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.

 

August 2017

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

Saturday, August 26, 2017
Warren Woods State Park, 10 a.m. to 1 p.m.

Spend a day in the woods helping to protect native habitat with other Volunteer Stewards!  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, multi-flora rose 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 parking area using the entrance off of Elm Valley Rd.   GPS coordinates:  41.831896, -86.625056.

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
P.J. Hoffmaster State Park, 10 a.m. to 1 p.m.

Come help us protect our precious dunes and forest systems by taking out harmful invasive species that can alter habitat for native birds and plants!  Volunteers will be trained to identify and remove these unwanted plants to help protect our native forests. We will be traveling on and off trail and hiking up some steep dunes so please be prepared to spend the day in the woods in some tough terrain!  Join in by meeting at the Homestead Trail trailhead at the Gillette Visitor Center (located at the east end of the parking lot). GPS coordinates:  43.121436, -86.265354.

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
Warren Dunes State Park, 10 a.m. to 1 p.m.

Help keep our critical dunes free of invasive plants!  Volunteers will help remove common privet, Japanese barberry, non-native honeysuckle and other misfit plants from the nature trail before they spread to the high dunes.  No experience is necessary and volunteers will be trained to identify target species.  Meet at the picnic area south of the campground.   Travel past the park headquarters towards the campground; the picnic area will be on the left.  Please arrive on time as we will be hiking to the work location. GPS coordinates:  41.907001, -86.591755.

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
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.
 
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.

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.
 

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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