Michigan: Home to “Happy Little Trees”

Volunteers planted more than 1,000 "happy little trees" across Michigan's state parks (Courtesy of the Michigan Department of Natural Resources)

Health Editor’s Note:  As people claim more and more land for their parking lots, factories, and strip malls we have to offset these bad decisions.  Planting trees and other plants which will serve the pollinators is a way for us to give back to try to right the wrongs of man. Planting trees to replace those which are dead or diseases just makes sense and hopefully more states will follow suit……Carol

Michigan Plants 1,000 ‘Happy Little Trees’ in Honor of Bob Ross

By Meilan Solly Smithsonian.com

Since May, more than 1,000 “happy little trees” have popped up across Michigan’s state parks. Planted by hundreds of volunteers who replaced damaged and diseased trees with healthy (and happy) saplings grown by prison inmates, the trees derive their name from artist and television personality Bob Ross’ signature catchphrase.

The so-called Happy Little Trees program is the product of a partnership between the Michigan Department of Natural Resources and Bob Ross Inc. Timed to coincide with the centennial of Michigan’s state parks, the initiative represents a revamped version of what was previously dubbed the “prison grow” program.

As Michelle Coss, volunteer and donor coordinator for the DNR’s Parks and Recreation division, explains to Roadtrippers’ Alexandra Charitan, inmates at three of the state’s correctional facilities are responsible for growing some 1,000 trees every year. These plants—including white cedar, paper birch, sugar maple and other native varieties—are then used in volunteer-driven reforestation projects aimed at replacing trees felled by invasive species.

We were talking about the prison grow program, and somehow ‘happy little trees’ came up,” Coss tells MLive’s Emily Bingham. “I said, ‘Well, wouldn’t it be cool if we reached out to Bob Ross Inc. and asked if we could use that moniker for the program?’ 

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