By Jessica Mathews /

Livingston County residents and others across the state are encouraged to register for a spring event that supports state parks - with all proceeds going toward Happy Little Tree-planting and preservation efforts.

The Bob Ross-inspired “Run For The Trees – a Happy Little Virtual 5K” is taking place April 22-29th. All proceeds from the virtual race will support tree planting and forest protection efforts such as invasive plant and forest pest management and early detection surveys in state parks and recreation areas.

During the Michigan state parks centennial in 2019, the DNR Parks and Recreation Division pitched a partnership idea to Bob Ross Inc. to help raise awareness of forest protection efforts to help expand the division’s stewardship efforts. The program is now known as Happy Little Trees.

Through a partnership with the Michigan Department of Corrections, seeds are placed in the care of inmates in one of the department’s correctional education programs where inmates learn horticultural practices and help raise new trees for replanting.

For the virtual 5K, participants can choose to walk, run or hike and pick their pace and place – so long as it is outdoors. The cost is $34 per person. Everyone who participates gets a keepsake Happy Little T-shirt, commemorative bib and finisher's medal. The event is capped at 18,500 participants.

Registration is required. A link is provided.