LANSING, Mich. (WLNS) — “Let’s add some happy little trees,” was a famed phrase of beloved 20th century American painter Bob Ross. That’s the theme of an upcoming Earth Week event next spring that you can register for now.
The annual virtual Happy Little Trees 5K is going on next April, and registration is now open. You can complete the 3.1 miles or so on your own time and space (anywhere outdoors), and your 5k can happen any time between Earth Day (April 22) and Arbor Day (April 26) in 2024.
You can do the 5K race “on foot, or by bike, skate or paddle or using a mobility device,” according to organizers.
It costs $36 to register, and you get a “Run for the Trees” t-shirt, a commemorative bib number and a Bob Ross-inspired finisher’s medal.
All race proceeds go to support tree-planting and forest protection efforts in state parks, according to organizers. The Happy Little Trees event began in 2019 as a collaboration between the Michigan DNR and Bob Ross, Inc., with hundreds of volunteers helping to plant “happy little trees” at locations hard-hit by invasive pests and tree diseases. The DNR’s tree-planting program began in 2004.
“This virtual race is a perfect trifecta: people being active and spending time outdoors, celebrating their love of trees and honoring legendary artist and outdoor enthusiast Bob Ross,” said Michelle O’Kelly, fund developer and Happy Little Trees race director for the DNR Parks and Recreation Division.
The race has expanded far beyond Michigan, and now includes departments of natural resources and state park foundations in Florida, Georgia, Indiana, Ohio, Oregon, Pennsylvania, South Carolina and Wisconsin.
The program has planted more than 100,000 native plants, shrubs and trees since it started in 2004, organizers said.
Since the start of the Bob Ross partnership, more than 2,100 trees have been planted in 20 state parks across Michigan.