ReLeaf Michigan eNewsletter | March 2021
Spring Planting Season Is Almost Here
A Message from Our Executive Director
The world is finally thawing, and very soon it will be time to plant trees in Michigan. People are often surprised how much planning and work goes into every one of our tree plantings. Careful consideration of the details and our personal involvement is part of what sets ReLeaf Michigan apart from many other organizations.

ReLeaf Michigan believes strongly in knowledge transfer and building grass roots support for the forestry efforts of communities with whom we work by providing hands-on opportunities for volunteers to make a difference while actually learning the proper way to plant a tree. Instead of writing checks to local partners who then have the responsibility to oversee the multitude of details from going out for tree quotes through to overseeing installation, ReLeaf Michigan is there every step of the way to make sure the job is done right.

Our team personally conducts site visits, collaborates with the community leaders, helps select the tree locations and the appropriate species for each location to ensure the trees will thrive. Plus, as our volunteers know, these are no small trees! We plant trees that are already 6-10 feet tall, which gives them a better chance of surviving. Community partners are asked to sign a contract to water and maintain the trees for two years after the planting. We also circle back a year later and meet with the individual responsible for the maintenance to walk the site and assess how each tree is doing and what might need to be done.

All of this hard work to plant the right tree in the right place at the right time helps ensure that trees planted with ReLeaf Michigan thrive for a lifetime. We love going back to tree plantings from early in our 33 year history and seeing the majestic trees that now continue to thrive and enrich the lives of Michiganders.

Thank you for supporting ReLeaf Michigan. If you believe in our work and are able, please consider a donation that will help us do more. Our work is only possible thanks to the support of Michiganders like you who understand how important trees are to the future well-being of Michigan.

-- Melinda Jones, executive director, ReLeaf Michigan
Three Upcoming Webinars,
Free and Available to All
We have three great webinars coming up, offered free to anyone who would like to attend. ISA and SAF credits are available for all presentations.

Planning for Community Trees
Thurs, March 18, 9:30-11:00am
Open to anyone, this is an ideal class for city management, covering canopy assessment, urban forestry management, and tree protection ordinances. Learn more

Healthy Trees Create Healthy Communities
Tues, March 23, 12:00-1:00pm
Ideal for anyone interested in learning how trees improve our health in incredible ways. Our executive director, Melinda Jones, will present the latest (and growing) research. Sponsored by Priority Health. Learn more

Urban Forests, Society and Climate Change
Thurs, April 15, 9:30-11:00am
Learn how an essential forest landscape is both a tool and liability. Led by Lauren T. Cooper, the director of the Forest Carbon and Climate Program for MSU's Forestry Department. Learn more

To RSVP to any of the above events, visit
Request a Presentation for Your Community

Could your community benefit from hearing from one of our tree experts?

See the list of potential topics or contact us to suggest a topic tailored to your community at the link below.

(Please note, while we are eager to see you in person and share our knowledge in a more hands-on way, at this point we are still planning online webinars.)
Introducing Municipal Memberships
ReLeaf Michigan Now Offering a New Opportunity for Municipalities
With the new Municipal Membership, residents receive the opportunity to engage directly with tree experts, access educational resources and better understand why trees are important to their community and a smart investment. For an annual fee, municipalities will receive:

  • "Ask an Arborist" Feature for Residents
  • Dedicated Webpage for Community
  • Educational Resources
  • Annual Presentation / Webinar
  • Tree City Application Assistance
  • Consultation Services Also Available

Contact Melinda Jones to learn more about this program.
Support ReLeaf Michigan at a Peloton Fundraiser, April 28th
Do you believe in ReLeaf Michigan's mission to plant trees throughout the state and also own a Peloton exercise bike or use the app? This is your chance to show your support!

​Peloton riders are invited to join the "Ride for ReLeaf Michigan" on 4/28/21 from 6:30-7:00pm Eastern Time. RSVP now and we'll email you the details of this virtual ride the week before the event.

This ride is organized by Jeff Bagalis, ReLeaf Michigan's treasurer and the managing director of Accurity Group (scroll down for a spotlight profile on Jeff). Jeff has graciously offered to match all donations up to a total of $1000. Donations are encouraged but not required to join. To sign up for the ride, fill out the RSVP form on the page linked below.
Board Member and Sponsor Spotlight:
Jeff Bagalis of Accurity Group
ReLeaf Michigan is fortunate to have a volunteer board that supports the organization in a variety of ways. Jeff Bagalis serves as the Treasurer of ReLeaf Michigan and also as a sponsor through his company, Accurity Group, LLC, a national boutique dispute consulting, valuation advisory and forensic accounting firm with offices in Atlanta, Baltimore, and Detroit.
Accurity Group was co-founded by Jeff and two other senior financial experts with over 25 years of experience. After working in a variety of roles and as a consultant for a national firm, Jeff and his partners established Accurity Group to provide the most efficient and effective dispute consulting services for clients, without the big firm approach. Accurity Group’s team of professionals offer a variety of industry expertise to handle the most complex financial issues and efficiently navigate clients through litigation or alternative dispute resolution. Learn more at Accurity Group’s website.
Jeff has served on the ReLeaf Michigan board as treasurer for five years. He lives in Birmingham, Michigan with his wife, Tessa, and two children, Liam (9) and Grant (6). 
"As a Michigan parent, it's important to me to help make our state healthier for the next generation," said Bagalis. "The work ReLeaf Michigan is doing across the state has a huge impact on all of us, especially the next generation, as newly planted trees grow and their impact increases. I'm honored to play a small role in helping ReLeaf Michigan accomplish this important work."
Bagalis is also an avid Peloton rider and has organized a fundraiser event (described above) that combines his two passions together while promoting ReLeaf Michigan on the Peloton Leaderboard. He has generously offered to match the first $1000 in donations for the event. Learn more about the fundraiser.
Healthy Trees Build Healthy Communities
Trees offer all of us incredible health benefits. Each month we highlight one way trees improve our health, sponsored by Priority Health.

Are Two Hours Outdoors the New 10,000 Steps?
A new 20,000 participant study in the UK shows that spending two hours or more outside each week results in a significantly increased likelihood of reporting good health and well-being. Read more
The Big Tree Hunt Has Sprung!
Spring is a great time to participate in the Michigan Big Tree Hunt, the statewide hunt for the biggest trees in Michigan.

Participation is free and open to all - just complete the entry form at to submit your tree. Submit your tree today and you might be the Big Tree of the Week, posted every Monday on Facebook!

Pictured here is a majestic White Pine. We award a special prize each contest for the largest White Pine, which is Michigan's State Tree. Submissions are open until next summer.

Special thanks to Nissan, who recently signed on as the premiere sponsor of the Michigan Big Tree Hunt.

Learn more about the contest and how to submit your tree by clicking the link below.
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