Ice Mountain Receives Wildlife Habitat Council Green Infrastructure Award for Twin Creek Nature Area

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EVART – Ice Mountain received the Wildlife Habitat Council’s Green Infrastructure Project Award for its work developing the Twin Creek Nature Area in Evart, according to a company press release.

The award was presented to Arlene Anderson-Vincent of Ice Mountain this week at the WHC’s annual national summit in Detroit.

“We’re extremely proud, not just of the site, but of all of the partners who have helped bring this to life,” Anderson Vincent told The Pioneer. “It’s a reward for all the work we’ve done here. It’s a great honor for everyone who worked hard for this project – the community, the school groups, everyone.


The Wildlife Habitat Council is a conservation group that’s been around for 30 years, she said. They offer resources and advice on how to conserve the land.

Anderson-Vincent was invited to speak at the conference this year, along with representatives from several other green infrastructure projects underway in urban, suburban and rural areas.

“For the site to be certified as a Wildlife Habitat Council site, it means you are following conservation guidelines and it is a community engagement project,” she said. “We each talked about our projects, and then they announced our was the project of the year.”

She said she believed the award was a result of the amount of time, energy, and community partners who brought the project together.

“I don’t think it’s common to have this type of educational tool in rural areas, but it fits with what Ice Mountain is doing to help restore areas to their native and natural resources that we all rely on. “, she added. .

‘A SOLUTION TO A CHALLENGE’

The Twin Creek Natural Area was created by the Nestlé Corporation, which owned the land north of the Osceola County Fairgrounds in Evart, in a project that included paving the road along the property and the creation of a stormwater retention system to manage runoff from the pavement. road.

Nestlé paid to pave the road and install catch basins to collect runoff from the road and direct it to a biological swale in the natural area. The swale imitates nature to manage and clean up stormwater. A liner protects the water table and the stream by preventing rainwater from getting there.

See more photos of the Twin Creek Natural Area at bigrapidsnews.com.


Additionally, there are a series of rain gardens and wetlands built to help clean up storm water.

Once construction began, the vision became to turn the site into an educational opportunity for all local stakeholders, Anderson-Vincent said.

“It started as a solution to a challenge the community was facing,” she said. “Through several groups working together, we created a vision to protect the water quality of the area by building the biological swale. Now we have all kinds of projects going on through our community partnerships.

These community partnerships include the Muskegon River Watershed Assembly, the Mecosta/Osceola Conservation District, the Evart School System and the Evart Garden Club, she said.

The MRWA assisted in the removal of a dam along the creek bed, restoring the creek’s natural channel, Anderson-Vincent said.

“It was an old historic dam,” she said. “There was an embankment and a bridge. Dams change the temperature of the water, they cause erosion, they prevent fish from going upstream. We have worked with MRWA, the Ministry of Natural Resources, gardeners and environmentalists. We removed the dam and reinstated the bank. We have seeded the bed with logs which give the fish a natural place to stop and take a break. It is therefore an excellent project to restore the area to its original and natural state. »

She added that they will eventually have a sign giving information about the dams and the natural habitats of the streams.

“A MORE MICHIGAN NATIVE FOREST”

Another major project is reforestation efforts. Anderson-Vincent said he worked with a forester to remove several non-native pines from the area and replace them with trees native to Michigan.

“These trees were planted here and are not native to Michigan,” she said. “They’re not the best for wildlife because they don’t make the best branches for nests. Recently, students came to plant about 800 different plants and we are trying to reforest the area to make it a more native Michigan forest. It is a long-term project in which the community is engaged.

Additionally, the Evart Garden Club works to establish pollinator gardens and support native plantings.

The newly formed Evart Elementary School Garden Club uses the site to learn about invasive plants and the school’s bird club visits regularly to look for bird species. .

“They have binoculars and bird identification books, and they’re learning to identify birds,” Anderson-Vincent said. “They go for a walk once a week and look for the birds in a natural setting.”

One of the bird club members, after seeing trash on the site, asked the school principal if she could get a team together to clean up the trash in honor of Earth Day, he said. -she adds.

“We are super excited and proud at Ice Mountain that the community has embraced this and used it as we hoped,” Anderson-Vincent said. “It’s a great educational resource here at Evart. It’s a great opportunity for sustainability and conservation, which has been the foundation of our business since day one. It’s an example of how we invest in the rural areas in which we operate.

The site is available through partnerships with Ice Mountain, Anderson-Vincent said. It can be used for educational purposes, for meetings and for conservation projects.

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