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Enjoy state parks and protect natural areas by volunteering for stewardship days

Contact: Heidi Frei, 269-685-6851, ext. 147 or Sarah Lapshan, 517-335-3014
Agency: Natural Resources

June 28, 2013

State recreation officials encourage area residents to get out and enjoy state parks and recreation areas in southwestern Michigan and help protect habitat this summer. The schedule of volunteer stewardship activities for the month of July throughout southwestern Michigan state parks and recreation areas was recently announced. Volunteering for these workdays is a great way to Go Get Outdoors in many of Michigan's cherished state parks, breathe some fresh air, have fun, and get a bit of exercise while enjoying beautiful scenery and precious landscapes.

Volunteers are needed to help remove invasive, non-native shrub species that negatively impact forests and other systems. Some of these plants, such as Japanese barberry and common privet - often planted in home landscapes - now threaten to change habitat for birds and other species. Volunteers will learn to identify these plants and make a big impact by properly removing them from natural areas. No experience is necessary, and training and equipment are provided.

Dates, times and locations of group workdays are as follows:

  • Saturday, July 13 - Muskegon State Park (Muskegon County); 10 a.m. to 1 p.m.
  • Sunday, July 14 - Grand Mere State Park (Berrien County), 10 a.m. to 1 p.m.
  • Saturday, July 20 - Fort Custer Recreation Area (Kalamazoo County), 10 a.m. to 1 p.m.
  • Sunday, July 21 - Yankee Springs Recreation Area (Barry County), 10 a.m. to 1 p.m.
  • Saturday, July 27 - Warren Woods State Park (Berrien County), 10 a.m. to 1 p.m.
  • Sunday, July 28 - Muskegon State Park (Muskegon County), 10 a.m. to 1 p.m.

Volunteers should wear appropriate clothing for outdoor work, including long pants and sturdy closed-toe shoes, and bring gloves and drinking water. All volunteers are asked to register in advance. Please contact Heidi Frei at 269-685-6851, ext. 147 or freih@michigan.gov for registration or questions about the Volunteer Steward workdays.

The Volunteer Steward program is part of the Parks and Recreation Division, Stewardship Unit's mission to "preserve, protect and restore the natural and cultural resources present within Michigan state parks for this and future generations." For information about the activities at each workday, to find directions or park information, and to check the Volunteer Steward calendar of events, visit the DNR website at www.michigan.gov/dnrvolunteers and link to the "Calendar of Volunteer Stewardship Workdays."

The Michigan Department of Natural Resources is committed to the conservation, protection, management, use and enjoyment of the state's natural and cultural resources for current and future generations. For more information, go to www.michigan.gov/dnr.

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