Volunteers help Legacy plant 500 trees contributing to Forest to Mi Faucet goal

Legacy staffer Clint McGill plants a tree sapling at Beckwith Preserve

Legacy staff Clint McGill plants a tree at Beckwith Preserve

In 2023, Legacy joined as a partner organization with Forest to Mi Faucet (F2MF)–a Michigan-specific initiative lead by the Michigan Department of Natural Resources (DNR) and its Forest Stewardship Program designed to help educate Michiganders and their communities about the connections between forest and clean water. >>>click here to read F2MF: Connecting Forests, Water, & Communities

As one piece of the broader initiative and its priorities, Legacy has been busy doing our part to help the F2MF team meet its goals! Over the last nine months, we’ve diligently focused on education and planting trees–including prepping the land for planting–in riparian zones to positively impact water quality and reduce runoff.


This spring, Legacy staff attended seven events and enjoyed speaking to hundreds of people throughout our service area.

F2MF was the center of our discussions during Earth Day festivities with Growing Hope, Jackson County Conservation District, Leslie Science Center, and the City of Ann Arbor. We held conversations with folx at local events like the Washtenaw County Conservation District Annual Spring Tree & Shrub Sale, Huron River Days, and the Washtenaw County Native Plant Sale. And, Legacy also hosted an event at Mothfire Brewing Company highlighting the importance of clean water and land protection.

Planting Trees

With a lofty F2MF group initiative goal of planting 60,000 trees in riparian zones, Legacy was eager to do its small part in adding to the group’s total.

Volunteers at the Beckwith Preserve tree planting workday

Volunteers at the Beckwith Preserve tree planting workday

In preparation for planting trees, our field work began in earnest last fall. Together with the help of our wonderful volunteers, we held workdays throughout Sharon Hills, Beckwith, and Johnson preserves to remove invasive species like autumn olive and common buckthorn, and clear areas for tree plantings.

Then in the spring, our stewardship team completed one prescribed burn at Johnson Preserve to help kill invasive vegetation and remove leaf litter to stimulate native plant species growth. And, we held two more volunteer workdays–at Sharon Hills and Beckwith preserves–to pull garlic mustard in designated tree planting areas.

Once the areas were prepared, staff and volunteers planted the trees throughout April and May. In all, 500 trees were planted at Beckwith and Sharon Hills Preserves. Thanks to over 30 volunteers, which included our core group of Beckwith volunteers and students with Stockbridge schools, 365 of those trees were planted at Beckwith Preserve!


Legacy really values collaboration, and thanks to our F2MF work, we found ourselves basking in the success of new and old relationships.

Through our existing relationship with Washtenaw County Conservation District (WCCD) we participated in their annual tree sale to offer a discount on riparian trees and shrubs ultimately helping landowners personally contribute to positively impacting water quality and reducing runoff. In all, our discount partnership program resulted in 709 trees sales!

Stockbridge student volunteers plant trees at Beckwith Preserve

Stockbridge student volunteers plant trees at Beckwith Preserve

F2MF also helped us reinvigorate former partnerships with the Stockbridge schools and the Stockbridge Future Farmers of America (FFA) program. In 1973 the Stockbridge FFA class planted hundreds of pine saplings on what was then the Beckwith Farm. These pines now stand over 30 feet tall and make up the “nature play” area at what is now the Beckwith Preserve, where kids are encouraged to leave the trail and play on the mossy, needle covered soil.

Just over 50 years later, the Stockbridge FFA class helped plant 100 trees that will hopefully make up a diverse dry-mesic southern forest and riparian shrub buffer. What a treat it has been to get these students out onto a Legacy preserve and educate them about the roles that our forests play in keeping our water clean and drinkable! Thank you, Stockbridge FFA!

And in our continuous effort to deepen outreach in Lenawee County, F2MF helped us connect with leaders in Blissfield Township who held a workday with their Parks & Recreation Advisory Board to plant 120 trees within their community along the River Raisin. Legacy’s participation in F2MF allowed us to provide spruce, oak, maple, dogwood, and arborvitae trees–free of charge– to Blissfield for their planting!

Thank you to everyone who has helped along the way!

What’s Next?

Legacy’s participation in the F2MF initiative continues through September of 2025, so we’re not done yet! More preserve workdays have already been scheduled for this fall as we work to remove woody invasive vegetation and make room for future plantings of native trees and shrubs on our preserves. And we’re using the remainder of this year to work out even more collaborations, plantings, and events for next spring. Stay tuned for more details and ways you can get involved!

>>Click here to check out all our upcoming workdays