The Souris River Basin Longbeards chapter in North Dakota started its successful tree-planting program almost 15 years ago. Each spring, the local chapter provides $2,000 through local chapter funds and the state chapter Super Fund to purchase wildlife conservation trees for surrounding private landowners free of charge.
“The trees for this program are sourced from local nurseries that grow these species under local conditions, which provides the best chance for survival in the harsh North Dakota winters,” said Collin Smith, NWTF district biologist. “Approximately 600 conifer trees and 1,200 fruit bearing trees and shrubs are provided to private landowners.”
Once the trees and shrubs are successfully established, they provide long-term habitat enhancement for upland game birds such as wild turkeys, ring-necked pheasants and sharp-tailed grouse, in addition to deer, rabbits and songbirds, Smith said. The majority of landowners who receive these trees provide hunting land to the public by permission, so the program benefits both wildlife and hunters alike.
This program also provides an opportunity to get local youth involved in conservation efforts. “On the day that the trees arrive, the local chapter receives assistance from the Granville High School FFA kids to assist them with sorting out the trees with the corresponding landowner applications and order forms in preparation for distribution,” Smith said.