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.

 

May 2017

Saturday, May 20, 2017
Belle Isle Park, 9 a.m. to 12 p.m.

Join the DNR and Belle Isle Conservancy for stewardship Saturdays. Our May project will include searching for and pulling a non-native, invasive woodland weed called garlic mustard to restore the rare wet mesic flatwoods forest on the island. Meet on Central Avenue, just east of Portage Way. GPS coordinates: 42.34291, -82.97675

Saturday, May 20, 2017
Waterloo Recreation Area, 9 a.m. to 12 p.m.

Join volunteer steward, Sheila B. to hand pull garlic mustard from the neat woods near the Discovery Center. Help keep this invasive weed from taking over a nice woodland and displacing native plants. We need your help to remove this plant before it goes to seed and it’s easy to pull. Contact Sheila with any day-of questions at 734-972-1428. Meet at the Discovery Center lower parking lot. GPS coordinates: 42.32432, -84.08528

Saturday, May 20, 2017
Saugatuck Dunes State Park; 10 a.m. to 1 p.m.

Join us as we work to eliminate garlic mustard from the forests near the day use area with Volunteer Steward Paul J.!  Pulling garlic mustard will help us prevent any seeds from ‘hitchhiking’ along the trails and further into the forest.  Come enjoy a day outdoors and stay to enjoy the trails and the beach!  Please arrive on time as we may need to take a short, group hike to another work location Meet at the small parking area adjacent to the Felt Mansion.   Meeting location:   42.696444, -86.194773

Sunday, May 21, 2017
Warren Dunes State Park, 1 p.m. to 4 p.m.

Spring is a great time to be at Warren Dunes!   Enjoy meeting fellow stewards and budding wildflowers while removing harmful garlic mustard plants throughout the park!  Removing this unwelcome weed will help improve forest conditions for native species.  No experience is necessary to join in but, although discouraged for regular park visitors, we will be working off trail.  Please wear appropriate footwear and clothing for climbing.  Meet at the organizational campground parking area on Floral Lane.     Meeting location:  41.921620, -86.578874.

Sunday, May 21, 2017
Highland Recreation Area, 10 a.m. to 1 p.m

Join volunteer steward Betsy P. for a garlic mustard pull in high quality woodlands at Highland Recreation Area. We need help pulling this non-native, invasive plant to keep it from spreading! 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 Please arrive on time as we may have a decent hike to our work location.

Sunday, May 21, 2017
Pinckney Recreation Area, 10 a.m. to 1 p.m.

Help volunteer steward Sally R. remove garlic mustard and other invasive plants from special dry sand prairies and their adjacent savannas and woodlands. Help us pull these plants to make room for neat native wildflowers. Meet at the Halfmoon Lake parking lot off Hankerd Road. GPS coordinates: 42.414,-83.9955 From North Territorial Road, take Hankerd Road north until you see the parking lot on the left. For day-of questions call Sally at 734-730-2143.

Thursday, May 25, 2017
Waterloo Recreation Area, 10 a.m. to 1 p.m.

Enjoy an easy opportunity to give a little back to nature. A miserable, stinky, invasive weed, garlic mustard, is infiltrating high quality natural areas in the Waterloo Recreation Area. Happily, it is very easy and satisfying to pull...like cleaning a really dirty house you can quickly see where you've been and what you've accomplished. Bonus: it's a lot less work than housecleaning and it's outdoors to boot! This workday will be led by volunteer steward Charity S.; contact her at 517-522-5010 or 517-462-6999. Meet at the park headquarters at 16345 McClure Road in Chelsea. GPS coordinates: 42.33298, -84.10672 Please arrive on time, as you may caravan to a different site.

June 2017

Saturday, June 3, 2017
Highland Recreation Area, 10 a.m. to 1 p.m.

Join Steve P., volunteer steward, in pulling non-native, invasive garlic mustard from neat woodlands at Highland Recreation Area. See first-hand how this plant starts taking over in woodlands if we don’t do anything to stop it! 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 Please arrive on time as we may caravan to a different location. Day-of questions can be directed to Steve at 248-877-4386.

Saturday, June 3, 2017
Pinckney Recreation Area, 10 a.m. to 1 p.m.

Join us for our last chance to remove non-native garlic mustard from the woodlands near Hankerd Road before they set seed. Meet us at the Halfmoon Lake parking lot off Hankerd Road. GPS coordinates: 42.414,-83.9955 From North Territorial Road, take Hankerd Road north until you see the parking lot on the left.

Saturday, June 3, 2017
Warren Dunes State Park, 10 a.m. to 1 p.m.

Start the summer season by helping the park and having fun!  Volunteers will enjoy the trails and environment at Warren Dunes State Park while protecting native plants and animals.  We will be removing invading garlic mustard plants from along the trails near the beautiful Great Warren Dunes Natural Area.  Meet at the organizational campground parking area on Floral Lane.  Please arrive on time as we will take a short hike to the work location.  Meeting location:  41.921620, -86.578874.

Sunday, June 4, 2017
P.J. Hoffmaster State Park, 1 p.m. to 4 p.m.

Volunteer stewards will search the dunes along the popular and beautiful Homestead Trail.  Pulling garlic mustard is similar to weeding and is an enjoyable way to spend the morning in the woods.  Meet in the parking area in front of the Gillette Nature Center.  Please arrive on time as we will be hiking to the work location or caravanning to a different work site.  Meeting location:  43.121436, -86.265354.

Sunday, June 4, 2017
Island Lake Recreation Area, 10 a.m. to 1 p.m.

Help us make a push to get as much of the garlic mustard pulled before it goes to seed. We need lots of hands to pull these weedy, invasive plants. Meet at the Riverbend Picnic Area parking lot. GPS coordinates: 42.504968, -83.709577

Saturday, June 10, 2017
Bald Mountain Recreation Area, 9 a.m. to 12 p.m.

Let’s stop garlic mustard at its invading edge before it spreads farther into a high quality woodland. 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 Please arrive on time as we may split up into different groups to “divide and conquer” and travel to other areas of the park.

Saturday, June 10, 2017
Saugatuck Dunes State Park; 10 a.m. to 1 p.m.

Join us as we work to eliminate garlic mustard from the forests near the day use area.  Pulling garlic mustard will help us prevent any seeds from ‘hitchhiking’ along the trails and further into the forest.  Come enjoy a day outdoors and stay to enjoy the trails and the beach!  Please arrive on time as we may need to take a short, group hike to another work location Meet at the small parking area adjacent to the Felt Mansion.   Meeting location:  42.696444, -86.194773

Sunday, June 11, 2017
Warren Dunes State Park, 1 p.m. to 4 p.m.

Volunteer Stewards are needed to remove invasive garlic mustard, a non-native herbaceous plant that can take over our forested areas.  Volunteers should dress for walking in the woods (sturdy shoes) as we will be going off trail to find this unwanted invader.  Meet at the organizational campground parking area off of Floral Lane (north of the main park entrance on Red Arrow Hwy.).   Meeting location:  41.921620, -86.578874.

Sunday, June 11, 2017
Brighton Recreation Area, 10 a.m. to 1 p.m.

Like to kill weeds? Help restore woodlands by removing garlic mustard or help restore prairies by removing sweet clover and spotted knapweed that could otherwise take over. Please wear long pants and long sleeves as some individuals are sensitive to spotted knapweed. Meet at the Teahen prairie entrance (look for a state truck where Teahen Road makes a 90 degree turn). GPS coordinates: 42.48549,-83.82480 Roadside parking.

Thursday, June 15, 2017
Holland State Park, 10 a.m. to 1 p.m.

Come help us protect the resources of one of Michigan’s top destinations!  Volunteers are needed to help pull garlic mustard from the beautiful dunes and trail system next to the campground.  This invasive weed can take over the forest understory, making it hard for native wildflowers, ferns and saplings to thrive.  Please dress to work in the woods and wear comfortable walking or hiking shoes.  Volunteers should meet at the campground office; parking is available behind the office building.  Meeting location:  42.779777, -86.199487.

Saturday, June 17, 2017
P.J. Hoffmaster State Park, 10 a.m. to 1 p.m.

Volunteers will join in for our final garlic mustard pull of the season at Hoffmaster!   We’ve had a productive season and are getting closer to declaring this park garlic mustard free!  Volunteers will hike approximately ¾ mile to the work location and will be working in some uneven terrain, please wear sturdy shoes and plan to enjoy a beautiful walk in the woods.  This is our last chance to get garlic mustard this season so don’t miss out!  Meet in the parking area in front of the Gillette Nature Center.  Please arrive on time as we will be hiking to the work location or caravanning to a different work site.  Meeting location:  43.121436, -86.265354.

Saturday, June 17, 2017
Belle Isle Park, 9 a.m. to 12 p.m.

Join the DNR and Belle Isle Conservancy for stewardship Saturdays. Our June project will include searching for and pulling non-native, invasive woodland weeds including garlic mustard and Dame’s rocket to restore the rare wet mesic flatwoods forest on the island. Meet on Central Avenue, just east of Portage Way. GPS coordinates: 42.34291, -82.97675

Thursday, June 22, 2017
Holland State Park, 10 a.m. to 1 p.m.

Help us eradicate garlic mustard from the forested dunes at Holland State Park!  Campers, scouts and park visitors are welcome to join in the effort to protect the native ecosystem that will allow our native plants and wildflowers to thrive! No experience is necessary to join in.  Meet at the campground office parking area.  A limited number of parking spaces are available at the campground office.  Overflow parking may be available at the Lake Macatawa parking area (across from the campground) or at park headquarters.  Meeting location:  42.779777, -86.199487.

Saturday, June 24, 2016
Van Buren State Park, 10 a.m. to 1 p.m.

Help us eradicate these early established populations in the high-quality forested dune at VanBuren State Park! Volunteers will hike along one of the beautiful trails leading to Lake Michigan.   Meet at the small parking area on the west side of Ruggles Rd., across from the campground entrance.  Meeting location:  42.337019, -86.302092.

Saturday, June 24 2017
Pinckney Recreation Area, 10 a.m. to 1 p.m.

Keep spotted knapweed, Japanese hedge parsley and other invasive weeds at bay to protect the neat dry sand prairie and oak barrens near Hankerd Road. Wearing a long sleeved shirt, long pants and gloves is recommended as some individuals are sensitive to contact with spotted knapweed plants. Meet at the Halfmoon Lake parking lot closest to Hankerd Road. GPS coordinates: 42.414,-83.9955 From North Territorial Road, take Hankerd Road north until you see the parking lot on the left.

Sunday, June 25, 2017
Waterloo Recreation Area, 10 a.m. to 1 p.m.

Help hand pull spotted knapweed, an invasive weed that could take over in this neat prairie remnant. Efforts will allow neat native plants to thrive and support native fauna. Meet on Waterloo Road just west of M-52. Roadside parking. GPS coordinates: 42.34670,-84.04250 ***This site has been known to have ground-nesting, stinging insects; please bring your sting relief kit if you are allergic.

Wednesday, June 28, 2017  
Fort Custer Recreation Area, 10 a.m. to 12 p.m.

Seed collection efforts are underway for continued prairie restoration!  Volunteers will help harvest lupine seeds and maintain our prairie plant propagation area by pulling invasive weeds like sweet clover, mullein and spotted knapweed from the propagation area.  Please dress to be in the open sun.  Long  sleeves are recommended as some are sensitive to spotted knapweed.  Meet at the Whitford Lake parking area:  42°42°18'40.7"N 85°21'37.9"W.

Workday Details

Registration
Please complete a volunteer registration form. Alternatively, contact Laurel Malvitz-Draper at 517-719-2285 or malvitzl@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 Laurel Malvitz-Draper, malvitzl@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 Laurel Malvitz-Draper, Resource Steward for the Stewardship Unit, at 517-719-2285 or malvitzl@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