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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 are sponsored by the State Park Stewardship Unit to help protect and restore natural areas at eighteen parks in our state park system, across southern Michigan.  We focus on natural areas that are known or potential sites for species of greatest conservation need.

Ongoing workdays are held in southern Michigan at:
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.

in Southwest Michigan at:
Fort Custer Recreation Area, Grand Mere State Park, P.J. Hoffmaster State Park, Ionia Recreation Area, Muskegon 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.  For Belle Isle Park workdays only please sign up through the Belle Isle Conservancy's webpage.

 
February 2015

Saturday, February 7, 2015
Waterloo Recreation Area, 10 a.m. to 1 p.m.

Help us cut large patches as well as scattered outlier glossy buckthorn plants to keep this invasive species from taking over in this rare wetland; the native flora and fauna will thank us. Meet at the small parking lot on the southeast corner of Mt. Hope and Glenn Roads. ***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. Availability is limited; first come, first served.

Saturday, February 7, 2015
Yankee Springs Recreation Area, 10 a.m. to 1 p.m.

Invasive shrub work to protect habitats near Deep Lake continues! Volunteers are needed to help us cut and remove unwanted shrubs, such as autumn olive and non-native honeysuckle. We’ll also keep our eyes peeled for buckthorn. No experience is necessary and volunteers will be trained to identify unwanted invaders. Meet at the mountain bike/Deep Lake trailhead in the Deep Lake Campground. We’ll follow the Deep Lake trail to hike to the southern fen along Deep Lake, please arrive on time! If snowfall prohibits parking in this area, we may change locations and park at the Scenic Pines lot on Gun Lake road.

Sunday, February 8, 2015
Highland Recreation Area, 1 p.m. to 4 p.m.

The special woodlands in Haven Hill Natural Area need your help! Please join us as we remove shrubs that are encroaching on these important ecosystems and crowding out native species. Meet at the Goose Meadow Picnic area parking lot a few minutes south of the park entrance on M-59.

Saturday, February 14, 2015
Muskegon State Park, 10 a.m. to 1 p.m.

Show your love and appreciation for our natural resources and Muskegon State Park! Volunteer stewards will continue work clearing the forest understory of multiflora rose and Japanese barberry to make room for regeneration of white pine, cedar and other native species along the Lost Lake trail. Meet at the day use area parking lot at Snug Harbor, across from Park Headquarters (South Entrance) on Memorial Drive.

Saturday, February 14, 2015
Bald Mountain Recreation Area, 9 a.m. to noon

The Graham Lake Fen Complex needs your help. Come cut and pile the glossy buckthorn and other shrubs that threaten this unique ecosystem. Meet at the East Graham Boat Launch parking lot on the north side of Predmore Road in the park's North Unit. ***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. Availability is limited; first come, first served.

Saturday, February 14, 2015
Highland Recreation Area, Silo Field Trial Area, 9 a.m. to 1 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.

Sunday, February 15, 2015
Pinckney Recreation Area, 1 p.m. to 4 p.m.

Thickets of shrubs don't belong in these mesic and wet mesic prairies. Help remove them and make room for some neat, native plants. Meet at the South Lake boat launch parking lot on Joslin Lake Road. From North Territorial Road, take Joslin Lake Road north until you see the boating access site on your left. Please arrive early so we can carpool closer to the worksite and park in limited spots along Boyce Road. ***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. Availability is limited; first come, first served.

Saturday, February 21, 2015
Belle Isle Park, 9 a.m. to 12 p.m.

Join the DNR and Belle Isle Conservancy for stewardship Saturdays. Our winter project will be cutting invasive shrubs, especially glossy and common buckthorn and honeysuckle, to restore the wet mesic flatwoods on the island. Meet on Woodside Drive at the trailhead parking area just north of the canal bridge on the left. 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). To register for this workday please sign up through the Belle Isle Conservancy's webpage

Saturday, February 21, 2015
Ionia State Recreation Area, 9 a.m. to 2 p.m.

Join in the effort to remove exotic woody shrubs like autumn olive to improve habitat for migratory bird species! No experience is necessary; training and all equipment will be provided. Meet at the Field Trial Headquarters on Harwood Rd. (travel east of the main park entrance along David Hwy to Harwood).

Sunday, February 22, 2015
Saugatuck Dunes State Park, 1 p.m. to 4 p.m.

Lend a hand during National Invasive Species Week! Invasive species are a major threat to habitat and biodiversity of our native landscapes. Fortunately, you can help as we remove black locust and other invasive species from the park entrance. Don’t forget your hiking boots or snow shoes to enjoy the park after the workday! Meet at the main day use area parking lot near the end of 138th Ave.


Sunday, February 22, 2015
Brighton Recreation Area, 1 p.m. to 4 p.m.

Glossy buckthorn and other invasive shrubs need to be set back on an "island" of shrubs in the middle of an otherwise nice prairie fen. Help us remove it! Meet on Bauer Road north of the Murray Lake campground entrance; look for a state truck. Roadside parking.

Saturday, February 28, 2015
Fort Custer Recreation Area, 10 a.m. to 1 p.m.

Prairie restoration is a year-round project! This winter, we are continuing to remove pesky black locust saplings while their numbers are still small. We’ll be working in one of the open restored areas along the drive to Whitford Lake so please dress accordingly as it could be windy! Snow shoes might be helpful but not necessary. Please meet at the park headquarters and we will caravan to the work site.

Saturday, February 28, 2015
Island Lake Recreation Area, 10 a.m. to 1 p.m.

Assist us in clearing out invasive shrubs that could take over this woodland, crowd out native plants, and make pulling invasive garlic mustard in the spring very difficult! We will work in the area where oak trees (killed by oak wilt) were removed last year. Meet at the Meadow Picnic Area parking lot.

March 2015

Sunday, March 1, 2015
Highland Recreation Area, 1 p.m. to 4 p.m.

Want to help remove invasive shrubs from a high quality natural area? Then join us! We'll be removing a smorgasbord of invasive shrub species and we need your help. Meet at the Goose Meadow Picnic area parking lot a few minutes south of the park entrance on M-59.

Saturday, March 7, 2015
Ionia State Recreation Area, 10 a.m. to 1 p.m.

Enjoy a scenic hike along Sessions Lake as we travel to our work location! We are on the lookout for invasive honeysuckle, Japanese barberry and autumn olive that threaten this parks beautiful wooded habitats. We’ll take a short hike along the Sessions Lake trail to the work location near Sessions Creek. Meet at the peninsula picnic area, past the mountain bike trailhead and before the campground. Please arrive on time as we will enjoy an easy hike to the work site.

Saturday, March 7, 2015
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. ***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. Availability is limited; first come, first served.

Sunday, March 8, 2015
Pinckney Recreation Area, 1 p.m. to 4 p.m.

Come out and help remove shrubs that don't belong in this wet prairie, making room for neat native plants. Meet at the South Lake boat launch parking lot on Joslin Lake Road. From North Territorial Road, take Joslin Lake Road north until you see the boating access site on your left. Please arrive early so we can carpool closer to the worksite and park in limited spots along Boyce Road. ***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. Availability is limited; first come, first served.

Saturday, March 14, 2015
Yankee Springs Recreation Area, 10 a.m. to 1 p.m.

Come enjoy the views of Deep Lake as you work to protect this fen from encroaching invasive species! We’ll remove autumn olive, honeysuckle and buckthorn from the area just north of Deep Lake. Meet at the mountain bike staging area in the Deep Lake campground. We’ll enjoy a nice hike to the work location.

Saturday, March 14, 2015
Bald Mountain Recreation Area, 9 a.m. to noon

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. ***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. Availability is limited; first come, first served.

Sunday, March 15, 2015
Island Lake Recreation Area, 1 p.m. to 4 p.m.

Help cut autumn olive and other invasive shrubs from the Meadow picnic area entrance. Several oak trees were removed from this area last year after dying from oak wilt which has allowed the autumn olive to grow vigorously. We need your help to open this area back up! This will give native plants a fighting chance and make accessing patches of garlic mustard (another invasive plant) easier in the spring! Meet at the Meadow Picnic Area parking lot.

Saturday, March 21, 2015
Fort Custer Recreation Area, 10 a.m. to 1 p.m.

Get in touch with your green side by helping to protect habitat at Fort Custer! Volunteers will continue efforts to remove invasive woody shrubs before they begin to leaf out in the spring. No experience is necessary to take part! Meet at the park headquarters on the main park entrance road. Please arrive on time as we will need to caravan to the work location.

Saturday, March 21, 2015
Belle Isle Park, 9 a.m. to 12 p.m.

Join the DNR and Belle Isle Conservancy for stewardship Saturdays. Our winter project will be cutting invasive shrubs, especially glossy and common buckthorn and honeysuckle, to restore the wet mesic flatwoods on the island. Meet on Woodside Drive at the trailhead parking area just north of the canal bridge on the left. 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). To register for this workday please sign up through the Belle Isle Conservancy's webpage

Saturday, March 21, 2015
Highland Recreation Area, Barn Course Field Trial Area, 9 a.m. to 3 p.m.

Join ongoing efforts to restore this area to 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.

Sunday, March 22, 2015
Brighton Recreation Area, 1 p.m. to 4 p.m.

Stop glossy buckthorn from invading this prairie fen. We will finish up working on the "island" and then do some follow-up cutting along the edge between wetland and upland. Meet on Bauer Road north of the Murray Lake campground entrance; look for a state truck. Roadside parking.

Saturday, March 28, 2015
Island Lake 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. Meet at the Meadow Picnic Area parking lot.

Saturday, March 28, 2015
Saugatuck Dunes State Park, 10 a.m. to 1 p.m.

Join in to help protect this critical dune system! Non-native honeysuckle, Japanese barberry and other invasive shrubs are encroaching upon the dune and native forest system. By removing this population while it’s small, we’ll be doing a huge service protecting the whole dune! Don’t forget your hiking boots to enjoy the park after the workday! Meet at the main day use area parking lot near the end of 138th Ave.

Sunday, March 29, 2015
Warren Dunes State Park, 1 p.m. to 4 p.m.

Let’s work together to rid this popular park of Ailanthus, autumn olive, honeysuckle and other non-native invasive plants! We may even be able to get a head start on garlic mustard! Volunteers will work within the woodlots to protect the native forest from these exotic pests! Meet at the organizational campground off of Floral Lane.

Sunday, March 29, 2015
Highland Recreation Area, 10 a.m. to 1 p.m.

If the ground has thawed, join us in removing garlic mustard (Alliaria petiolata) that threatens to take over the unique woodlands in Highland Recreation Area. Otherwise we will be cutting invasive shrubs and vines. Meet at the bike trailhead parking lot on the north side of Livingston Road between Duck Lake and Waterbury Roads. Please arrive on time as we may have a decent hike to our work location.


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 269-685-6851 x147 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. For Belle Isle Park workdays only please sign up through the Belle Isle Conservancy's webpage. Contact Erica Hill at hille@belleisleconservancy.org or 313-331-7760 with questions.

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 269-685-6851 x147 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.

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 269-685-6851 x147 or freih@michigan.gov with any questions about volunteering in southwest Michigan parks.

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