Parents celebrate their toddler's 2nd birthday by planting 30 trees on Belle Isle

For a 2-year-old, a little bit of sugar is all that's needed to keep them happy.

But Swathi Ravi and her husband wanted to do something special for their child's second birthday, even if their daughter wouldn't remember it.

"We wanted to start a tradition. We wanted to do something special for her birthday and since she’s a baby she really doesn’t need big parties," said Ravi.

And what better way to do that than plant 100 trees. They may not do much right now, but by the time older age comes around, the orchard that's planted will have taken on an entirely different look. 

On Sunday, Ravi and about 20 volunteers put 30 trees into the ground. Last year, they did 70. Tree planting is part of the family's small but tangible opportunity it has to mitigate climate change.

"The state of the world right now it’s really bad and this is not the kind of place I want to leave for my kids," said Ravi.

It wasn't easy to make happen. Seemingly endless calls were made until Ravi found the right person.

"We weren’t able to get as many trees as we wanted into the ground so when Swathi approached us, it was just perfect to be able to have volunteers be so spirited and interested in helping us getting these trees in the ground," said Heidi Frei, of the DNR.

Frei was out with the family on Sunday, helping plant trees. The extra help from volunteers also helped address a clear need for more manpower. 

"Within the state park system, within the campgrounds, it’s really a tough place to be a tree," Frei said, "so with the compaction that occurs, with people dumping hot coals at the base of trees, it’s really very tough to be a state tree in a Michigan state park.

"If you’ve been on Belle Isle and you drive around. you can see that there’s a lot of open spaces and places to plant trees," she added. "Some of the trees are really old and that comes with decline and they’re getting a little older and so there definitely is a need to plant trees."