Community Events Connect Health, Wellness and Conservation

Huron Pines is working together with healthcare professionals from Munson Healthcare Grayling Hospital (MHGH) and Munson Healthcare Otsego Memorial Hospital (Munson OMH) to launch an event series taking place in Grayling and Gaylord this summer. In an effort to support personal and environmental health, the organizations came together to develop events that would get people active, outside and exploring nature. The first event will kick off in Grayling on June 8, 2019.

“One of the top priorities that came out of our Community Health Needs Assessment has been to promote healthy lifestyles,” Cheryl Melroy Community Health Manager with Munson Healthcare Grayling Hospital said. “Our events promote simple activities for the whole family, like taking a short walk along a trail, to get people thinking about easy ways to be more active on a daily basis.”

As a conservation organization, the goal of Huron Pines is to support sustainable communities with protected natural resources.

“The more we can get people out in nature, experiencing the connections between water, woods and wildlife, the more they begin to care about the resources that surround them,” Abby Ertel, Community Program Lead at Huron Pines explained. “We want people to leave our events with a better understanding of nature, their place in it, and how a healthy environment protects our community’s most basic health needs like clean water, fresh air and space to play, explore and be active.”

The idea for the event series grew from a few experimental events in 2018. Huron Pines joined Munson Healthcare OMH for their Healthy Kids at the Gaylord Farmers Market program and partnered with MHGH for a few events in Grayling.

As Cindy Goddard, Community Health Education Coordinator with Munson Healthcare Otsego Memorial Hospital explained, access to healthy lifestyle choices is an essential need in our region.

“We saw from the Farmers Market that kids and parents were interested in activities and resources that connected healthy foods, recreation and conservation,” said Goddard. “That got us thinking about how we could do even more to engage with the community in fun new ways that would be easily accessible to everyone.”

2019 Event Series Schedule

Trailblaze for Trail Mix: Explore hands-on activity stations and create your own trail mix along the way. Ages 12 and under accompanied by an adult. June 8, 2019 from 10:00am to 12:00pm at Northbound Outfitters in Grayling. June 25, 2019 from 4:00pm to 6:00pm at Otsego Environmental Learning Site (behind the Gaylord Middle School) in Gaylord.

Colors in the Wild Scavenger Hunt: Learn what colors can teach you about nutrition and the natural world with our rainbow scavenger hunt. Ages 12 and under accompanied by an adult. August 06, 2019 from 10:00am to 12:00pm at the Otsego Demonstration Gardens in Gaylord

Unwind Outside: Slow down, take in your surroundings and enjoy the outdoors with a trail walk, guided observations and a cool down stretch. Ages 13 and up. August 15, 2019 from 9:30am to 11:30am at Hanson Hills Recreation Area in Grayling

This event series is made possible with funding and support from Fischer Insurance, Kiwanis Club of Gaylord, Lampert Family Fund of the Otsego Community Foundation, Munson Healthcare OMH, Northbound Outfitters, Otsego County Cops Fund of the Otsego Community Foundation, Otsego Wildlife Legacy Society, Rotary Club of Gaylord, Skerratt Family Fund of the Otsego Community Foundation, US Endowment for Forestry and Communities through the Healthy Watersheds Consortium Program, Weyerhaeuser, and the Youth Fund of the Otsego Community Foundation.

All events are free and open to the public, registration is strongly encouraged but not required. For updated information and registration links, visit

Huron Pines Community Program Lead Abby Ertel and Munson Healthcare Grayling Hospital Community Health Manager Cheryl Melroy promote a new summer event series at a Grayling Chamber of Commerce Business After Hours on May 16, 2019.

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