Bob Ross-inspired Happy Little (Virtual) 5K registration is open

Contact: Michelle O’Kelly, 517-881-5884 Agency: Natural resources

December 7, 2021

Happy Little Trees T-shirt with Bob Ross artwork

Inspired by Bob Ross’ love of the outdoors, the Michigan Department of Natural Resources is bringing the Race for the Trees / Happy Little (Virtual) 5K back from April 22-29, 2022, now in its third year.

Registration is open for this 2022 State Parks Support Race. The event is limited to 18,500 participants, so don’t delay.

Runners, walkers and hikers can complete their 5K anywhere outdoors anytime between April 22-29. For $ 34 per person, each participant will receive a Happy Little souvenir t-shirt, a commemorative bib number and a finisher’s medal. An international shipping option is available to accommodate participants outside of the United States.

Profits from the run support tree planting and forest protection efforts – such as invasive plant and forest pest management and early detection surveys – in Michigan state parks and recreation areas . Many of these places have been affected by pests and tree diseases such as emerald ash borer and oak wilt.

two participants wearing racing t-shirts and medals

“We are delighted to continue our partnership with Bob Ross Inc. to support our tree planting and stewardship efforts in Michigan State Parks,” said Michelle O’Kelly, Fund Founder and Director. of the Happy Little Trees race for the parks and recreation division of the DNR. . “In just the first two years of this incredibly popular event, race participants have helped generate a stable source of funding for healthy and thriving forests in state parks over the next decade.”

The tree planting program – where the seeds are placed in the care of inmates in an education program of the Michigan Department of Corrections – began in 2004, but became the “Happy Little Trees” program in 2019, when the DNR’s Parks and Recreation Division and Bob Ross Inc. have partnered with programs to help raise awareness of tree planting and forest protection efforts in state parks.

Initially, the program started with hundreds of volunteers helping to plant ‘happy little trees’ in places hard hit by invasive pests and tree diseases, but the partnership quickly expanded to include nearly 40,000 participants. raising awareness and funding stewardship efforts through this virtual 5K. During the first two years, the event raised over $ 600,000.

The program has produced more than 100,000 native plants, shrubs and trees since its inception in 2004. With support from the Bob Ross Partnership, more than 2,100 trees have been planted in 20 Michigan state parks.

Learn more about the program and register for the race at

For more information, contact Michelle O’Kelly at 517-881-5884 or [email protected]

Note to editors: The accompanying photos are available below for download. Legend information follows.

  • Happy Little Trees T-Shirt Design: Each 5K 2022 participant will receive a T-shirt with this design, along with a finisher medal and commemorative bib number.
  • HLT 2022 Finisher Medal: Each participant will receive a finisher medal, a Happy Little souvenir t-shirt and a commemorative bib number.
  • Happy Little Trees 2021 participants: Alison Porter, of Southfield (left) and Kimberly Porter, of Farmington Hills (right), shared this photo with race organizers after completing their 2021 Happy Little Trees 5K 5K.
  • Happy Little Trees Ahead Sign: This Bob Ross-inspired sign is installed in state parks and recreation areas where trees supported by the program have been planted.