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.

February 2017

Saturday, February 25, 2017

Yankee Springs Recreation Area, 10 a.m. to 1 p.m.
Volunteers will help continue our efforts to remove pesky autumn olive and honeysuckle from our prescribed burn management area near Deep Lake.  In the event of deep snow, snow shoes might be helpful but not necessary.   If snowfall prohibits parking in this area, we may change locations and park at the Scenic Pines lot on Gun Lake road.  GPS coordinates:  42°37'06.3"N 85°27'11.0"W.

March 2017

Saturday, March 4, 2017
Waterloo Recreation Area, 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. 

We will remove shrubs from this area to restore a fen wetland; join in the fun! Our shrub cutting efforts will give the native, sun-loving prairie plants more room to grow and keep glossy buckthorn from invading. We'll be covering as much ground as possible, if snow depths allow. Meet at the small parking lot on the southeast corner of Mt. Hope and Glenn Roads. GPS coordinates: 42.3123,-84.2093 ***Waterproof boots, either knee-high rubber boots or hip waders, are recommended for this site. Knee-high rubber boots are available to borrow, upon request (please specify size). Availability is limited; first come, first served.

Sunday, March 5, 2017
Highland Recreation Area, 1 p.m. to 4 p.m. 
Stop common buckthorn and others from invading this beautiful natural area. We will work from the outliers back to larger patches to stop the spread of these plants into Haven Hill Natural Area. 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, March 11, 2017
Bald Mountain Recreation Area, 9 a.m. to 12 p.m.

Glossy buckthorn and other invasive, non-native shrubs, continue to slowly move into the Graham Lake Fen area. Let’s stop them in their tracks and protect this rare type of wetland. 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. Knee-high rubber boots are available to borrow, upon request (please specify size). Availability is limited; first come, first served.

Sunday, March 12, 2017
Pinckney Recreation Area, 1 p.m. to 4 p.m. 

Come out and help remove invasive shrubs that don't belong in this dry sand prairie and oak barrens, making room for neat native plants. Meet at the Halfmoon Lake entrance to help out. From North Territorial Road, take Hankerd Road north until you see the entrance on the left. GPS coordinates: 42.4140822,-83.9927

Saturday, March 18, 2017
Belle Isle Park, 9 a.m. to 12 p.m.

Join the DNR and Belle Isle Conservancy for stewardship Saturdays. Our winter project will focus on cutting invasive shrubs, especially glossy and common buckthorn and honeysuckle, to restore the wet mesic flatwoods on the island. We will work in areas that are wet much of the year and (hopefully) have an easier time getting through them while things are frozen. Meet on Woodside Drive at the trailhead parking area just north of the canal bridge. From The Strand, pass the athletic fields and Vista Drive then turn left at the next road (there is a brick bathroom building at the corner). GPS coordinates: 42.340386, -82.968116

Saturday, March 18, 2017
Highland Recreation Area, Barn Field Trial Area, 9 a.m. to 3 p.m.

Join ongoing efforts to restore this area to an open grassland. Volunteers will be hauling and piling brush and stacking fire wood. Meet at the Barn Field Trial Area parking lot on the north side of Cooley Lake Road between Duck Lake and Beaumont Roads. GPS coordinates: 42.6105,-83.5857

Sunday, March 19, 2017
Island Lake Recreation Area, 1 p.m. to 4 p.m. 

Help remove autumn olive and other invasive shrubs from the Meadow unit. We need your help to restore these prairies and adjacent woodlands! This work will give native flora and fauna a fighting chance. Meet at the Meadow Picnic Area parking lot. GPS coordinates: 42.5043,-83.7020

Saturday, March 25, 2017
Highland Recreation Area, 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. 

If the ground has thawed, we will be pulling garlic mustard. Otherwise we will continue cutting invasive shrubs in Haven Hill Natural Area. 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


Workday Details

Please complete a volunteer registration form. Alternatively, contact Laurel Malvitz-Draper at 517-719-2285 or to register for workdays in southeast Michigan or Heidi Frei at 517-202-1360 or 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 Laurel Malvitz-Draper, for southeast Michigan parks or Heidi Frei, 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

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.

Please contact Laurel Malvitz-Draper, Resource Steward for the Stewardship Unit, at 517-719-2285 or with any questions about volunteering in southeast Michigan parks.

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

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