Macomb County keeps getting greener

SCS students 2015Today, Green Macomb held a special tree planting at Freedom Hill County Park in honor of Arbor Day. Macomb County Executive Mark A. Hackel and other officials gave remarks, followed by the planting of a cherry tree that was donated by Washington Township-based United Landscape Inc. The tree planting kicked off the first-ever Spring Tree, Shrub and Plant Sale held by Green Macomb in partnership with the Sanilac/St. Clair Conservation District and Michigan State University Extension.

Young bare-root trees, fruit trees, flowering shrubs, native pollinator wildflower seeds, fruits and vegetables are available for purchase at Freedom Hill today until 4 p.m. and tomorrow from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. while supplies last. Master Gardeners will be on hand to offer planting advice, and soil kits will also be on sale.

Across the county, communities are hosting their own Arbor Day events.

At 1 p.m., the St. Clair Shores Department of Public Works will assist three second-grade classes and the student council in planting four trees at Masonic Heights Elementary School. The school will be presented a proclamation for Arbor Day as well as an Arbor SCS tree city signDay flag. The students have been reading about the importance of trees all week and will get a chance to get their hands dirty, shoveling topsoil and mulch.

At 2 p.m., Shelby Township Parks, Recreation and Maintenance will host a tree planting at Mae Stecker Park with the Shelby Township Gardeners Club and Beautification Committee.

Sterling Heights held a tree planting April 18 to commemorate their 32nd Tree City USA designation. The Beautification Commission, City Council and mayor planted a tree at City Hall, which was followed by a presentation of the Tree City flag.

Additionally, Chesterfield Township, Fraser, Mount Clemens, Roseville, St. Clair Shores and the Village of Grosse Pointe Shores are also recognized as Tree City USA communities. In receiving this designation, the communities have demonstrated their commitment to quality tree care and sustainable urban forestry management, as certified by the Arbor Day Foundation.

Macomb County, local communities and schools are doing their part to make Macomb County a greener place. How will you celebrate Arbor Day today?

Caitlin Gerds-Habermas works for the Macomb County Department of Planning & Economic Development, often providing content for the Make Macomb Your Home website.

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How does your garden grow? (and where to get answers to other gardening questions)

Arbor-Day-plant-sale-flyerMacomb County is excited to announce the Spring 2017 Tree, Shrub and Plant Sale this weekend, a new collaboration between Green Macomb and the Sanilac/St. Clair Conservation District. The spring sale provides an opportunity for the public to purchase young trees, fruit trees, flowering shrubs, wildflower seed and other fruits and vegetables at the most reasonable prices you can find.

This is exciting, but what if you’re a gardening newbie?! Or even if you are well seasoned, you might still have questions. But not to worry. Did you know Michigan State University Extension has the information available to help you via its Garden Hotline?

To give you an idea, the top 10 questions from the Gardening Hotline in 2016 were:

  1. How do I get a soil test done, and what will it tell me?
  2. What’s wrong with my lawn?
  3. My maple tree has a problem, can you tell me what to do?
  4. How do I get rid of bees/wasps in my yard?
  5. What do I do to control Japanese beetles?
  6. When can I prune my oak tree?
  7. What’s the problem with my spruce tree?
  8. When do I prune my roses?
  9. How do I care for an apple tree?
  10. How do I get rid of fungus gnats in my house plants?

Master Gardeners are at the MSUE office on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays to help answer questions and take hotline calls. The number is (888) MSUE-4MI or (888) 678-3464.

Other locations you can find Master Gardeners:

  • Spring 2017 Tree, Shrub and Plant Sale from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Friday, April 28 and from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. on Saturday, April 29 at Freedom Hill County Park.
  • Master Gardeners have an information booth at the Mount Clemens Farmers Market every Saturday the market is open (May – November).
  • June 3 from 9 a.m. to noon is the Annual Plant Exchange at the VerKuilen Building. Master Gardeners are there to answer questions. (Everyone is welcome, they don’t have to have a plant to exchange)
  • July 14 – 16 there will be a Master Gardener booth at the Lavender Festival held at Blake’s Orchard and Cider Mill.

    Mary Gerstenberger is a consumer horticulture coordinator for Macomb County’s Michigan State University Extension.

Gardening blog

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Summer Career Academies invite students to think about future

This blog is the first in a series exploring local day camps available in Macomb County this summer. For a complete listing, visit our newest resource: Day Camp Fun in Macomb.


Area high school students can get a glimpse into their future this summer during Macomb Community College’s Career Academies. Each session features fun, hands-on activities guided by experts in the field. They are a great opportunity to get an insider’s look into a career and whether the field is right for them before they commit to future education.

For example, those interested in public service may find the Law Enforcement, Fire and EMS Academy piques their interest. Taught by current and retired officers, students get an in-depth look at the daily demands of the professions including instruction in self-defense.

In the Culinary/Pastry Arts Academy, it isn’t about hot dogs and hamburgers. Working with master chefs, participants learn the secrets of making gourmet meals. One of the best parts is they get to eat them too.

Students won’t be playing games but inventing them in the IT Gaming Academy, with each participant designing their own game. They’ll get a sense of the type of creative and technical skills required and how those skills can apply in other areas.

Other academies include Hybrid Electric Vehicles, Veterinary Technician, Media and Communication Arts, Robotics, Computer Programming, Biotechnology, Writing for the Future and Experience Apprenticeship.


Students who attend either the Law Enforcement or the Veterinary Technician academies are eligible for college credit for their work. Early registration is encouraged. The minimum age to participate is 14, except for the Public Service Academy, which has a minimum age of 16.

By the end of each academy, students will not only have had fun, but will also have a better understanding of a career field. Even if they decide a particular career is not for them, they will have made an informed choice about their future. For more information about Macomb’s Career Academies, call (586) 498-4008 or download the brochure here.

 Sean M. Patrick is the manager of media relations at Macomb Community College.

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Why a tree sale?

Every year, the Sanilac/St. Clair Conservation District holds a spring and fall tree sale. These tree sales have a number of different species of plants ranging from conifers to hardwoods, fruit-bearing trees and shrubs, and even some fruit and vegetable plants. But why does the conservation district have a tree sale?

tree sale pic 3Like most conservation districts in the state, tree sales are an important fundraiser, providing much needed financial support for the programs and services offered to local communities. While the district receives some grant funding to support some of our staff, much of our funding comes from tree sale revenue. Without the tree sale, we would be unable to support much of our staff and wouldn’t be able to offer the services we provide. Services such as no-till drill and tree planter rentals would not be possible without our tree sale.

Besides the monetary benefit to the district, the main reason we have a tree sale is to assist the community in their conservation needs. Our goal is to provide a convenient and affordable source of trees to people who wish to improve their land. Our staff is very knowledgeable about these trees and are here to help by recommending trees, whether it’s for wildlife, windbreaks or just ornamental.

The Sanilac/St. Clair Conservation District is partnering with Green Macomb to offer a Spring 2017 Tree, Shrub and Plant sale from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Friday, April 28 and from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. Saturday, April 29 at Freedom Hill County Park. The stock has been primarily purchased through presale orders; however, remaining unsold stock will be available for purchase as supplies last.

Steven Weber is a conservation technician for the Sanilac/St. Clair Conservation District.

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Sprint and Splash registration at Kuhnhenn Brewing Co. this week!

You may have heard about our 6th annual Sprint and Splash Festival of Races event on June 17 at Lake St. Clair Metropark in Harrison Township – which offers a great way to photo-3kick off summer as it includes a variety of competitive events, as well as music, food, craft beer and a multitude of vendors. But did you know signing up at one of our Kuhnhenn Brewing Co. registration events this week will enter you into a drawing for a free kayak (and your first beer is on us!)?

Make sure you are part of this exciting event and register now through a really fun opportunity we have put together. You can always register online at; however, this year, we are excited to announce two on-site registration events at Kuhnhenn Brewing Co. These events will be held from 4 p.m. to 8 p.m. on Thursday, April 20 at the Warren location and from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. on Saturday, April 22 at the Clinton Township location. Anyone who registers at Kuhnhenn will receive the early registration discount. Your registration on-site at Kuhnhenn also includes your first drink, Make Macomb Your Home swag and you will be entered into a drawing to win a kayak!Kayak4-f

Sprint and Splash starts off the day with a 6-mile stand-up paddleboard (SUP) race. Following the SUP race is the duathlon, which combines a 5K run and a 2-mile paddle (kayak or SUP). Sprint and Splash also offers a 5K Fun Run and Walk (for those who want to stay dry) and a 2-mile recreational SUP race. The Sprint and Splash Beach Village is open throughout the day, giving participants and spectators the option to visit local vendors before or after their race. Additionally, all racers receive a complimentary breakfast and will have the option to purchase a variety of delicious craft beer from Kuhnhenn Brewing Co. All participants receive a finisher’s medal, a race shirt and a swag bag!

Sprint and Splash is a fundraising event with the unique purpose of promoting and Runners2-fcelebrating Lake St. Clair, which is truly the heart of the Great Lakes. Sponsorship or participation in this event supports both the Lake St. Clair Tourism Initiative and the Clinton River Watershed Council. Both organizations work to improve the regional economy by increasing tourism to Lake St. Clair and its coastal communities while also striving to protect and restore Lake St. Clair, the Clinton River and the surrounding natural areas.

Henry Ford Macomb Hospitals is the event’s presenting sponsor.

Please visit for more information.

Amanda Minaudo is a senior planner in the Macomb County Department of Planning & Economic Development. She often contributes to the Make Macomb Your Home Blog, writing about the many fun and exciting things to see and do around Macomb County. 

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Not my parents’ Macomb County

OM blogThis week, the OneMacomb initiative, a county-initiated forum and resource for all matters relating to the enhancement of diversity and inclusion in Macomb County, released compelling new research about the incredible diversity and economic contributions immigrants bring to Macomb County.

When I was a high school student in the 1980s, the folks I ran into from Macomb County (and the reputation of the county) were white working-class folks. (Truth be told, my interactions with folks from Macomb County largely revolved around high school debate competitions with Sterling Heights Stevenson and Utica Eisenhower, often winning tournaments in which I competed.) In fact, Macomb County developed a reputation in 1980 as the home of the “Reagan Democrats.” As recently as 1990, the U.S. Census reported Macomb County as 96 percent white.

The data released by OneMacomb, obtained as part of the Gateways for Growth program from Welcoming America and the New American Economy, shatters this antiquated view of Macomb County, particularly in regard to the foreign-born. Macomb County is home to almost 90,000 immigrants, making Macomb County more internally diverse than Wayne County (Macomb is 10.4 percent foreign-born, while Wayne is only 8.4 percent. Oakland is almost at the national average and is 12.4 percent.).

Did you know with 36,610 immigrants, Sterling Heights has the second largest immigrant population of any Michigan city, trailing Detroit by only a couple of thousand immigrants? At 27.8 percent foreign-born, Sterling Heights is more than twice as foreign-born as the nation as a whole.

Other important facts undergird the tremendous economic contributions Macomb County’s immigrants make. There were nearly 5,000 self-employed immigrants whose businesses generated over $50 million in business income in 2014. These businesses represent 15 percent of all the businesses in Macomb County. Macomb County’s immigrants are highly educated; 35.1 percent possess a four-year degree or graduate degree (compared to 23.6 percent of Macomb’s U.S.-born population and slightly more than 26 percent for the state as a whole.).

Other interesting facts included in the data are most (62.3 percent) immigrants in the county have become naturalized citizens. Top countries of origin are diverse and include Iraq (24.5 percent), India (8.2 percent), Poland (6.7 percent), Philippines (4.9 percent), and Bangladesh (4.7 percent), with 51 percent of the immigrants coming from other countries not in the top five. Lastly, 38.3 percent of the immigrants who moved to Macomb County in the recent past came from outside the U.S. directly to Macomb County, 41.1 percent came from other Michigan communities, and 20.6 percent came from other U.S. states.

In short, immigrants to Macomb County have helped make the county a vibrant place. From contributing their skills to the county’s dynamic defense, automotive design, and health industries, to helping to revitalize the commercial and residential neighborhoods in older inner-ring suburbs like Warren and Sterling Heights, immigrants are an important part of the county’s fabric.

OneMacomb has developed an operating agreement for the Macomb County Diversity and Inclusion Collaborative signed by more than two dozen partner agencies, including Global Detroit, and is poised to help Macomb continue to be a place where all individuals and groups live, work and recreate harmoniously with all others and participate fully, equally and equitably in all institutions and aspects of Macomb County life.

A similar Gateways for Growth data release on immigrant contributions for the city of Detroit is scheduled for Thursday, May 4. Subscribe to Global Detroit’s email newsletters for details on that press conference.

Steve Tobocman is director of Global Detroit, a regional economic revitalization strategy mobilizing Metro Detroit’s immigrant potential.

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Have an Egg-Citing spring in Macomb County this April!

The Easter Bunny is coming to Macomb County this month, and we have compiled a list of all the places you can experience some springtime fun! Get your picture taken with the Easter Bunny, have brunch with family and friends, or spend a morning hunting for colorful Easter eggs and treats! However you want to spend these lovely April weekends, we have something for you!

_bunnycares-macombdailypicBunny Cares at Macomb Mall – Sunday, April 2

Bunny Cares welcomes children of all abilities and spectrums of special needs to a photo environment supportive of their sensory, physical and developmental needs. The sensory-friendly event will take place prior to public hours in a comforting and physically accommodating setting designed to lessen behavioral triggers. The nationally recognized Bunny Cares event will take place in the Dick’s Sporting Goods Court. The private event begins at 9:30 a.m. and continues until 11 a.m. when the mall opens to the public. Families must RSVP in advance to participate. Please visit to reserve a time slot with the Bunny.

Charity Easter Egg Hunt at Ray Weigand’s Nursery – Saturday, April 8 & Sunday, April 9

Join Ray Weigand’s Nursery for their Annual Easter Egg Hunt. Your children will embark on an Easter egg hunt, where they will search for Easter eggs and turn them in for goodies. The cost is $5 per child and ticket sales will benefit Turning Point, a local charity providing services to end domestic violence. Weekend activities will include: visit and photos with the Easter Bunny, bunny & duckling petting farm, airbrushed face painting, a bounce house, sand art and decoration station. Alice’s Kitchen will be open with homemade donuts, drinks and lunch fare.

Annual Easter Egg Hunt hosted by Roseville-Eastpointe Recreation Authority – Saturday, April 8

The Annual Easter Egg Hunt will begin at 10 a.m. at the Huron Park ball fields, located at Frazho Road & Kelly Road. Participant’s ages 2 through 10 can hunt for eggs and candy in separate age divisions. In case of inclement weather, this event will be held on Sunday, April 9. Bring your camera for pictures with our “special guest”! The event is sponsored by Eastpointe-Roseville Chamber of Commerce.

Easter Bunny Lunch hosted by Shelby Township – Saturday, April 8

Shelby Township Parks and Recreation will be hosting the Easter Bunny Lunch at 11 a.m. at the Shelby Community Center on Saturday, April 8. Enjoy a pizza and salad lunch while a surprise entertainer performs at this event geared for kids ages 10 and under and their families. Hop to it and reserve your tickets today! No tickets will be sold at the door. The fee for children over the age of 2 is $7 for residents and $12 for non-residents.

22nd Annual Easter Egg Scramble hosted by the City of Richmond – Saturday, April 8

Join the Easter Bunny for a fun-filled morning and scramble for thousands of Easter eggs filled with candy, prizes and other fun! After the scramble, visit with the Easter Bunny in the community center. Instant digital pictures with the Easter Bunny will be available for purchase, provided by a professional photographer. The event begins at 10:30 a.m. and will be held at Beebe Street Park.

Village of New Haven Easter Egg Hunt – Saturday, April 8

The Village of New Haven Annual Easter Egg Hunt will begin promptly at 11 a.m. with the Egg Scramble which is separated by age so that all children can enjoy. Prizes for children of all ages available afterwards. The New Haven Fire Department will be serving their world famous hotdogs and beverages. There is no charge for this event!

_sanderseasterbunnyPictures with the Easter Bunny at Sander’s – Saturday, April 8

The Easter Bunny is returning to Sanders from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Saturday, April 8 for free pictures! He will be all set to take photos with your little ones in front of an adorable Easter scene – you just have to bring your own camera.  While you’re here, you can also enter for a chance to win a giant five pound chocolate bunny! The Channel 95.5 Street Team will also be at Sander’s Chocolate from 1 p.m. – 3 p.m. for meet and greets, photos and giveaways!

Shelby Township Annual Easter Egg Scramble – Saturday, April 8

Join Shelby Township on Saturday, April 8 for an “egg”-citing afternoon at River Bends Park scrambling for goodie-filled plastic eggs. Watch for an appearance by the Easter Bunny, and don’t forget your camera and basket! This free family fun event begins at 1 p.m. for ages 3-5, 2 p.m. for ages 6-10, and is held rain or shine!


Egg-Citing Event hosted by Shelby Township – Sunday, April 9

Join in the fun and have an “egg”-citing time. Children will delight in all the activities. Decorate eggs – bring six hardboiled eggs, go on an Easter egg hunt and so much more! The fee is $4 per participating child and pre-registration and pre-payment is recommended.

Pet Night Hosted by the Easter Bunny at Macomb Mall – Sunday, April 9

Pet owners can bring in their dogs or cats (on-leash) for a photo with the Easter Bunny from 6 p.m. to 9 p.m. on April 9 at Macomb Mall!

Bunnyville at the Detroit Zoo – Friday, April 14 & Saturday, April 15

Hop on over to Bunnyville at the Detroit Zoo! Bunnyville features a golden egg hunt with more than 100 eggs hidden throughout the zoo each day – spot an egg and redeem it for a prize (one egg and prize per family). Festivities also include the Jelly Bean Jamboree, Funny Bunny Games, whisker painting and photo opportunities with the Easter Bunny. Enjoy live entertainment, including music by Miss Paula and the Candy Bandits, The Amazing Clark Magic Show, and the Off Broadway Productions musical “Bunnyville Follies.”

Discounted admission is available. Bunnyville visitors are encouraged to bring a canned or other non-perishable food item to be donated to Gleaners Community Food Bank. Each guest with a food donation will receive a reduced admission price of $9, parking not included. Admission for Detroit Zoological Society Members is free, but members are encouraged to bring food donations.

_SCSEasterEggAnnual Easter Egg Hunt hosted by the City of St. Clair Shores – Sunday, April 15

The St. Clair Shores (SCS) firefighters in cooperation with the SCS Parks and Recreation Department invite all the children of St. Clair Shores to hunt for eggs!

Don’t forget to bring your Easter basket and, parents, don’t forget your cameras! Join in on the Easter fun with the Easter Bunny and his firefighter friends! Fun and surprises are in store!

Amanda Minaudo is a senior planner in the Macomb County Department of Planning & Economic Development. She often contributes to the Make Macomb Your Home Blog, writing about the many fun and exciting things to see and do around Macomb County. 

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