DNR News Digest – Week of Nov. 28, 2022

DNR News Digest – Week of Nov. 28, 2022

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News Digest – Week of Nov. 28, 2022

Fresh, undisturbed snow blankets a long, peaceful line of trees.

Learn to make snowshoes, take a lantern-lit hike and more during December.

Here are just a few of this week’s stories from the Michigan Department of Natural Resources:

See other news releases, Showcasing the DNR stories, photos and other resources at Michigan.gov/DNRPressRoom.

PHOTO FOLDER: Larger, higher-res versions of the images used below, and others, are available in this folder.

Photo ambassador snapshot: Winter on the wing

Two Canada geese fly over a white and blue lanscape.Want to see more pictures like this, taken by Michigan state parks photo ambassador Tim Largent at Muskegon State Park in Muskegon County? Visit Instagram.com/MiStateParks to explore photos and learn more about the photo ambassadors! For more on the photo ambassador program, call Stephanie Yancer at 989-274-6182.

Add Victorian charm to your holidays at Mann House open house

Vintage-style ornaments, lights and ribbon decorate a holiday tree. There’s something special about the holiday season that draws us to look back at bygone days. You can scratch that itch at Mann House, a DNR Michigan History Center museum in the historic village of Concord in Jackson County. The Victorian-era museum will host its holiday open house Dec. 2-4 and 9-11. Enjoy live holiday music played on the Mann House piano Saturday afternoons.

Mann House was the home of sisters Jessie and Mary Ida Mann from the late 19th to the mid-20th century. The rooms exhibit everything from furniture to fashion to mementos of the sisters’ world travels. A team of volunteers recently transformed the museum with holiday trees and handmade decorations in preparation for the open house.

“Mann House is usually open only during the summer,” said Michigan History Center historian Laurie Perkins. “The holiday open house allows us to tell the story of the Mann sisters from a different angle. Even people who would not describe themselves as history buffs find a little bit of joy and an interesting discovery when they tour the museum home during the holidays.”

Admission to the Mann House holiday open house is free. Plan your visit now and enjoy some historical holiday cheer.

Get involved in taking care of Michigan’s natural, cultural resources in December

A person holds three black bear cubs against their chest. The bears are adorable.Want to help us protect and promote Michigan’s natural and cultural resources? Here are a few ways you can get involved with the DNR in December.

State park stewardship

Several state parks in southern Michigan will host volunteer stewardship workdays in December. Volunteers are needed to help with removing invasive plants that threaten high-quality ecosystems in the parks.

Workdays are scheduled at Bald Mountain Recreation Area in Oakland County, Belle Isle Park in Wayne County, Fort Custer Recreation Area in Kalamazoo County, Island Lake Recreation Area in Livingston County, Muskegon State Park in Muskegon County, Saugatuck Dunes State Park in Allegan County, Warren Dunes State Park in Berrien County and Yankee Springs Recreation Area in Barry County.

More details about the workdays and how to register can be found on the DNR volunteer events calendar.

Winter bird counts

You can contribute to science while you’re birding! Winter bird counts help scientists better understand winter bird movements, assess bird population health and guide meaningful conservation action.

Join Audubon’s 123rd Christmas Bird Count, Dec. 14 through Jan. 5, 2023. Data submitted by volunteers helps scientists identify long-term population trends and movements for hundreds of bird species across North America.

You can also count birds at your feeder for efforts like Kalamazoo Nature Center’s Michigan Winter Feeder Count or the national Project FeederWatch.

Be on the lookout for bear dens

If you’re out enjoying the outdoors in the northern Lower Peninsula, let us know if you spot any bear dens. We’re looking for locations of denned bears to grow the surrogate sow program, which places orphaned bear cubs with mother bears.

Learn more about this program and what to do if you find a bear den.

Gifts that give back

Check some shopping off your list and support natural and cultural resources with our holiday gift guide. These unique items make perfect stocking stuffers, teacher gifts or gift basket essentials for those who love to camp, hunt, fish, boat, explore and more.

The guide includes products inspired by Michigan’s great outdoors, gifts for tree lovers, a wildlife-themed family game, and vintage, Michigan history-themed apparel, drinkware, prints and more. Sales support state parks, trails, waterways, community forestry programs, and Michigan history and wildlife education.

For more opportunities to volunteer, contribute and provide input, visit Michigan.gov/DNRVolunteers.

Fun, learning on the agenda for December events

A vintage-style hurricane lantern hangs from a hook at dusk in winter.Here are a few ways to get out and enjoy Michigan’s natural and cultural resources in December. For a full list of events, see Michigan.gov/DNRCalendar.

Lantern-lit hikes

For a unique night outdoors, head out to one of seven Enchanted Borealis Trail hikes taking place in December at Seven Lakes State Park in Holly or Ionia State Recreation Area and featuring lanterns, holiday lights and campfires.

At Ionia, there will be a community campfire where you can warm up and hang out. At Seven Lakes, you can rent your own campfire spot for $20 (wood and fire starting included) as a fundraiser for the park. Bring materials to roast marshmallows! The events are free, but registration is required for the Seven Lakes State Park event.

Family fun in Detroit

If you live in the Detroit area or are planning some holiday fun nearby, check out events at the DNR Outdoor Adventure this December. There’s Sensory Sunday, when visitors with sensory processing differences can enjoy sensory-friendly building hours, which coincides with the OAC’s monthly free admission day.

Education programs include a program for seniors about white pine logging and its impact on Michigan and for kids, one about antlered animals. There are opportunities to explore archery, and there’s plenty of family fun, with the continuing series of Fall Family Hikes at state parks and days featuring outdoor “reindeer games” and indoor snowball fights and fishing for prizes. Find more details about these and other programs on the Outdoor Adventure Center events calendar.

Learn to craft traditional snowshoes

As the DNR Outdoor Skills Academy prepares for a new year of classes that offer expert instruction, gear and hands-on learning, there’s still space available in the last class of 2022.

In the snowshoe-making class at Ludington State Park, Dec. 17-18, participants will learn to weave a pair of traditional wooden snowshoes that can be used for hiking throughout the winter, given as holiday gifts or displayed as home decor. Outdoor Skills Academy classes cover a range of outdoor activities, from hunting and fishing to birding and maple syrup-making.

Learn more about what’s on the 2023 schedule so far at Michigan.gov/OutdoorSkills.

Bob Ross-inspired Happy Little (Virtual) 5K registration open; expands to other states

A cartoon image of Bob Ross walks through a forest while holding a paintbrush, text says "Run for the Trees."Inspired by Bob Ross’ love of the outdoors, the “Happy Little Trees” program began with a partnership between the Michigan DNR, Bob Ross Inc. and hundreds of volunteers helping to plant “happy little trees” at locations across Michigan hard-hit by invasive pests and tree diseases. The program quickly expanded to include the Run for the Trees / Happy Little (Virtual) 5K. Registration for the 2023 Run for the Trees / Happy Little (Virtual) 5K is now open.

Participants can complete the outdoor 5K anywhere and anytime between April 22 and 28. For $34 per person, participants will receive a keepsake Happy Little T-shirt, a commemorative bib number and a finisher’s medal. All race proceeds support tree planting and forest protection efforts in state parks.

Over the past three years alone, more than 52,000 participants across all 50 states and several countries, including Australia, England and Mexico, have participated in the event, which has raised more than $1 million in net proceeds.

Now in its fourth year, the Happy Little 5K program has expanded to include three other states. Together, Michigan, Ohio, South Carolina and Wisconsin will “lock arms” to raise awareness and funding for stewardship efforts in state parks.

“Through a partnership with Bob Ross, Inc. the Happy Little 5K concept quickly became a way to honor the late Bob Ross and create a legacy event,” said Michelle O’Kelly, fund developer and Happy Little Trees race director for the DNR Parks and Recreation Division. “Today, we are proud to announce that we are expanding the impact across the United States.”

Proceeds from the 5K provide a stable funding source to be used toward invasive plant and forest pest management and early detection surveys in Michigan state parks and recreation areas. Many of these locations have been affected by tree pests and diseases like emerald ash borer and oak wilt.

“The official Bob Ross 5K is probably our most favorite initiative,” says Joan Kowalski, president of Bob Ross Company. “It’s the perfect blend of everything Bob held dear: nature, taking care of the environment, and happy trees, too, of course. He would have been so pleased to see how it’s getting so popular around the world.”

Learn more about the program at Michigan.gov/DNRHappyLittleTrees, or sign up for the race directly.

For more information, contact Michelle O’Kelly at 517-881-5884.

DNR parks employees honored for lifesaving actions

Many DNR employees stand posed for the camera. Four in the front hold their awards. People come to Michigan state parks to enjoy the great outdoors, but sometimes unexpected circumstances can threaten visitors’ safety. For their actions on three such occasions this year, several DNR Parks and Recreation employees were honored with the division’s Lifesaving Awards at the Nov. 10 .Michigan Natural Resources Commission meeting.

At about 3 a.m. on June 12, park rangers Gerard Molaison and Travis Hall were notified by Central Dispatch in Roscommon County that two individuals had capsized their kayaks, about 1,000 yards offshore, in South Higgins Lake State Park. The rangers were able to locate the individuals, pull them into the rangers’ boat, check them for hypothermia and safely return them to their campsites.

On June 28, Grand Haven State Park Supervisor Andrew LundBorg, Lead Ranger Arica Johnson and Park Ranger Sarah Loughman were working at the park when red flag conditions were in effect. LundBorg and his staff were notified of multiple swimmers in distress. Most of the swimmers made it back to shore, but they saw one young man had been swept beyond the swim buoys. LundBorg donned a life vest and grabbed a rope, then worked with Loughman and Johnson to pull the young man to safety, undoubtedly saving his life.

On June 16, Park Ranger Dominic Goulette and state workers Claire Hines and Haley Spalding set out to Devoe Lake Beach in Rifle River Recreation Area to adjust swim buoys. They were alerted to an adult woman struggling to stay afloat outside the buoyed swim area. Hines swam to the woman and put her in a rescue hold to swim her back to shore. Goulette and Spalding assisted them in a lifeboat. The woman said she wouldn’t have made it without their help.

For more on these awards or general information on Michigan state parks, contact Parks and Recreation Division Chief Ron Olson at 517-243-1477.


If you’re looking for a fun and educational way to entertain kids over the holidays, check out our Nature at Home programs. Learn about the world around us, and most importantly, have fun!

Flags Lowered to Honor Victims of the Oxford Shooting

Flags Lowered to Honor Victims of the Oxford Shooting

Office of the Governor header


November 29, 2022

Contact: [email protected]


Gov. Whitmer Orders Flags Lowered to Honor Victims of the Oxford Shooting

The State of Michigan will join a moment of silence on Wednesday at 12:51PM to honor the students


LANSING, Mich. – Governor Gretchen Whitmer orders U.S. and Michigan flags to be lowered to half-staff within the State Capitol Complex and upon all public buildings and grounds across the State of Michigan tomorrow, Wednesday, November 30, 2022, to honor the victims of the shooting at Oxford High School in Oakland County one year ago.


“It’s been one year since we lost four beautiful young souls in Oxford. One year since a community was changed forever,” said Governor Whitmer. “One year later, we honor the memories of Hana, Tate, Madisyn, and Justin and reaffirm our commitment to holding the Oxford community close. Words will never be enough to meet the scale of the loss that this town has been through. But all of Michigan sends its love, its prayers, and its commitment to working together to keep all our families and communities safe.”


“My family, and the entire state of Michigan, was shocked and heartbroken by the tragedy in Oxford last November,” said Lt. Governor Garlin Gilchrist II. “As we mark one year since that terrible day, let us reaffirm our commitment to healing and supporting the Oxford Community. On behalf of the state of Michigan, Governor Whitmer and I send our love to the families of Hana, Tate, Madisyn, and Justin. We must honor their memory by doing everything that we can to keep all Michiganders safe from harm and supported in every community.”


The State of Michigan remembers the victims and stands in solidarity with the community of Oxford by lowering flags to half-staff. Michigan residents, businesses, schools, local governments and other organizations are also encouraged to display the flag at half-staff.


To lower flags to half-staff, flags should be hoisted first to the peak for an instant and then lowered to the half-staff position. The process is revered before the flag is lowered for the day.


Flags should be returned to full staff on Thursday, December 1, 2022.

Scouts’ Food Drive a Success in Oakland County

Scouts’ Food Drive a Success in Oakland County

Brandon Kathman
Sr. District Executive
[email protected]

Scouts’ Food Drive a Success in Oakland County

Hundreds of local Scouts helped make the 2022 Scouting for Food drive a success, with over
46,000 pounds of food collected for charities in Oakland County alone.
The drive, which is held between November and December across the state, is the Scouts’ largest
service project of the year. According to project coordinator Bob DeWar, over 100 local packs and
troops have taken part so far in 2022.
“While our drive has concluded in Oakland County, we still have food to collect elsewhere in
Michigan,” DeWar said. “With that said, local Scouts have given us a great start.”
Between Nov. 5 and Nov. 13, Scouts distributed special grocery bags to homes across Oakland
County, requesting that they be filled with nonperishable essentials and placed on doorsteps for
pickup. A week later, those same youth returned to collect on behalf of numerous nonprofits.
Much of the food went to drop sites facilitated by Gleaners Community Food Bank.
“Scouts who participate are walking away with a lesson, not just about the need for good deeds,
but also the rewarding feeling that comes with helping your neighbors,” Kevin Lauro, who
supervised a Gleaners drop site in Novi, said.
The Scouts hope to build on the success of the food drive in years to come. DeWar expressed a
hope that 2023 may see new collection sites and partnerships introduced.
“We’re so proud of all that our young people have accomplished so far this year,” DeWar said.
“As a parent, I was able to watch my own son and daughter participate, and that means the world
to me. As we watch each truckload of food arrive at the collection sites, we can also watch our
children learning valuable life lessons.”
The 2022 Scouting for Food initiative will officially conclude with a final collection in the
Thumb, which will occur in December. For more information about local Scouting, including
upcoming events and how to join a unit, visit michiganscouting.org.

Around the OAA: Girls Basketball Preview-2023

Around the OAA: Girls Basketball Preview-2023

Around the OAA.

This is a blog that is devoted to the OAA. We cover 23 schools from Oakland County to Wayne County. From Oxford to Harper Woods. This blog will give insight and projections around the OAA.

Sunday, November 27, 2022

Girls Basketball Preview-2023.

Written Sunday November 27th at 9:45 AM

Here is the preview heading into the 2022-2023 season.


  1. West Bloomfield
  2. Lake Orion
  3. Oxford
  4. Rochester
  5. Clarkston
  6. Stoney Creek
  7. Berkley
  8. Groves
  9. Seaholm
  10. Bloomfield Hills



EARLY THOUGHTS: The Red should be very interesting this season. Two teams moved from the White this offseason and could be ready to make a ton of noise. West Bloomfield won the Division One State Championship last season and the majority of their team is back. The bench is the question mark for the Lakers coming into the season. Lake Orion is loaded with proven experience. They have the majority of their team coming back after making the regional semifinals last season. The Dragons might be the deepest team when it comes to interchangeable talent. Rochester could have a say when it comes to depth this season. The Falcons have the majority of their team coming back and features two twin towers in the interior. Groves has a ton of proven experience coming back although they are not as deep as Rochester or Lake Orion. Troy lost almost everyone from a team that went to the State Quarterfinals last season. Clarkston lost their two top scorers from last season however it could make them more dangerous because they would have multiple scorers. Stoney Creek has always been a proven program and they are expected to be once again. Southfield Arts and Tech is the great unknown. The Warriors need to make that next step but for that to happen they need to beat really good teams not just the bad teams. Overall there is a reason why the Red is one of the best divisions in the State.




Last Season: 25-1, 12-0 Red. Won Division One State Championship.

Top Player: Summer Davis-G

Key Player: Kendall Hendrix-G

Wildcard: Sydney Hendrix-G

Biggest Question: Can the Lakers depth come to par with their starting five???


INSIGHT: The Lakers are coming off a Division One State championship last season. They are one of the favorites to repeat this season. West Bloomfield has Summer Davis, Indya Davis, Kendall Hendrix, and Sydney Hendrix coming back. Destiny Washington could be that possible fifth starter for Coach Daryl McAllister. The bench is a major concern coming into the season. They have Ava Lord, Gabby Williams, Jaylee Head, Jada Vaughn, and Gabrielle Hale coming back. McAllister needs some talented players to step up from the bench and not rely on the starting five. If they have to rely on their starting five which they can but it’s not preferred then it could spell trouble. Program strength is a concern for the Lakers. West Bloomfield has the playmakers for a deep postseason run but program strength and bench play are major concerns as mentioned coming into the season.




Last Season: 18-6, 10-4 White. Lost 61-47 to Clarkston in Regional Semifinals.

Top Player: Maddie Ebbert-G

Key Player: Kylie Heck-G

Wildcard: Izzy Wotlinski-G/F

Biggest Question: Can the Dragons repeat the postseason magic from last season???


INSIGHT: The Dragons overcame so much adversity before and during the season. They won 18 games and earned their first district championship since 2009. This is a program that not a lot of people around the State are talking about and really need to start to pay attention too. Lake Orion might be the deepest team in Oakland County with their proven depth. The Dragons have Maddie Ebbert, Kylie Heck, Taylor Dinda, Audrey Wischmeyer, Chloe Wiegers, Grace Sullivan, Ryan Pawalczyk, and Jodie McCaffery coming back. Watch for Izzy Wotilinski and Charlotte Peplowski for Coach Bob Brydges. Wotlinski could be on the verge of a break out year. Lake Orion has a very deep bench as mentioned. Program strength looks solid for Brydges. The Dragons should be a force this season.




Last Season: 18-4, 13-1 White. Lost 40-34 to Lake Orion in District Finals.

Top Player: Alice Max-F

Key Player: Natalie Rayce-G

Wildcard: Stevie Norgrove-G

Biggest Question: Can the Falcons overcome their District Final Woes???


INSIGHT: The Falcons are coming off their fourth straight district final loss last season. This could be a great opportunity for them to avenge that come this postseason despite being in a very tough district. Rochester has most of their starting five with Alice Max and Kylie Robinson leading the charge coming back in the interior. The biggest question for Coach Bill Thurston will be point guard. It is expected that Alana Webb or Kaitlyn Guolla could share time at point guard. The Falcons have proven inside-out shooters in Natalie Rayce, Stevie Norgrove, Abby Pleasant, Ava Williams, and Ava Kucera coming back. They added an Iowa soccer commit in Samantha Glover. Glover fills a big need at small forward for Thurston given her height and quickness. “Very competitive group of girls. They play together and share the ball. We have a senior driven team that compliments our two sophomores” said Thurston. Program strength looks solid. Thurston has the interior along with proven shooters but the stabilizer (point guard) will be key for the Falcons success.”The girls have their goals set high and will compete to be one of the top teams in Oakland County this year. Matching last season’s defensive performance will be key as they move up to the Red” Thurston concluded. Rochester is more than capable but if they can turn their district final bad habits around then they could be in line for a deep postseason run.




Last Season: 17-7, 10-2 Red. Lost 48-46 to Hartland in Regional Finals.

Top Player: Kierra Tolmie-F

Key Player: Ava Hernandez-G

Wildcard: Claire Walker-F

Biggest Question: How will the Wolves replace their top two scorers from last season???


INSIGHT: The Wolves are going to be a different team this season. They had a very good season where they won 17 games. Clarkston had a heartbreaking loss to Hartland in the regional final last season. They lost their two top players from last season (Maddie Skroupski and Izzy Hadley) but they might be more dangerous now that they don’t have that dominant player. The Wolves have a ton of proven players in Kierra Tolmie, Ava Hernandez, Emily Valencia, Mia Zorski, Claire Walker, Anna Thomas, Ella Morgner, Marley Maxur, Wiley Gibbs, and Olivia Gray coming back for Coach Aaron Goodnough. Clarkston has toughen up their non-conference. Program strength looks to be solid. The Wolves should be in the mix this season.




Last Season: 14-7, 8-4 Red. Lost 32-30 to Lake Orion in District Semifinals.

Top Player: Sarah LaPrarie-G

Key Player: Erin Flynn-G

Wildcard: Merrick Schwalbach-F

Biggest Question: Can the Cougars sustain and rise in the Red???


INSIGHT: The Cougars are a very interesting team winning 14 games but had a very disappointing postseason last season. Stoney Creek should be in the mix in the Red and also in the postseason this season. Program strength is solid for Coach Kellen James. The Cougars have Sarah LaPrarie, Mia Carson, Erin Flynn, Lily Solek, Kaeli Butcher, and Merrick Schwalbach coming back. The interior is a bit of a concern for James. It’s possible that Schwalbach, Butcher, and Solek could fill those roles in the paint. Stoney Creek has proven experience especially at the guards. They are a sleeper in the Red.




Last Season: 10-11, 4-8 Red. Lost 66-22 to West Bloomfield in District Semifinals.

Top Player: Kaitlyn Sanders-F

Key Player: Cira Racco-G

Wildcard: Lily Gallagher-F

Biggest Question: Can the Falcons take the next step???


INSIGHT: The Falcons have been through a lot as a program in the last two years. They went through a very difficult transition when Coach Allison Hidey took over the program. Groves has a veteran proven team coming back after taking a ton of lumps last season. They lost one senior to graduation. Hidey has proven players in Kaitlyn Sanders, Cira Racco, Dana Wesley, Lily Gallagher, Neveah McCay, Payge Charnas, Kirsten Jasinski, Jean Smith, and Cameron Little coming back. The Falcons relied a ton on Sanders and Racco and they are expected to do so again but watch for Gallagher, she is a darkhorse on this team. Program strength is a major concern. Groves has a great shot to get over 500 this season but the postseason looks daunting. They should be very interesting to watch this season.




Last Season: 13-12, 5-7 Red. Lost 67-32 to West Bloomfield in State Quarterfinals.

Top Player: Lizzie Butzyzk-G

Key Player: Avery Allen-G

Wildcard: Reigan Zeiter-G

Biggest Question: How will the Colts replace last season’s senior class???


INSIGHT: It’s going to be a very tough transition for the Colts this season. Troy struggled early but when they got healthy they made had a special run to get to the State Quarterfinals. They lost a lot of proven experience from last season. It could be a very tough adjustment period for the Colts. Troy has Lizzie Butzyzk, Avery Allen, Zoe Silver, Shiavani Angadi, Victoria Siegan, Charlotte Guillion, and Reagan Zeiter coming back for Coach Julius Porter. Porter could have two impactful freshmen that could make varsity to watch in Carly Higginbottom and Maci Zeiter coming into the program. Butzyzk and Allen look to be their two top players this season. Program strength is a major concern. The non conference is very interesting and they are in a brutal district to close the season. Expect some growing pains this season.




Last Season: 5-16, 1-11 Red. Lost 56-18 to Farmington Hills Mercy in District First Round.

Top Player: Christian Banks-G

Key Player: Jaylin Austin-F

Wildcard: Kamaria Paige-G

Biggest Question: Can the Warriors make the next step???


INSIGHT: The Warriors are a very interesting team where it depends which team shows up every night. They have played very well against struggling teams but when they play very good or proven teams they tend to struggle. The inconsistent play is something that Coach Shaquita Coltrane has to address in a big way. Southfield Arts and Tech has some proven experience in Jaylin Austin, Christian Banks, Kamaria Paige, and Jordan Ushery coming back. Program strength is a major concern. The Red is different which could give the Warriors some issues. This is a program that needs to improve each day if they want to make some noise this season.





EARLY THOUGHTS: The White should be very interesting this season. Oxford should be the favorite and for good reason. The Wildcats return their entire starting lineup but the bench will be very critical if they want to make that next step especially in the postseason where they are in a very difficult district. North Farmington has their top two top scorers coming back but they have some questions elsewhere coming into the season. Berkley shocked the State with their district title run last season but they lost their best player to graduation. It will be very interesting to see what they do if they want a repeat of their district title run. Royal Oak comes from the Red after having a really tough year last season. The Ravens could be a dark horse with proven experience coming back. Harper Woods and Seaholm come from the Blue. The Maples should be very good with their proven experience along with playing very tough non-conference schedule. The Pioneers have several questions to address despite being experienced. Troy Athens could be a wildcard. The Red Hawks are well coached, have a solid nucleus, and could surprise some people. Adams will be very young this season but there is optimism surrounding this freshman class. Overall there is a lot of balance in this division but the Wildcats stand out to be the favorite right now.




Last Season: 12-6, 9-4 White. Lost 59-27 to Grand Blanc in District Semifinals.

Top Player: Myranda Wynemkio-G

Key Player: Allison Hufstedler-G

Wildcard: Peyton Ritcher-F

Biggest Question: How will the Wildcats handle their bench situation???


INSIGHT: The Wildcats have overcame a lot of adversity since last season. Oxford comes into the season with a ton of proven confidence after having a really strong summer. They should be motivated to do well especially in the postseason where it is possible that they could see Grand Blanc for a third straight year. The Wildcats should have one of the best starting lineups in Oakland County with their proven experience in Myranda Wynemkio, Peyton Ritcher, Nevadeh Wood, Sophia Rabb, and Allison Hufstedler coming back. Ritcher comes back after suffering a torn ACL injury last season. The bench is a question mark despite having Brady Elling, Avery Feeney, and Lexi Yankee coming back for Coach Rachel Bryer. If the Wildcats can develop their bench then Oxford with that starting five could have a very strong season and very possibly a deep postseason run.




Last Season: 12-9, 8-5 White. Lost 56-31 to Birmingham Marian in District Semifinals.

Top Player: Sela Lefler-G

Key Player: Penelope Creary-G

Wildcard: Asiyah Jihad-F

Biggest Question: Can the Raiders with all the experience win a district and the White???


INSIGHT: The Raiders should be a very interesting team after experiencing some struggles early but really improved late in the year last season. North Farmington is going to be veteran heavy this season. They have their two top players in Sela Lefler and Penelope Creary coming back. Lefler was easily the Raiders top player last season and when she was out injured they really struggled. Coach Jeff Simpson will need others to step up besides Lefler and Creary if they want make some noise in the White. The Raiders have Asiyah Jihad, Eliza Muller, Amarriah Merriweather, Hannah Hart, Sam Hoffer, and Halee Rogers coming back. Simpson is veteran heavy as mentioned. They have a favorable non-conference and district ahead of them. If they can get a consistent third and fourth scorer then North Farmington could be in line for a very good season.




Last Season: 13-9, 8-6 White. Lost 61-32 to Grosse Pointe North in Regional Semifinals.

Top Player: Maleve Nolan-G

Key Player: Avery Wintergarden-G

Wildcard: Sammi Withrow-G/F

Biggest Question: How will the Bears replace Ashley Loon???


INSIGHT: It was a tale of two seasons for the Bears. They were very mediocre throughout the season then the postseason came where Berkley got hot at the right time. They pulled off a shocking upset which sent shock waves through the State when they beat Detroit Renaissance last season. Berkley will be a different team this season. They don’t have Ashley Loon whom has graduated but they have several proven talented players in Jillian Gomes, Maleve Nolan, Avery Wintergarden, Ava Beard, Sammi Withrow, Addison Hambright, and Maddi Bonsall coming back for Coach Cody Feltner. Program strength is a concern however they have a future player to watch in Nadia Watts. Watts could be in a very similar spot as Wintergarden was last season splitting time between junior varsity and varsity. If Feltner can have three programs then it would be a huge deal. It will be a test for the Bears to see how they handle life is without Loon. It will be tough early for Berkley as their volleyball program were in the State Quarterfinals so it may take them a bit to get adjusted to basketball life. The Bears if things go right are a sleeper in the White.




Last Season: 15-5, 13-0 Blue. Lost 45-41 to Groves in District First Round.

Top Player: Shay Manchester-G

Key Player: Anne Boogerian-F

Wildcard: Taylor Hartwig-G

Biggest Question: How will the Maples do in the White???


INSIGHT: The Maples made a ton of strides as a program where they have improved. Seaholm won 15 games which was the most since 2017 but they had an early postseason exit falling to Groves in the first round. There have been some changes for Coach Chris Manchester and his program. They will be in the White after winning the Blue last season. The Maples have a ton of proven experience which always helps going into a tougher division but they have several young players whom haven’t seen varsity experience as well. Seaholm has proven players in Shay Manchester, Anne Boogerian, Taylor Hartwig, Lola Weber, Olivia Davis, Mary Gumbis, Clara Guffey, and Kate Anderson coming back. They have a very tough non-conference schedule which should help when they get into league and postseason play. Program strength is a concern for Manchester. The Maples are more than capable to make the next step even if they have a really tough postseason district awaiting them, it’s the next step as a program.




Last Season: 3-18, 2-10 Red. Lost 34-20 to Detroit Renaissance in District First Round.

Top Player: Elly Finch-F

Key Player: Lucy Freytag-G

Wildcard: Anna Waterstredt-F

Biggest Question: Can the Ravens bounce back after a rough year last season???


INSIGHT: It was a very unusual year for the Ravens where they won three games last season. This is something that Coach Brian Sopota wants to correct this season. Royal Oak changed divisions from the Red to the White for the first time since 2015. They followed their traditional defensive principals late in the year. It didn’t give them immediate success record wise but it kept them in games. The Ravens have several proven players in Elly Finch, Lucy Freytag, Anna Waterstredt, Izzy Fairless, Aliana Morello, Emilie Austin, Emmy Walden, and Maddie Lawrence coming back. Sopota could have a sleeper in newcomer Lydia Dickens. Dickens has made a ton of noise this summer and could be varsity ready soon. Program strength looks to be coming back for Sopota. The Ravens are a sleeper in the White, they could be back.




Last Season: 19-3, 12-2 Blue. Lost 53-47 to St. Clair Shores South Lake in District Finals.

Top Player: Mya Duncan-G

Key Player: Kendall Kelsey-G

Wildcard: Cleiara Peterson-G

Biggest Question: How will the Pioneers do in the White???


INSIGHT: It’s now or never for the Pioneers for several reasons. Harper Woods went up in both the division (White) and to Division One (were in Division Two) where they are in a very tough district with three proven powerhouse programs. The Pioneers have a ton of proven experience from a team that won 19 games last season. The schedule will be much tougher than it was for Harper Woods last season. They have Mya Duncan, Kendall Kelsey, Cleiara Peterson, and Lauren Peterson coming back for Coach Paul Allen. Program strength is a big concern for Allen. It’s a very tough division and will feature more travel for the Pioneers but the White also has to come to Harper Woods which could be tough on them.




Last Season: 6-16, 2-12 White. Lost 63-44 to Troy in District Semifinals.

Top Player: Ellie Musko-G

Key Player: Skyler Emerson-G

Wildcard: Alex Link-G/F

Biggest Question: Is Link ready for a much bigger role this season???


INSIGHT: The Red Hawks really struggled winning six games which was very unusual for a Coach Stacie Klumpp program last season. Klumpp has done a very good job with program strength and she will need to rely on that this season. Troy Athens should be much better especially with Ellie Musko and Skyler Emerson coming back. Musko and Emerson have been very important players for the program in the last two years and will be counted on to lead this team this season. They also have proven experience besides Musko and Emerson in Rebekah Delia, Lily Batzoid, Abby Malone, Fiona Wingblad, and Kayci Mersier coming back for Klumpp. Alex Link is the wildcard. She played some on varsity last season but will be needed to do more this season. If Link can step up and be that third scorer then the Red Hawks could do some damage this season. If there is a team that is need of a bounce back season its Troy Athens.




Last Season: 7-12, 5-9 White. Lost 50-26 to Lake Orion in District First Round.

Top Player: Samantha Blaine-F

Key Player: AuJayna Howard-G

Wildcard: Olivia Marcal-G

Biggest Question: Is Blaine and Howard ready for big time roles this season???


INSIGHT: It was a very interesting transition for the Highlanders which brings more questions than answers. It has been a very long summer where they struggled in the summer leagues. There are a ton of concerns coming into the season for Coach Joe Malburg. Adams lost their two top players in Abbey Drahnak and Maddie Kessman to graduation. Program strength is a big concern. I chatted with Athletic Director Brian Hossler about the girls program few weeks ago. He said that there was some optimism along with very high potential with this freshman class. The Highlanders also have Samantha Blaine, AuJayna Howard, Olivia Marcal, and Taylor Green coming back for Malburg. The non-conference looks very manageable but the transition will be the challenge especially for this freshman class.





EARLY THOUGHTS: The Blue should be very interesting with the teams and storylines that are in this division. Bloomfield Hills. The Blackhawks comes from the White after really struggling last season. Bloomfield Hills should be the favorite in the Blue with the proven experience coming back and the program strength is bouncing back as well. Farmington lost their best player from last season but they are a well-coached program. Ferndale University has built a program in the last few years that has seen some success recently. Pontiac should be improved after having a rough year last season. The Phoenix have really toughen their schedule. Avondale is a team to watch especially losing their two top players to graduation. Ferndale has a new coach but they haven’t been able to have program stability. Oak Park should be better this season after having a rough year scoring a year ago. The Blue should be very interesting as mentioned. We’ll see what happens.




Last Season: 3-17, 0-14 White. Lost 55-46 to North Farmington in District First Round.

Top Player: Ruby Smith-F

Key Player: Ashley Forner-G

Wildcard: Brianna Young-F

Biggest Question: How will the Blackhawks do in the Blue???


INSIGHT: The Blackhawks have really struggled but there are some strides that have been made this offseason that there is some optimism for Coach Kristen Massey and her program. Bloomfield Hills has had to rebuild the program from scratch. The rebuild is still ongoing but they have made substantial progress which is a huge credit to the players, coaches, and Massey for turning this program around. The Blackhawks have Ashley Forner, Ruby Smith, Brianna Young, and Grace Main coming back. Smith has had a very strong summer. Program strength looks to be on the rise especially with what is coming in the future. This is a program that is in much better shape than in past years. Bloomfield Hills has a very tough non-conference. They should be in the mix for the Blue crown this season.




Last Season: 13-8, 10-4 Blue. Lost 52-48 in overtime to Livonia Stevenson in District Semifinals.

Top Player: Yasmine Thorpe-G

Key Player: Clarissa Hankins-F

Wildcard: Brooke Farrington-F

Biggest Question: How will the Falcons replace Autumn Bartlett???


INSIGHT: The Falcons have been hot and cold in the last few years. They had a really strong year but a very disappointing outcom where they fell to Livonia Stevenson in the district semifinals last season. Farmington lost their best player (Autumn Bartlett) and seven others to graduation but they should be in the mix in the Blue despite the heavy losses to graduation. The Falcons have Clarissa Hankins, Yasmine Thorpe, Jayla Silver, Annalin Nardelli and Brooke Farrington coming back for Coach Laura Guzman. Program strength appears to be solid. Farmington could surprise some people with their talent and work ethic this season.




Last Season: 10-9, 6-8 Blue. Lost 69-47 to Birmingham Detroit Country Day in District Finals.

Top Player: ???

Key Player: ???

Wildcard: ???

Biggest Question: Can the Eagles keep the momentum going???


INSIGHT: The Eagles have kept improving and making strides since entering the OAA under Coach Desdan Hester. Ferndale University made the district finals last season. Program strength is a concern coming into the season. Ferndale University keeps getting the players to believe in their system and it has worked out really well. Hester doesn’t have a star player which makes them that more dangerous. The schedule is a concern for several reasons. Their biggest issue is that they rely too heavily on their non conference schedule to win games. If the Eagles want to take the next step they have to win games in the Blue despite winning six games which was a start last season. The strength of schedule is another concern despite getting the second seed in their district last season. Ferndale University is the wildcard in the Blue but they need to win games in the league if they want to take the next step.




Last Season: 10-11, 7-6 Blue. Lost 48-31 to Waterford Kettering in District Semifinals.

Top Player: Lily Titus-G

Key Player: Madison Manyweathers-G

Wildcard: Kailyah Carroll-F

Biggest Question: How will the Yellow Jackets replace their two top scorers from last season???


INSIGHT: Anytime a team loses their two top players from last season it would be a cause of concern and for the Yellow Jackets it might very well be. Coach Roy Christmon will need several players to step up if they want to make strides as a program and replace the production left by Reagan Lawrence and Savannah Schmidt whom both have graduated. Avondale has Lily Titus, Madison Manyweathers, Khila Bradley, Amaria Daniels, Kailyah Carroll, and Takera Williams coming back. Titus and Manyweathers should be their top playmakers but Carroll is a player that could make some noise. Program strength is a major concern for Christmon. The Yellow Jackets could be a team to watch but Christmon needs someone to step up and take the next step.




Last Season: 5-13, 3-9 Blue. Lost 33-30 to Avondale in Districts First Round.

Top Player: ???

Key Player: ???

Wildcard: ???

Biggest Question: Can the Phoenix keep improving???


INSIGHT: The Phoenix have started to make strides under Coach Rawelle Marshall especially late in the year which saw them being more competitive especially in their postseason loss to Avondale last season. Marshall has really toughen up Pontiac’s non-conference schedule should help going forward into the season and prepare them heading into the postseason in which their district has two proven powerhouse Red programs. Program strength is a major concern for Marshall. The program however was in rough shape before Marshall took over and it looks like he has stabilized the program. If the Phoenix can get the numbers back up to where they can get a junior varsity program then it should help in the future. Keeping the momentum going will be the key for Marshall and his program going forward.




Last Season: 1-17, 1-13 Blue. Lost 53-16 to Ferndale University in District Semifinals.

Top Player: Jada Buchanan-G

Key Player: Jalia Martin-F

Wildcard: Jayla Pouncey-F

Biggest Question: Can the Eagles find coaching stability???


INSIGHT: The Eagles have really not have had a ton of stability to sustain success which can be very difficult without program stability. They won one game last season but they started improving late into the season. Ferndale has the talent but they have not had the coaching stability to build the program. The Eagles went back to their former coach in Keith Paris this offseason. Paris went 4-14 in 2019-2020 when Paris coached the program. Ferndale has Jalia Martin, Jada Buchanan, Angel Ajonuma, Jewell Marsh, Briunna Young, Tarriyua Early, and Jayla Pouncey coming back. If the Eagles can find some sort of consistency and build on the program then Ferndale could make some strides not only for this season but also the future as well.




Last Season: 2-16, 1-12 Blue. Lost 52-22 to Detroit Mumford in Districts First Round.

Top Player: ???

Key Player: ???

Wildcard: ???

Biggest Question: Can the Knights score enough points this season???


INSIGHT: It was a very challenging season for the Knights last year. Oak Park could not score over 35 points all season. The question for Coach Chantelle Corson and her program will be is can they score enough points to be competitive. Points were a big reason why they won two games and scored 23 and 26 respectively in their wins last season. Program strength is a concern for Corson. If the Knights want to turn things around they need to score points and if they can do that they can turn things around and quick.


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DNR: Good time to reflect on wild turkey’s comeback

DNR: Good time to reflect on wild turkey’s comeback

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Showcasing the DNR

A few dozen turkeys are shown outside a house on a snowy morning.

Thanksgiving a good time to reflect on wild turkey’s comeback

Marketing and Outreach Division

Michigan Department of Natural Resources

Hearing wild turkeys gobbling and clucking as you step out into the backyard early in the morning is common for many Michiganders now, but it wasn’t always so.

As we mark the annual holiday that revolves around turkey, let’s look back and celebrate these birds’ remarkable return from near extinction, often called one of the country’s greatest wildlife conservation success stories.

There are more than 6 million wild turkeys in the United States today, but seeing – or hearing – one was rare as recently as 50 years ago.

In Michigan, wild turkeys had been plentiful prior to the arrival of settlers, with an estimated 94,000 in the state at that time.

A male turkey fans its tail while standing in the snow.By the 1950s, Michigan’s wild turkey population had disappeared due to unregulated hunting and habitat loss.

Bringing turkeys back from the brink

Thanks to the efforts of a committed cadre of conservationists over the last 70 years, 200,000 wild turkeys now call Michigan home. They can be found in parts of every Lower Peninsula county and areas of the Upper Peninsula.

By 1965, the turkey population had rebounded enough that hunting was allowed. Today Michigan ranks sixth in the nation for number of turkey hunters, with consistently high hunter success and satisfaction rates.

Michigan’s spring turkey season is open in every county, and fall hunting is open in many areas of the state.

“We’ve gone from extirpation of all wild turkeys in Michigan to today we have over 200,000 birds and you can hunt turkeys in every county in the state,” said Al Stewart, who retired last year after a 50-year career working in wildlife management for the Michigan Department of Natural Resources, 20 of those years as the DNR’s upland game bird specialist.

A turkey is shown being released in a reintroduction project from the 1980s.“It has brought so much pleasure and enjoyment to people either in viewing wild turkeys and knowing they were there or the ability to hunt in both the spring and fall.”

Early wild turkey restoration attempts in Michigan using hatchery programs failed because the turkeys raised still behaved like domesticated birds, weren’t equipped to live in the wild and succumbed to disease, predators and weather.

In the 1950s, the Michigan Department of Conservation (now the DNR) purchased 50 wild turkeys from Pennsylvania and released them in West Michigan.

Stewart was part of a later effort to reintroduce the birds. In 1983 he, along with many others, brought wild turkeys to Michigan from Iowa and Missouri and established some flocks in the southern part of the state. He was in charge of teaching DNR staff how to trap offspring of those birds to then move them to other locations in the state to help expand this restoration activity.

Ongoing efforts

Since the 1980s, the DNR has worked with many partners to complete numerous releases of trapped wild birds and improve wild turkey habitat.

A DNR worker is shown at a growing location for native grasses.“We created some of the highest-quality sustainable turkey hunting in the nation,” Stewart said. “That says a lot when your competitors for that are places like Missouri, that is the best wild turkey habitat in the world and the highest population. They don’t have deep snow.”

The DNR’s habitat improvement work in recent years has included projects like creating Michigan’s Turkey Tracts, public hunting areas with habitat intensively managed for turkeys. There are now five Turkey Tracts locations, in Allegan, Barry, Montcalm, Oakland and Tuscola counties.

“The program highlights areas of public land where the habitat has been intentionally managed for wild turkeys, creating great hunting conditions for new or seasoned hunters,” Adam Bump, the DNR’s current upland game bird specialist, said.

The National Wild Turkey Federation, at its annual Convention and Sport Show in Nashville earlier this year, presented the Michigan DNR with its Land Stewardship Award, which honors companies and/or government agencies that promote wildlife habitat management.

“Michigan DNR is at the forefront of keeping managed public lands open to the public, while maintaining high-quality habitat on these managed areas. The agency has a long history of collaborating with other state and federal agencies in larger landscape efforts to manage the public lands in Michigan. Moreover, the department has a long history of partnering with non-governmental organizations like the NWTF to accomplish habitat restoration and conservation projects on its lands,” read a NWTF news release about the award.

A DNR staffer is shown getting ready to release a turkey into the wild.Scott Whitcomb, director of the DNR Office of Public Lands, accepted the award “on behalf of the DNR and the passionate sportsmen and women who contribute to and benefit from this effort.”

“In Michigan, we’re blessed with an abundance of natural resources and wild places you don’t come across every day, providing the backdrop for hunting, fishing and all types of outdoor recreation and relaxation. This award recognizes sound, strategic stewardship of 4.6 million acres of state-managed land in Michigan, an achievement that would not be possible without conservation partners like the National Wild Turkey Federation.”

In addition to the 4.6 million acres of DNR-managed public land open to hunting, millions of additional private-land acres are leased or enrolled in programs to allow hunting for all. Visit Michigan.gov/Hunting for more information about where to hunt.

Hunters made it possible

The DNR and partners like the NWTF put in the work behind the wild turkey’s comeback, but it would not have been possible without hunters.

A pair of turkeys are shown in a green and grassy scene.Revenue to fund wild turkey management efforts – for the past several decades, now and into the future – comes directly from the sale of hunting licenses and equipment.

The Michigan Game and Fish Protection Fund, funded primarily through hunting and fishing license fees, is the DNR’s largest revenue source and is critical to its conservation work.

And since 1937, when Congress passed the Federal Aid in Wildlife Restoration Act (also known as the Pittman-Robertson Act), states have received funds from manufacturer taxes on ammunition, firearms and archery equipment for wildlife restoration. These funds are distributed to the states based in part on the number of hunting licenses each state sells.

After passage of this groundbreaking legislation, conserving wild turkeys and other wildlife gained nationwide support and habitat management began.

“Sportsmen and women play an essential role in conservation efforts throughout the country,” said Rebecca Humphries, co-CEO of the National Wild Turkey Federation. “Many people don’t realize, including some hunters and anglers, that the sale of licenses and equipment – not state tax dollars – are the primary source of conservation funding for Michigan and other states.”

So, while the turkey on your Thanksgiving table may not be a wild one, take a moment to raise a glass to its feathered brethren in the wild and the conservationists and hunters who engineered their comeback.

Read a sidebar story with fun facts about wild turkeys, and learn more about turkeys and turkey hunting at Michigan.gov/Turkey.

Check out previous Showcasing the DNR stories in our archive at Michigan.gov/DNRStories. To subscribe to upcoming Showcasing articles, sign up for free email delivery at Michigan.gov/DNREmail.

Note to editors: Contact: John Pepin, Showcasing the DNR series editor, 906-226-1352. Accompanying photos and a text-only version of this story are available below for download. Caption information follows. Credit Michigan Department of Natural Resources, unless otherwise noted.

Text-only version of this story.

Text-only version of sidebar story.

1980s: Wild turkeys from Iowa are released in Clinton County as part of the southern Michigan wild turkey restoration program in the 1980s. Pictured are retired Michigan Department of Natural Resources upland game bird specialist Al Stewart (in green) and some of the partners involved in the project.

Award: Earlier in 2022, the National Wild Turkey Federation presented the Michigan Department of Natural Resources with its Land Stewardship Award, which honors companies and/or government agencies that promote wildlife habitat management. Pictured, left to right, are NWTF regional biologist Ryan Boyer; Scott Whitcomb, director of the DNR’s Office of Public Lands, who accepted the award; and NWTF CEO Becky Humphreys. (Photo credit: Lexi Kelly)

Backyard: Today, wild turkeys are a common sight in Michigan, but in the first half of the 20th century, they had disappeared from the state.

Driveway: Dozens of wild turkeys gather in a driveway in Dickinson County on a cold winter morning. The family living here was feeding the birds. The feeding of turkeys has helped widen their geographic distribution.

Habitat: The Michigan Department of Natural Resources has partnered with the National Wild Turkey Federation on many wild turkey habitat improvement projects. Here, crabapple trees are repotted for planting at Rose Lake State Wildlife Area in Clinton and Shiawassee counties.

Hunters1 and Hunters2: The wild turkey’s comeback would not have been possible without hunters, as revenue to fund turkey management efforts comes directly from the sale of hunting licenses and equipment.

Male: Male turkeys have spurs on their legs, which get longer as they age and are used to grapple with other turkeys over breeding rights, and a “beard,” which looks like a miniature horse’s tail, on their chest.

Release1 and Release2: Releases of wild turkeys in Michigan have aided greatly in efforts to re-establish the species. Pictured here is a project to trap and relocate turkeys from Barry State Game Area in Barry County to the Baldwin area in Lake County.

Tract: A successful hunter displays the turkey he shot at one of Michigan’s Turkey Tracts, public hunting areas where habitat is intensively managed for wild turkeys.

Turkeys1 and Turkeys2: Once a declining species in Michigan and across the country, wild turkeys now can be found in all counties in the Lower Peninsula and in some parts of the Upper Peninsula.

The Michigan Department of Natural Resources is committed to the conservation, protection, management, use and enjoyment of the state’s natural and cultural resources for current and future generations. For more information, go to Michigan.gov/DNR.