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5K event to support Michigan species

moose on the loose run

MARQUETTE — The Michigan Nature Association is hosting the Race for Michigan Nature, a series of family fun runs and 5-kilometer events that each spotlight a rare Michigan species.

The races span from Belle Isle, Detroit all the way to Marquette with the Moose on the Loose Run taking place Sunday at Presque Isle Park.

The Marquette race focuses on the moose because of their importance to the greater ecosystem, said Lauren Ross, communications and events coordinator for the Michigan Nature Association.

“Moose were once abundant across our state, but since the early 20th century, have been at risk from human activities including hunting, and urban development,” Ross said in an email. “Thanks to efforts to protect habitat from these activities, moose population in roughly the past decade has seen gradual improvements. There is still work to be done though, and that is why this race in particular seeks to raise awareness about the need to protect habitat for moose.”

The races are a way for participants to learn about Michigan’s endangered species and promote the importance of protecting Michigan’s remaining natural areas, according to the Michigan Nature Association website.

Other races will spotlight the following Michigan species: Monarch butterflies, Karner blue butterflies, lake sturgeon, the eastern box turtle and the eastern massasauga rattlesnake.

Focusing on these species will raise awareness of the need to protect each animal’s habitat, Ross said.

“Michigan is home to a large number of plants and animals, many of which are at risk, or near at risk, of extinction…” she said. “Every plant and animal has a role to play in their environment, and humans have played a large part in many of them being vulnerable, so we have to step up to restore and protect all of the species that call Michigan home, or else risk losing them.”

The Kids’ 1-mile Fun Run will begin at 9:30 a.m. and cost $10. The 5K Run/Walk will start at 10 a.m. and cost $25 for preregistration or $30 the day of the event. Children up to age 12 can pre-register for the 5K at a cost of $20 or register the day of for $25. Racers will receive T-shirts, medals and free memberships to the MNA.

The mission of the MNA is to acquire, protect and maintain natural areas that contain examples of Michigan endangered and threatened flora, fauna, and other components of the natural environment, including habitat for fish, wildlife and plants of the state of Michigan and to carry on a program of natural history study and conservation education, according to its website.

“As an MNA member, not only are you helping support a more than 65-year-old organization in its mission to protect the state’s unique plants and animals and unique natural features, but you also get special invitations to MNA events, and editions of Michigan Nature magazine,” Ross said.

The 5K race will begin in front of the pavillion/ice cream stand on Peter White Drive, continue west along the bike path, north to the bog walk and then continue around the island past the start/finish line for approximately a half mile then turn around and head south to the finish line.

Volunteers for the races, whose duties may include handing out medals, helping with registration and encouraging racers, are still needed for the event and can help out the day of the event if interested.

“5Ks are a great place to gather with people who care about the issues that you care about, and are a good way to stay active,” Ross said. “Our 5Ks have the added benefit of being held in beautiful landscapes, like picturesque Presque Isle Park. Whether you’re running, walking, or jogging, soaking in the fresh air and natural surroundings is great for your body and mind.”

For more information or to register visit the Race for Michigan 2019 page on michigannature.org.

Trinity Carey can be reached at 906-228-2500, ext. 206. Her email address is tcarey@miningjournal .net.