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 high-quality natural areas that are known or potential sites for species of greatest conservation need (species whose populations are rare or declining).

Ongoing workdays are held in Southeast 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.

and 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.

August 2015

Saturday, August 1, 2015
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

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

Volunteer Stewards will help with our on-going prairie restoration process at Fort Custer. When complete, this will be the largest restored prairie system in the state! We'll continue removal of non-native black locust from the grassy fields before they march across the habitat! Meet at the park Headquarters and we will caravan to the work site.  GPS coordinates:  42.324901, -85.351755

Sunday, August 2, 2015
Yankee Springs Recreation Area, 1 p.m. to 4 p.m.

Help us oust spotted knapweed from this beautiful isolated upland prairie! With the help of volunteers, we've been able to keep knapweed at bay and encourage native prairie grasses and forbs! Volunteers will take a short hike (about .75 miles) along the North Country Trail with Stewardship Intern Echo P. to our work location. Dress to be in an open, sunny area for the duration of the volunteer session. Meet at the North Country Trail parking area off of Yankee Springs Rd.  GPS coordinates:  42.605545, -85.462838

Sunday, August 2, 2015
Pinckney Recreation Area, 10 a.m. to 1 p.m.
Help volunteer steward, Sally R., remove invasive spotted knapweed, Japanese hedge parsley, mullein and hoary alyssum from special dry sand prairies and adjacent oak barrens. Help us pull these plants to make room for neat native wildflowers. Please wear long pants and long sleeves as some individuals are sensitive to spotted knapweed. Pulling knapweed requires wearing gloves, so if you have a favorite pair of work gloves please bring them. Gloves will also be available to borrow. Meet at the Halfmoon Lake parking lot off Hankerd Road. From North Territorial Road, take Hankerd Road north until you see the parking lot on the left. GPS coordinates: 42.416555, -83.998425 For day-of questions call Sally at 734-730-2143.

Sunday, August 2, 2015
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

Wednesday, August 5, 2015
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 8, 2015
Bald Mountain Recreation Area, 9 a.m. to noon
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.

Saturday, August 8, 2015
Muskegon State Park, 10 a.m. to 1 p.m.

Join in to help remove spotted knapweed! 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

Sunday, August 9, 2015
Grand Mere State Park, 1 p.m. to 4 p.m.

Enjoy a beautiful summer day at this nice reclaimed site with Stewardship Intern Echo P.! Volunteers will hand pull spotted knapweed and sweet clover from the open areas allowing native flora to grow and thrive! Please wear long sleeves and long pants as some may be sensitive to vegetation. We'll be working in the open sun so please also plan to bring a hat and plenty of water. Meet at the end of Willow Rd. From the main park entrance continue south on Thornton Dr. Turn right on Willow.  GPS coordinates:  41.985645, -86.553083

Sunday, August 9, 2015
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. 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 15, 2015
Belle Isle Park, 9 a.m. to noon
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 areas around the woods perimeter. Meet on Woodside Drive near Lakeside Drive. GPS coordinates: 42.3446 -82.9614 To register for this workday please sign up through the Belle Isle Conservancy's webpage

Sunday, August 16, 2015
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 also may cut and pile evergreens or foliar herbicide small autumn olive shrub resprouts. So, come for a smorgasbord of invasive plant control to maintain room for all of the neat native plants! 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

Sunday, August 16, 2015
Ludington State Park, 1 p.m. to 4 p.m.

Join Steward Echo P. as we work toward eradicating Japanese barberry from the dunes at Ludington State Park! These pesky plants have taken up residence in sheltered areas throughout the dune system. Removal will improve habitat for native plant and animal species. Long sleeves and long pants are recommended to protect against thorns. Meet at the main park entrance just past the ranger booth, near the warming shelter. We will caravan to the work location near Hamlin Dam so please arrive on time!  GPS coordinates: 44.032566, -86.505323

Saturday, August 22, 2015
Ionia State Recreation Area, 10 a.m. to 1 p.m.

Volunteer Stewards will continue searching for and removing invasive, non-native shrubs from the forests near Sessions Lake. Our targets will be honeysuckle, Japanese barberry and autumn olive. No experience is necessary to join in! Meet at the Point Picnic Area. Travel over the dam on the main park road and the picnic area will be on the right hand side.  GPS coordinates:  42.941662, -85.125227

Saturday, August 22, 2015
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 and then pile invasive shrubs like autumn olive and honeysuckle. Meet at the Riverbend Picnic Area parking lot. GPS coordinates: 42.504968, -83.709577

Sunday, August 23, 2015
Warren Woods State Park, 1 p.m. to 4 p.m.

Spend a day in the woods helping to protect native habitat! This beautiful example of beech-maple forest has some unwelcome visitors and we need your help to remove them. Volunteers will learn to identify Japanese barberry, privet and other invasive shrubs. We'll enjoy a nice walk through the woods while searching for small plants to treat with herbicide. Please wear long sleeves, pants and sturdy shoes to walk in the woods off of the trail. Meet at the main entrance off of Elm Valley Rd.  GPS coordinates:  41.831896, -86.625056

Sunday, August 23, 2015
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 a new area within Haven Hill Natural Area to remove some large common buckthorn shrubs. We want to keep this invasive, non-native shrub 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, August 29, 2015
Brighton Recreation Area, 10 a.m. to 1 p.m.
Removing invasive shrubs from this prairie fen will allow all of the neat native grasses and wildflowers to thrive. We hope to control an “island” of glossy buckthorn in what is otherwise a large open prairie fen. Meet on Bauer Road north of the Murray Lake campground entrance; look for a state truck. Roadside parking. GPS coordinates: 42.51420,-83.8120 ***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, August 29, 2015
P.J. Hoffmaster State Park, 10 a.m. to 1 p.m.

Come help us remove an overlooked population of barberry hiding in the dunes! This population, a remnant of a small nursery operation, is creeping into the critical dune and threatens to alter the forest understory. Volunteers will take a short hike from the XC ski parking area/trailhead to the work location. No experience is necessary and all equipment will be provided. Please arrive on time as we'll be hiking about ¾ to the work location.  GPS coordinates: 43.120481, -86.259108

Sunday, August 30, 2015
Saugatuck Dunes State Park, 1 p.m. to 4 p.m.

Volunteers are needed to help us protect the shifting ecology of the open dunes! Come enjoy the view while We will remove young saplings of Austrian and Scotch pine that threaten to take over one of the blowouts. We'll hike about a mile to the work location, please arrive on time. Please meet on time at the trailhead near the entrance to the Felt Mansion. GPS coordinates:  42.696444, -86.194773

September 2015

Saturday, September 12, 2015
Belle Isle Park, 9 a.m. to noon
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 areas around the perimeter. Meet at the Belle Isle Nature Zoo parking lot. GPS coordinates: 42.3471816,-82.964199 To register for this workday please sign up through the Belle Isle Conservancy's webpage

Sunday, September 13, 2015
Waterloo Recreation Area, 10 a.m. to 1 p.m.
We will remove invasive shrubs, especially glossy buckthorn, to restore this fen wetland. Join us for 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 and following up on areas we have not worked in for a few years. Follow-up shrub control is critical to staying ahead of invasives and this gorgeous wetland provides a scenic place to work. 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, 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 19, 2015
Bald Mountain Recreation Area, 9 a.m. to noon
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 26, 2015
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


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. 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 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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