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.

 

September 2017

Saturday, September 23, 2017
Saugatuck  Dunes State Park, 10 a.m. to 1 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

Saturday, September 23, 2017
Sterling State Park, 10 a.m. to 1 p.m.
 
Join us for some fun native seed collecting. We will likely be collecting native prairie seed from grasses and possiby 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.

Saturday, September 30, 2017
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°18'40.7"N 85°21'37.9"W.

Saturday, September 30, 2017
Waterloo Recreation Area, 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. 
Celebrate National Public Lands Day with us! We will be searching for oriental bittersweet and invasive shrubs in the higher quality areas of McClure woods. Help us cut scattered, outlier invasives to keep them from taking over; the native flora and fauna will thank us. Please arrive on time so we can get a prompt start and cover a lot of ground. Meet at the park headquarters at 16345 McClure Road in Chelsea. GPS coordinates: 42.33298, -84.10672
 

October 2017 

Sunday, October 1, 2017
Algonac State Park, 10 a.m. to 1 p.m.
Join us for a lakeplain prairie seed collection day! Our focus will be to collect some early native prairie grasses like switch grass and cord grass. Meet on Roberts Road where the county drain crosses. From the headquarters, head north on M-29 and turn left onto Roberts Road. Roadside parking. GPS coordinates: 42.664105, -82.529852
 
Saturday, October 7, 2017 
Bald Mountain Recreation Area, 9 a.m. to 12 p.m. 
Aid restoration efforts at the Graham Lake fen complex by cutting and piling glossy buckthorn, a terrible wetland invader. 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. Rubber boots are available to borrow, upon request; first come first served (please specify size). 
 
Saturday, October 21, 2017 
Belle Isle Park, 9 a.m. to 12 p.m.
Our autumn stewardship Saturday project will include cutting invasive, non-native shrubs and stump treating them with herbicide to restore this special wet mesic flatwoods. Join us! Spotting invasive shrubs, which stay green longer than our natives, is easy this time of year so we can do a thorough job! 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). GPS coordinates: 42.340386, -82.968116
 
Saturday, October 21, 2017
Algonac State Park, 10 a.m. to 1 p.m.
Help us restore lakeplain prairies and oak openings by removing invasive shrubs. We will cut and stack these plants that threaten to take over in these globally rare ecosystems. Meet at the small parking lot on the east side of Marsh Road, just south of Swartout Road (on the park’s west side). From the park headquarters on M-29, drive north, turn left onto Roberts Road, then turn left when Roberts Road dead ends at Marsh Road. GPS coordinates: 42.65924, -82.54635 
 
Sunday, October 22, 2017
Highland Recreation Area, 10 a.m. to 1 p.m.
Join us for a fun native wildflower seed collection workday. It’s been several years since we collected seed at  Meet at the Silo Field Trial Area parking lot on Livingston Road, between Pettibone Lake and Beaumont Roads. GPS coordinates: 42.638344, -83.595671
 
Saturday, October 28, 2017 
Waterloo Recreation Area, 10 a.m. to 1 p.m.
We will be searching for oriental bittersweet and invasive shrubs in the higher quality areas of McClure woods. Help us cut scattered, outlier invasives to keep them from taking over; the native flora and fauna will thank us. Please arrive on time so we can get a prompt start and cover a lot of ground. Meet at the park headquarters at 16345 McClure Road in Chelsea. GPS coordinates: 42.33298, -84.10672
 
Sunday, October 29, 2017
Island Lake Recreation Area, 10 a.m. to 1 p.m.
Help collect seed from some of the later-blooming wildflowers like asters and goldenrods. Meet Take the only park road until you see signs (approx. 15 minutes from the entrance). Meet at the Dodge picnic area (approx. 15 minutes from the park entrance on Kensington Road) and hike about a half mile to get to the wildflower seed collection site. GPS coordinates: 42.50635,-83.7379 
 

November 2017

Saturday, November 4, 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
 
Saturday, November 4, 2017
Belle Isle Park, 9 a.m. to 12 p.m.
Join us for an extra stewardship Saturday! We are hoping this workday will fall in the window when the invasive, non-native shrubs we want to get rid of are still green and the native trees and shrubs have already changed colors. This makes spotting our targets a lot easier and we can thoroughly cover larger areas! Removing these shrubs and herbiciding their stumps will help us 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). GPS coordinates: 42.340386, -82.968116
 
Sunday, November 5, 2017 
Pinckney Recreation Area, 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. 
Help us remove invasive shrubs from this neat prairie and oak barrens. We will be cutting small autumn olive and any other shrubs that don’t belong. Help us protect this site and the cool native plants that live here! 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, November 11, 2017 
The Graham Lake Fen Complex needs our help. Come cut glossy buckthorn and other invasive 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. GPS coordinates: 42.786267, -83.190904 ***Waterproof boots, either knee-high rubber boots or hip waders, are recommended for this site. Rubber boots are available to borrow, upon request; first come first served (please specify size).
 
Sunday, November 12, 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 cut and herbicide invasive shrubs like autumn olive, honeysuckle and buckthorn. We’ll focus on cutting the shrubs that are starting to encroach into the prairies and hope that the rest were set back by our prescribed fire in the spring. Meet at the Riverbend Picnic Area parking lot. GPS coordinates: 42.504968, -83.709577
 
Saturday, November 18, 2017
Belle Isle Park, 9 a.m. to 12 p.m.
Our last stewardship Saturday of the year will be cutting invasive, non-native shrubs and stump treating them with herbicide to restore this special wet mesic flatwoods. Spotting invasive shrubs, which stay green longer than our natives, is easier this time of year so we can do a thorough job. Join us for our last stewardship Saturday of 2017! 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). GPS coordinates: 42.340386, -82.968116 
 

December 2017

Saturday, December 2, 2017 
Highland Recreation Area, Silo 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 Silo Field Trial Area parking lot off Livingston Road, between Pettibone Lake and Beaumont Roads. GPS coordinates: 42.638344, -83.595671
 
Saturday, December 2, 2017 
Waterloo Recreation Area, 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. 
We will remove invasive glossy buckthorn and others to restore this fen wetland; join in the fun! Our efforts will give the native, sun-loving prairie plants more room to grow and keep glossy buckthorn from invading. We'll be trekking deep into the fen so bring your sense of adventure. Meet at the small parking lot on the southeast corner of Glenn and Mt. Hope Roads. GPS coordinates: 42.3123,-84.2093 ***Waterproof boots, either knee-high rubber boots or hip waders, are recommended for this site. Rubber boots are available to borrow, upon request; first come first served (please specify size). 
 
Sunday, December 3, 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 continuing our work within Haven Hill Natural Area to remove large common buckthorn and other non-native, invasive shrubs. We want to keep these 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
 
Saturday, December 9, 2017 
Bald Mountain Recreation Area, 9 a.m. to 12 p.m. 
Join ongoing efforts to keep glossy buckthorn and other invasive shrubs in check in the Graham Lake Fen Complex. 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. Rubber boots are available to borrow, upon request; first come first served (please specify size). 
 
Sunday, December 10, 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 shrubs to keep it in good condition! We will be cutting small autumn olive and any other shrubs that don’t belong. Help us protect this site and the neat native plants that call it home! 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
 
 

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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