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.

 

July 2017

Saturday, July 29, 2017
P.J. Hoffmaster State Park, 10 a.m. to 1 p.m.

Campers and volunteers are welcome to join in to remove spotted knapweed to prevent it from invading our dunes!  We’ll have gloves to lend but you are welcome to bring your own favorite pair.  Please also wear long sleeves and pants to protect your skin.  We’ll be working in the open sun so please also plan to bring a hat and plenty of water.  Meet at the day use/beach parking area.  Go past the entrance booth; turn right at the first road.   GPS coordinates:  43.126638, -86.273743.

Saturday, July 29, 2017
Island Lake Recreation Area, 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. 

Help keep our Meadow Unit prairie remnants and adjacent oak woodlands beautiful and full of native plants. Join us as we pull scattered Japanese hedge parsley and spotted knapweed. We may also cut and herbicide invasive shrubs. Meet at the Meadow Picnic Area parking lot. GPS coordinates: 42.5043,-83.7020  ***This site has been known to have ground-nesting, stinging insects; please bring your sting relief kit if you are allergic.

Saturday, July 29, 2017
Highland Recreation Area, Silo 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 Silo Field Trial Area parking lot off Livingston Road, between Pettibone Lake and Beaumont Roads. GPS coordinates: 42.638344, -83.595671

 

August 2017

Wednesday, August 2, 2017
Waterloo Recreation Area, 10 a.m. to 1 p.m.

Do you ever feel like pulling your hair out by the roots? Well, we have a different activity for you to do instead and you can pull until your heart's content and still save your hairdo! Join us as we pull spotted knapweed, a miserable invasive plant that has to be ripped out by hand. Pulling it is a great stress reliever and we unfortunately we have a large supply. Please wear long pants and long sleeves as some individuals are sensitive to this plant. Volunteer steward, Charity S. will be leading this workday; contact her with day-of questions at 517-522-5010 or 517-462-6999. 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.

Saturday, August 5, 2017
Island Lake 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. Removing this plant will improve habitat for native species and give the neat wildflowers more room to grow. Please wear long pants and long sleeves as some individuals are sensitive to this plant. Meet at the Dodge picnic area (approx. 15 minutes from the park entrance on Kensington Road). GPS coordinates: 42.50635,-83.7379

Saturday, August 5, 2017
Muskegon State Park, 10 a.m. to 1 p.m.

Join in to help remove spotted knapweed from these beautiful open dunes with Volunteer Steward Priscilla A.!   This invasive pest grows in open sun and sandy soils and has its sights set on our dunes!   You can help protect the dunes by preventing the spread of spotted knapweed.  We’ll have gloves to lend but you are welcome to bring your own favorite pair.  Please also wear long sleeves and pants to protect your skin.  We’ll be working in the open sun so please also plan to bring a hat and plenty of water.  Meet at the day use area parking just west of Channel campground (south end of the park). GPS coordinates: 43.230895, -86.335257.

Saturday, August 5, 2017
Holland State Park, 10 a.m. to 1 p.m.

Come help us remove spotted knapweed from the dune overlooking beautiful Lake Michigan with Explorer Guide Alissa!  We’ll be pulling this invasive herbaceous weed to help our native dune grasses become better established.  Long sleeves and long pants are recommended as some may be sensitive to this plant.  Please also plan to bring water as we’ll be working in the full sun and sturdy shoes for climbing.  Meet at the east end of the Lake Michigan beach parking lot (near the dune).  GPS Coordinates:  42.77443, -86.20933

Sunday, August 6, 2017
Warren Dunes State Park, 10 a.m. to 1 p.m.

Help us protect the dune system and rare/threatened thistle by removing spotted knapweed!  This sun-loving plant will crowd out our native flora if left unchecked.  Volunteers will focus on pulling plants from the critical area near the thistle plants.  Long sleeves are recommended as some can be sensitive to this plant.  Meet at the picnic area (Interpretive shelter) south of the campground.  GPS coordinates:  41.907001, -86.591755.

Sunday, August 6, 2017
Waterloo Recreation Area, 10 a.m. to 1 p.m.

We need your help hand pulling spotted knapweed, an invasive weed that could take over in this neat prairie remnant. Removing this plant will improve habitat for native species and give the native wildflowers more room to grow. Please wear long pants and long sleeves as some individuals are sensitive to this plant. We may also remove invasive shrubs from these prairie remnants at this workday. Meet on Waterloo Road just west of M-52. 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.

Saturday, August 12, 2017
Yankee Springs Recreation Area, 10 a.m. to 1 p.m.

Volunteers can enjoy a beautiful walk along the North Country Trail and a nice morning in the prairie with Volunteer Steward Beth W.!  We’ll work together to help protect this unique upland prairie by pulling spotted knapweed. Meet at the North Country Trail parking area off of Yankee Springs Rd.  Please arrive on time as we’ll enjoy a short hike to the work location. Long sleeves and long pants are recommended as some people may be sensitive to this plant.  GPS coordinates: 42.605545, -85.462838.

Saturday, August 12, 2017
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.

Sunday, August 13, 2017
Pinckney Recreation Area, 10 a.m. to 1 p.m.

Hankerd dry sand prairie and oak barrens is a neat place that needs ongoing removal of invasive plants to keep it in good condition! We may be pulling spotted knapweed, so please wear long pants and long sleeves as some individuals are sensitive to this plant. We may also cut or foliar herbicide small autumn olive shrubs. So, come for a smorgasbord of invasive plant control to maintain this special ecosystem and the neat native plants that grow here! 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: 42.416555, -83.998425

Saturday, August 19, 2017
Muskegon State Park, 10 a.m. to 1 p.m.
Join in to help remove spotted knapweed from these beautiful open dunes!   This invasive pest grows in open sun and sandy soils and has its sights set on our dunes!   You can help protect the dunes by preventing the spread of spotted knapweed.  We’ll have gloves to lend but you are welcome to bring your own favorite pair.  Please also wear long sleeves and pants to protect your skin.  We’ll be working in the open sun so please also plan to bring a hat and plenty of water.  Meet at the first beach parking area south of the entrance booth.  GPS coordinates: 43.23663, -86.34196.

Saturday, August 19, 2017
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 scattered shrubs throughout the woodland. The site may be wet or muddy so please bring appropriate footwear or wear old shoes and clothes you don’t mind getting dirty. Meet on Woodside Drive near Lakeside Drive and Central Avenue. GPS coordinates: 42.3446 -82.9614

Sunday, August 20, 2017
Highland Recreation Area, 10 a.m. to 1 p.m.

Want to help remove invasive shrubs from a high quality natural area? Then join us! We’ll be cutting in an area within Haven Hill Natural Area to remove scattered shrubs. We want to keep these invasive, non-native shrubs from moving farther into this beautiful 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  Please arrive early as we may caravan to another parking area closer to the worksite.

Saturday, August 26, 2017
Island Lake Recreation Area, 10 a.m. to 1 p.m.

Help us remove invasive shrubs from the edges of prairies. Our spring prescribed burn helped set back many of the invasive shrubs, but let’s go after any that remain to allow all of the neat native grasses and wildflowers to thrive. Meet at the Meadow Picnic Area parking lot. GPS coordinates: 42.5043,-83.7020

Sunday, August 27, 2017
Saugatuck Dunes State Park, 1 p.m. to 4 p.m.

Let’s keep invasive shrubs out of our beautiful dunes by removing pesky Japanese barberry and other unwanted plants like privet and autumn olive 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 trailhead near the entrance to the Felt Mansion. We’ll hike about a mile to the work location along the South Trail.  GPS coordinates: 42.69606, -86.19442. 

Sunday, August 27, 2017
Waterloo Recreation Area, 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. 

Join invasive shrub removal efforts to restore this prairie. It’s fun and will give the native, sun-loving prairie plants more room to grow. Our spring prescribed burn helped set back many of the invasive shrubs, but let’s go after any that remain and reclaim the prairie openings! Meet on Waterloo Road just west of M-52. 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.

September 2017

Saturday, September 9, 2017
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 scattered shrubs throughout the woodland. The site may be wet or muddy so please bring appropriate footwear or wear old shoes and clothes you don’t mind getting dirty. Meet at the Belle Isle Nature Center parking lot. GPS coordinates: 42.3471816,-82.964199

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

We will continue to remove invasive shrubs to restore these prairie remnants. Join us for the fun! Our shrub cutting efforts will give the native, sun-loving prairie plants more room to grow. Meet on Waterloo Road just west of M-52. 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.

Saturday, September 16, 2017
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.

Saturday, September 23, 2017
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 and wildflowers to restore lakeplain prairie. Meet at the park headquarters at 2800 State Park Road, Monroe, MI 48162. GPS coordinates: 41.92390,-83.3455

Sunday, September 24, 2017
Pinckney Recreation Area, 10 a.m. to 1 p.m.

This neat sand prairie and oak barrens needs ongoing removal of invasive plants to keep it in good condition! Our spring prescribed burn helped set back many of the invasive shrubs, but let’s go after any that remain! Removing invasive shrubs will allow all of the neat native grasses and wildflowers to thrive. 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: 42.416555, -83.998425.

 

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.

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