The Arboriculture Society of Michigan and the Michigan Chapter of the International Society of Arboriculture has awarded the 2018 ISA Gold Leaf Award for Landscape Beautification to the Village of Kalkaska and the Kalkaska Conservation District for the passionate dedication of Staff and Volunteers in planting 50 trees in the Village to replace mature trees lost due to storm damage in August 2015. The award recognizes the well-executed planting of 50 trees by volunteers on Saturday, October 21, 2017.
Speaking at the Annual ASM Awards Ceremony held in Lansing on Wednesday, February 14, 2018, Melinda Jones, Executive Director of ReLeaf Michigan, said, “The planting with Kalkaska stands out in how well it was organized and executed. The dedication of the Village of Kalkaska and Kalkaska DDA staff, Kalkaska Conservation District staff, and over 40 volunteers who came out to plant was extremely impressive. Fifty trees were planted in about 2.5 hours, 1.5 hours less than the planned 4 hours due to the cooperation and outstanding collaboration between the Village of Kalkaska, Kalkaska Downtown Development Authority, the Kalkaska Conservation District and ReLeaf Michigan.”
The trees were planted as part of the US Forest Service’s Coastal Green Grant Project in an effort to engage communities in better tree planting for improved water quality. Planting locations were based on results of the Urban Tree Canopy (UTC) Analysis done by the Davey Resource Group. Kalkaska had been hit hard by a major storm in August 2015 resulting in the loss of many mature neighborhood trees. The desire of the Village was to adhere to the results of the tree canopy assessment while replacing many of the large mature trees lost during the storm. The 50 trees were split between Village Parks and numerous locations throughout the Village. The spread out nature of the planting locations required close logistical coordination in order to keep the volunteers engaged, the trees planted correctly and the planting within the time period allotted. The Kalkaska Conservation District oversaw the on-the-ground details. The Village provided 2 watering trucks and wood chip piles strategically located so all areas had close access to materials needed. The Kalkaska DDA oversaw the distribution of materials to multiple locations and communications between all groups.
Key people in coordinating this project were Scott Yost, Cash Cook and Gayenell Gentelia with the Village of Kalkaska, Mark Randolph and Renee Penny with the Kalkaska Conservation District and Kate Tuttle of ReLeaf Michigan. Partners in the grant were the DNR-Urban and Community Forestry Program, Davey Resource Group and the Watershed Center Grand Traverse Bay.