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      Huge plant restoration project underway

      The effort to grow about 35,000 plants in restoration projects for the Hiawatha National Forest began on Thursday.

      Volunteers at the forest's greenhouse in Marquette started mixing soil and filling plant cells for seedlings. Throughout next month, the plant cells will be seeded with native plant seeds that will be eventually transplanted in Hiawatha National Forest.

      "The purpose is to bring our native plants back into the landscape, where we've done weed removal, where we've successfully removed invasive species," said USFS Botanist Deb LeBlanc. "And the next step is to get our native plants back into that landscape."

      Organizers say they welcome any new volunteers with an interest in plants. No prior experience in greenhouse operations or planting is required.

      If you want to get involved, contact organizers by calling Deb LeBlanc at (906) 387-2512 ext. 19 or emailing Deb LeBlanc or Sue Rabitaille.