Calendar of Volunteer Stewardship Workdays

Prairie with blazing star plants in bloom Join us for fun activities year-round!
Workday dates, activities, and locations are listed below. Workdays are scheduled and posted quarterly. Please check this site to make sure you have the most up-to-date information since meeting locations may need to change.

Volunteer workdays focus on high-quality natural areas that are known sites or potential sites for species of greatest conservation need (species whose populations are rare or declining).

Ongoing workdays are held in:

Southeast Michigan:
Algonac State Park, Bald Mountain Recreation Area, Belle Isle Park, Brighton Recreation Area, Highland Recreation Area, Island Lake Recreation Area, Pinckney Recreation Area, Sterling State Park, and Waterloo Recreation Area.

Southwest Michigan:
Fort Custer Recreation Area, Grand Mere State Park, P.J. Hoffmaster State Park, Holland State Park, Ionia Recreation Area, Ludington State ParkMuskegon State Park, Saugatuck Dunes State Park, Warren Dunes State Park, Warren Woods State Park, and Yankee Springs Recreation Area.

To register for workdays submit a Stewardship Volunteer Registration form.

 

August 2016

Saturday, August 27, 2016
Saugatuck Dunes State Park, 10 a.m. to 1 p.m.

Come help us remove an overlooked population of barberry hiding in the dunes!  Volunteers will learn to identify these unwanted shrubs and will join in the effort to restore our native forest type by cutting and removing them.  Please meet on time at the trailhead near the entrance to the Felt Mansion. GPS coordinates: 42.696444, -86.194773.

Saturday, August 27, 2016
Brighton Recreation Area, 10 a.m. to 1 p.m.

Removing invasive shrubs from this prairie fen will allow all of the neat native grasses and wildflowers to thrive. We hope to either control an “island” of glossy buckthorn in what is otherwise a large open prairie fen or work along the edges of the fen. Meet on Bauer Road north of the Murray Lake campground entrance; look for a state truck. Roadside parking. GPS coordinates: 42.51420,-83.8120 ***Waterproof boots, either knee-high rubber boots or hip waders, are recommended for this site, but not necessary. Rubber boots are available to borrow, upon request. Old boots that you don’t mind getting muddy will work too.

Sunday, August 28, 2016
Bald Mountain Recreation Area, 9 a.m. to 12 p.m.

Help us stay ahead of the glossy buckthorn that threatens to take over this unique fen site. We will cut and pile these invasive shrubs. Meet at the East Graham Boat Launch parking lot on the north side of Predmore Road in the park’s North Unit. GPS coordinates: 42.786267, -83.190904 ***Waterproof boots, either knee-high rubber boots or hip waders, are recommended for this site, but not necessary. Rubber boots are available to borrow, upon request. Old boots that you don’t mind getting muddy will work too.


September 2016

Saturday, September 10, 2016
Belle Isle Park, 9 a.m. to 12 p.m.

Join the DNR and Belle Isle Conservancy for stewardship Saturdays. Our summer projects will include cutting invasive, non-native shrubs and stump treating them with herbicide to restore the wet mesic flatwoods.  We will focus on areas around the perimeter. Meet at the Belle Isle Nature Zoo parking lot. GPS coordinates: 42.3471816,-82.964199

Saturday, September 10, 2016
P.J. Hoffmaster State Park, 10 a.m. to 1 p.m.

Come help us protect our precious dunes and forest systems by taking out harmful invasive species that can alter habitat for native birds and plants!  Volunteers will be trained to identify and remove these unwanted plants to help protect our native forests. We will be traveling on and off trail and hiking up some steep dunes so please be prepared to spend the day in the woods in some tough terrain!  Join in by meeting at the Homestead Trail trailhead at the Gillette Visitor Center (located at the east end of the parking lot). GPS coordinates:  43.121436, -86.265354.

Sunday, September 11, 2016
Fort Custer Recreation Area, 10 a.m. to 1 p.m.

Help us collect native wildflower and grass seeds that will be replanted throughout the park!  This is a great activity for the family to enjoy the outdoors.  No experience is necessary and instruction on plant identification will be provided.  Meet at the Whitford Lake parking area and we’ll take a short walk to our plant propagation area.  Please dress to be in an open prairie area and be sure to bring along some water. GPS coordinates:  42.311302, -85.360534.

Sunday, September 11, 2016
Waterloo Recreation Area, 10 a.m. to 1 p.m.

We will start to remove invasive shrubs and oriental bittersweet from McClure woods, where we spend much of the spring pulling garlic mustard. Join us as we embark on this new journey! Our shrub cutting efforts will keep help keep this woodland more open and maintain room for native plants. We’ll be focusing on cutting oriental bittersweet to push back its spread. Meet at the park headquarters at 16345 McClure Road in Chelsea. GPS coordinates: 42.33298, -84.10672

Saturday, September 17, 2016
Bald Mountain Recreation Area, 9 a.m. to 12 p.m.

Glossy buckthorn, a non-native wetland invader, doesn’t stand a chance to take over if we keep removing it from this fen. Please join us in this effort! Meet at the East Graham Boat Launch parking lot on the north side of Predmore Road in the park’s North Unit. GPS coordinates: 42.786267, -83.190904 ***Waterproof boots, either knee-high rubber boots or hip waders, are recommended for this site, but not necessary. Rubber boots are available to borrow, upon request. Old boots that you don’t mind getting muddy will work too.

Sunday, September 18, 2016
Highland Recreation Area, 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. 

Help us keep invasive, non-native shrubs from moving farther into the beautiful woodlands in Haven Hill Natural Area. We will cut and herbicide and then pile these invasive shrubs to restore this high quality woodland. Meet at the bike trailhead parking lot on the north side of Livingston Road between Duck Lake and Waterbury Roads. GPS coordinates: 42.639536, -83.576926

Saturday, September 24, 2016
Sterling State Park, 10 a.m. to 1 p.m.

Celebrate National Public Lands Day with us! We will likely be collecting native prairie seed from grasses or wildflowers to restore lakeplain prairie. Meet at the park headquarters at 2800 State Park Road, Monroe, MI 48162. GPS coordinates: 41.92390,-83.3455

Saturday, September 24, 2016
Warren Dunes State Park, 10 a.m. to 1 p.m.
Help keep our critical dunes free of invasive plants!  Volunteers will help remove common privet, Japanese barberry, non-native honeysuckle and other misfit plants from the nature trail before they spread to the high dunes.  No experience is necessary and volunteers will be trained to identify target species.  Meet at the picnic area south of the campground.   Travel past the park headquarters towards the campground; the picnic area will be on the left.  Please arrive on time as we will be hiking to the work location. GPS coordinates:  41.907001, -86.591755.

Sunday, September 25, 2016
Yankee Springs Recreation Area, 1 p.m. to 4 p.m.

Enjoy your time outdoors and the satisfaction of helping protect our resources by volunteering near Deep Lake!  Volunteers will meet at the mountain bike trailhead and work to remove honeysuckle, autumn olive and other invasive shrubs from the forest near the campground.  It’s a great way to add an outdoor learning opportunity to your recreation experience at the park!  Meet at the mountain bike staging area off of Yankee Springs Rd.  GPS coordinates:  42°37'06.3"N 85°27'11.0"W.

Sunday, September 25, 2016
Pinckney Recreation Area, 10 a.m. to 1 p.m.

Help remove invasive shrubs from this dry sand prairie and oak barrens to allow all of the neat native grasses and wildflowers to thrive. There is a lot of autumn olive that needs to be cut and herbicided and then piled to keep the area open. Meet at the Halfmoon Lake parking lot to help out. From North Territorial Road, take Hankerd Road north until you see the entrance on the left. GPS coordinates: 42.414,-83.9955

October 2016

Saturday, October 1, 2016
Fort Custer Recreation Area, 10 a.m. to 1 p.m.

Help us collect native wildflower and grass seeds that will be replanted to restore native prairie within the park!  This is a great activity for the family to enjoy the outdoors together!  No experience is necessary and instruction on plant identification will be provided.  Meet at the Whitford Lake parking area and we’ll take a short walk to our plant propagation area.  Please dress to be in an open prairie area and be sure to bring along some water.  GPS coordinates:  42.311302, -85.360534

Sunday, October 2, 2016
Warren Dunes State Park, 1 p.m. to 4 p.m.

Help protect the forest system of this beautiful lakeside park.  We’ll cut some young black locust resprouts before moving through the nearby dunes.  Once our locust cut is complete, we’ll have a nice hike along the trail and dunes while searching for small multiflora rose, privet, Japanese barberry and other enemies of native ecosystems.    Meet at the organizational campground parking area on Floral Lane.  From there we will caravan to the worksite.  Please arrive on time.   Degree of difficulty:  Low.  GPS coordinates:   41.921620, -86.578874.

Saturday, October 8, 2016
Fort Custer Recreation Area, 10 a.m. to 1 p.m.

Your help is needed to gather seed from native forbs and grasses!  This is a great activity for families, students and others to learn about native species while taking part in the restoration process!  All collected seed will be used in our on-going restoration efforts.  No experience in plant identification or collection is necessary to enjoy this fun event!  Meet at the park headquarters and we will caravan to the work location.    GPS coordinates:  42.324901, -85.351755

Saturday, October 15, 2016
Muskegon State Park, 10 a.m. to 1 p.m.

Help us remove this landscape plant gone bad!  Japanese barberry is commonly planted as a landscape ornamental, but has escaped and is spreading in our forests and dunes!  Volunteer stewards have already removed an amazing amount of this nasty invader and we’re well on our way to removing all of it from the park.  Join in the effort to stop the spread!  No experience is necessary.   We will be removing plants along the Lost Lake trail from the Snug Harbor trailhead.  Meet in the Snug Harbor parking area (across from Park Headquarters).  Turn left (towards the boat launch) in the parking area to the Lost Lake trailhead. GPS coordinates:  43.248479, -86.345718

Sunday, October 16, 2016
Fort Custer Recreation Area, 1 p.m. to 4 p.m.

Take part in the largest native prairie restoration in the state by helping collect local seed from wild forbs and grasses!  We will collect native wildflower and grass seeds for restoration plantings.  No experience in plant identification is required.  Meet at the park headquarters and we will caravan to the work location.  Please dress to be in an open prairie area , long pants and long sleeves are recommended. GPS coordinates:  42.324901, -85.351755

Saturday, October 22, 2016
Fort Custer Recreation Area, 10 a.m. to 1 p.m.

Join the hunt for native species of wildflowers and grasses at Fort Custer!  Volunteer Stewards will search a restored prairie to collect seed from native wildflowers, such as black-eyed Susan, bee balm and coneflower.  This is a great activity for the family to enjoy the outdoors - no experience is necessary to take part!  Please dress to be in an open prairie area.  Meet at the park headquarters.  GPS coordinates:  42.324901, -85.351755

Sunday, October 23, 2016
Yankee Springs Recreation Area, 1 p.m. to 4 p.m.

Join in the effort to remove invasive woody shrubs like honeysuckle and autumn olive from the Deep Lake area.  Volunteer Stewards will work in and along the fen to protect this neat ecosystem.  Meet at the mountain bike parking area in Deep Lake Campground (off of Yankee Springs Rd.).  We’ll take a short walk south down the Deep Lake Trail to our worksite.  Please plan to arrive on time.  This site may be wet, rubber boots are recommended but old boots work as long as you don’t mind getting them muddy! GPS coordinates:  42.618415, -85.453048

Saturday, October 29, 2016
Fort Custer Recreation Area, 10 a.m. to 1 p.m.

Your help is needed to gather seed from native forbs and grasses!  This is a great activity for families, students and others to learn about native species while taking part in the restoration process!  All collected seed will be used in our on-going restoration efforts.  No experience in plant identification or collection is necessary to enjoy this fun event!  Meet at the park headquarters and we will caravan to the work location.    GPS coordinates:  42.324901, -85.351755

November 2016

Wednesday, November 2, 2016
Fort Custer Recreation Area, 10 a.m. to 1 p.m.

Help us collect native wildflower and grass seeds from the late bloomers like native asters throughout the park.  Collected seeds will be used to create a diverse mix of species for upcoming restoration plantings within the park.  Depending on seed availability, we may switch gears and work on invasive shrub removal.  Meet at the park headquarters and we will caravan to the work location. GPS coordinates:   42.324901, -85.351755

Saturday, November 12, 2016
Fort Custer Recreation Area, 10 a.m. to 1 p.m.

Join us as we continue to remove unwanted black locust invaders from the prairie fields at Fort Custer!  This non-native tree can easily take over open prairies and quickly crowd out native species of forbs and grasses.  Meet at the park headquarters and we will caravan to the work site.  GPS coordinates: 42.324901, -85.351755

Sunday, November 13, 2016
Yankee Springs Recreation Area, 1 p.m. to 4 p.m.

Spend the morning in the forest and help in our restoration efforts!  Volunteer Stewards will help us remove autumn olive, honeysuckle and other unwanted shrubs from this neat upland prairie and adjacent forest.  We’ll take a short walk down the North Country Trail to our worksite.   GPS coordinates:  42.605545, -85.462838.

Saturday, November 19, 2016
Saugatuck Dunes State Park, 10 a.m. to 1 p.m.

Let’s keep invasive shrubs out of our beautiful dunes by removing non-native honeysuckle, autumn olive and other unwanted plants from the forest!  Volunteers will learn to identify these unwanted shrubs and will join in the effort to restore our native forest type by cutting and removing them.  Please meet on time at the main entrance to the park at the end of 138th Avenue. We’ll hike the north trail to our work site so please plan to arrive on time.  GPS coordinates:  42.705085, -86.190674

Sunday, November 20, 2016
Warren Woods State Park, 1 p.m. to 4 p.m.

Come visit this beautiful example of primeval forest and work among the tall beech, maple and tulip poplars!  Volunteer Stewards are needed to help remove invasive species of common privet, barberry and multiflora rose that are hiding in the understory among these majestic trees.  No experience is necessary.  Meet at the main parking area off of Elm Valley Rd.  GPS coordinates:  41.831896, -86.625056

December 2016

Saturday, December 3, 2016
Muskegon State Park, 10 a.m. to 1 p.m.

Join in the effort to remove invasive shrubs from the Channel Campground before they have a chance to spread across the sensitive dunes!  Volunteers will learn to identify honeysuckle, autumn olive and Japanese barberry as well as gain hands-on experience in proper removal.  Meet at the day use area parking area just west of the Channel Campground.  GPS coordinates:  43.230895, -86.335257

Sunday, December 4, 2016
Fort Custer Recreation Area, 1 p.m. to 4 p.m.

Help us remove protect our native prairies from encroaching black locust!  Wind and cold won’t keep us from removing these nasty, clonal alien invaders!  Meet at the Park Headquarters and we’ll caravan to the work location.  GPS coordinates:  42.324901, -85.351755

Saturday, December 10, 2016
P.J. Hoffmaster State Park, 10 a.m. to 1 p.m.

Hardy hikers wanted!  Enjoy a nice fall day in the woods and help us search the dunes for unwanted rogue shrubs!  We’ll be going off trail to find small invasive plant populations before they turn into a big problem!  Meet at the entrance to the campground. Comfortable hiking boots are recommended as we plan on hiking both on and off trail. GPS coordinates:  43.137401, -86.269805.

Sunday, December 11, 2016
Warren Dunes State Park, 1 p.m. to 4 p.m.

Join us for a winter morning of invasive elimination along the beautiful dunes!  We will be cutting and stump treating scattered Japanese barberry and other rogue plants before they encroach further into the natural landscape.  No experience is necessary.  Meet at the organizational campground parking area on Floral Rd.  GPS coordinates:  41.921620, -86.578874.

Workday Details

Registration
Please complete a volunteer registration form. Alternatively, contact Echo Prafke-Marson at 517-719-2285 or prafkemarsone@michigan.gov to register for workdays in southeast Michigan or Heidi Frei at 517-202-1360 or freih@michigan.gov to register for workdays in southwest Michigan. Let them know the date and park of the workday(s) you plan to attend. Registering helps us plan the workdays more effectively so we have enough equipment and so we can divide into groups and assign tasks more easily.

Workday Cancellation
If a workday must be canceled due to inclement weather or for any other reason, a voice mail message saying so will be posted at 517-719-2285 for southeast or at 517-202-1360 for southwest Michigan at least two hours before the scheduled workday start time. If there is no cancellation message the workday will continue as planned.

Youth Volunteers and Groups
The Volunteer Steward program welcomes working with youth, students and scouts! All minors (under 18) must be accompanied by a parent or guardian. The accompanying parent/guardian must sign a Volunteer Release and Waiver of Liability form for the minor. If participating with an organized group (i.e. scouts, school groups), the group leader may sign instead. Workday activities often can accommodate groups but advanced registration is strongly encouraged for groups larger than five. This helps us plan for equipment and ensures that all participants are suited to the day's task. All youth groups must have an age-appropriate adequate ratio of adult to youth participants. Volunteer Steward workday leaders reserve the right to deny participation to unaccompanied minors or anyone due to misconduct or unsafe behavior. Please feel free to contact your regional Natural Resource Steward if you have any questions.

The Volunteer Steward program is primarily focused on hands-on restoration with education as a secondary goal. We welcome service learning opportunities, but the emphasis and the majority of time will be spent on hands-on projects in the field. Classrooms and student groups interested in an interpretive experience should contact the park visitor center or Explorer Guide.

Park Map and Directions
Click on the name of the park or recreation area above to view the park's webpage. From the park webpage you can print a "Unit Map" and get directions to the park.

What to Wear and Bring
Please remember to wear appropriate clothing for outdoor work, including long pants and work boots. Please also bring drinking water, work gloves, and eye protection (especially prescription safety glasses). Waterproof boots, either knee-high rubber boots or hip waders, are recommended for fen and other wetland sites. If you don't have waterproof boots and would like to borrow a pair, please note that when you register and we will try to provide them.

What NOT to Bring
Be sure your outerwear, gloves, and boots are free of mud and hitchhiking seeds before coming to the workday. We don't want to inadvertently spread invasive plant seeds into these high quality natural areas.

Stewardship Announcements
Would you like to receive workday reminders and general stewardship information via email? Please email a list of the parks that you are interested in to Echo Prafke-Marson, prafkemarsone@michigan.gov for southeast Michigan parks or Heidi Frei, freih@michigan.gov for southwest Michigan parks. Please choose from the parks listed at the top of this page.

Recreation Passport
Please support Michigan's state parks and recreation areas by purchasing a Recreation Passport. For more information, please visit www.michigan.gov/recreationpassport

Want to get more involved?
The Volunteer Steward Program provides volunteers with additional ways to get involved and make a unique commitment, both individually and as part of a team.

Questions?
Please contact Echo Prafke-Marson, Resource Steward for the Stewardship Unit, at 517-719-2285 or prafkemarsone@michigan.gov with any questions about volunteering in southeast Michigan parks.

Please contact Heidi Frei, Resource Steward for the Stewardship Unit, at 517-202-1360 or freih@michigan.gov with any questions about volunteering in southwest Michigan parks.

Top of Page