The Howell Nature Center will be getting some TLC next week thanks to a large group of volunteers.

Nearly 40 DTE Energy employees will donate their time and skills to help rehabilitate the Howell Nature Center next Tuesday. The center is short on maintenance funding and consequently does not have the proper equipment or maintenance crew to assist with upkeep and repairs. DTE volunteers dressed in red t-shirts will be using a bucket truck to repair the bald eagle habitat. Once an endangered species with fewer than 500 nesting pairs in the lower 48 states, bald eagles have made a tremendous comeback because of government protection, the banning of the pesticide DDT and conservation programs like the Howell Nature Center. Other projects include erecting a bat house and trimming trees and vines. Volunteers will also be swinging hammers, sawing wood, laying mulch and using other tools to install and fix split rail fencing and make other repairs and improvements at the center.

DTE volunteers have a long history with the HNC. Last year, they repainted the DTE Raptor Education Center, a classroom and wildlife habitat facility, repaired fencing, painted classrooms and benches and installed drains to help with a flooding issue.

Since 1963, the Howell Nature Center has served as a natural resource for wildlife rehabilitation, education and advocacy. The facility is nestled around Pleasant Lake and among 230 rolling acres in the heart of Livingston County. In addition to summer camps for children, the Center offers comprehensive outdoor education and recreation programs; a premier wildlife rehabilitation clinic; the Wild Wonders Wildlife Park and an adventure education center, available year-round to individuals and groups throughout the Midwest. (JM)