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Tractor Club gets grant to rehabilitate drain field to create Founders Garden

ALPENA — The Alpena Antique Tractor & Steam Engine Club (AATSEC) was awarded a grant by the Wildflower Association of Michigan (WAM). The grant provided funding to purchase native Michigan plants to rehabilitate the drain field area for the clubhouse. The drain field area had become overgrown with the invasive species spotted knapweed. The club is removing the invasive knapweed and developing a native species Founders Garden. The club match for the grant was labor and garden furniture. The club’s Founders Garden is also registered with the Million Pollinator Garden Challenge.

The WAM grant has provided over 350 native plants, comprised of 19 native species, and club members donated another 15 native species for the project. Why native species? Native plants are easy to grow and maintain because they are well adapted to our climate and soil composition. Native plants also provide food and shelter for native wildlife, lower water use, and help improve water quality.

AATSEC is grateful to the following organizations for their support of the grant: Alpena Lions Club, Stepping Stones Garden Club of Onaway, Presque Isle County Garden Club, and Huron Pines. The native plants were purchased from the Otsego Conservation District Native Plant Nursery.

AATSEC is an IRS 501c3 tax exempt organization dedicated to preserving the agriculture and forestry history of Northeast Michigan. The club owns 35 acres on French Road in Alpena and hosts the Alpena Antique Tractor & Steam Engine Show each year on the second weekend in August. The 37th annual show is today through Sunday. The club also hosts Apple Pumpkin Fun Day each October for the youth in the Alpena area. Both events are free and open to the public. For more information, visit www.alpenantiquetractor.com.

The Wildflower Association of Michigan’s mission is “By increasing awareness and knowledge, The Wildflower Association of Michigan encourages the preservation and restoration of Michigan’s native plants and native plant communities.”

WAM awards grants each year to fund projects that range from creating an outdoor classroom to enhancing an existing site with native plants, to developing other educationally-directed projects that support the WAM Mission. Visit www.wildflowersmich.org for more information.

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