a mile of the positive site and during that survey two more positive locations were discovered. Impacted property owners have been notified and the known infested trees are being treated. MDARD is currently working with its state and federal partners on a comprehensive response plan.

HWA is a small, aphid-like insect that uses its long siphoning mouthparts to extract sap from hemlock trees.  Native to eastern Asia, HWA was discovered in Virginia in 1951 and has since spread over an area from Georgia to Maine, decimating hemlock stands across much of the eastern U.S. HWA will cause widespread tree mortality and move to other areas if left untreated.

“Michigan is home to more than 100 million hemlock trees which provide valuable habitat for various animals including birds, deer and fish. These trees are critical to the ecology and aesthetics of Michigan’s northern forests,” said Gina Alessandri, MDARD’s Pesticide and Plant Pest Management Division Director. “This discovery underscores the importance of citizen involvement in exotic pest detection.  Without the report from an alert individual, it may have gone unnoticed for months, or even years, making management of this devastating pest much more difficult.”

The area of concern is described as all portions of Park Township in Ottawa County north of Lake Macatawa. It’s bounded by New Holland Street to the north, Division Avenue/144th Avenue to the east, Lake Macatawa to the south and Lake Michigan to the west. People who live, work and play in the area of concern should be aware that HWA can be very difficult to detect at low population levels because the insect is so small.  The movement of hemlock materials (trees, branches and twigs) could spread HWA.  At this time, hemlock materials should not be removed from properties within the area of concern.  It’s recommended no hemlock trees be brought into the area of concern as they run the risk of becoming infested. Also, because birds move HWA, people in the area of concern should remove any bird feeders from hemlock trees.

The origin of these infestations is not known. Work is being conducted by MDARD in an effort to identify the source of the infestation. So far, no clear source has been found, but a likely source is hemlock nursery stock moved into Michigan from infested areas outside of the state either prior to MDARD’s Hemlock Woolly Adelgid Quarantine implemented in 2002, or in violation of the quarantine. There are no known established populations of HWA anywhere else in Michigan.

“Nursery operators, landscapers and homeowners should never accept hemlock from quarantined areas, and never accept hemlock without proper certification,” said Alessandri. “Examine your hemlock for the presence of white, cottony masses on the underside of the branches where the needles attach.  If you suspect HWA, contact MDARD immediately.”

Michigan law restricts the movement of hemlock into the state, and includes a complete ban of movement of hemlock into the state from infested areas.

See a map showing the “area of concern” here.

Read MDARD’s “Hemlock Woolly Adelgid Quarantine” here.

To report a possible HWA detection, contact MDARD at 800- 292-3939 or MDA-info@michigan.gov.

Additional information on HWA, including pictures, and other invasive and exotic species threatening Michigan can be found at www.michigan.gov/exoticpests.

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Wild Edibles Hike a Success

wild_edibles_2On July 18th, 30 residents of Barry County, led by District Forester Shawn Kelly, enjoyed a beautiful day hiking while learning about the various edible plants found in Michigan. Throughout the 1.5 mile hike at Pierce Cedar Creek participants stopped to explain how to safely identify and prepare several species of tasty plants. Participants enjoyed a taste in the field of a variety of fruit, roots, tubers and seeds and learned how ethnobotany has shaped the foods medicines and tinctures we use today.

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Antler collection to benefit Youth Day 2015

Preparations are well underway for the second annual Youth Day, a free event in early September to introduce children to a wide variety of outdoor activities. In order to make this event possible, friends of the event are looking into some pretty creative fundraising ideas. George Cullers, a local trapper, is leading an ongoing antler collection to help raise funds to support this free day of fun and activity.

Cullers got the idea from a group in Oregon that generated over $7,000 by collecting antlers. He is working with a buyer out of Ionia County and hopes that the fundraising will be fruitful, given that Barry County has such a wonderful wealth of avid hunters and outdoorsmen.

If you have antlers you would like to donate or a group that would like to collect donations around the county, you can contact George at (269) 945-9218. Donations can also be dropped off at Al & Pete’s Sport Shop, 111 S. Jefferson in Hastings, (269)-945-4417, M-Th: 10-5:30 Fri: 10-8 Sat: 9-5:30. For more information about Youth Day and how you can get involved, contact the Barry Conservation District at (269) 948-8037 x117.


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