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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 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.

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.

 
October 2014

Saturday, October 25, 2014
Fort Custer Recreation Area, 10 a.m. to 1 p.m.

Join the hunt for native species of wildflowers and grasses at Fort Custer! Volunteer Stewards will search a restored prairie to collect seed from native wildflowers, such as black-eyed Susan, bee balm and coneflower. This is a great activity for the family to enjoy the outdoors - no experience is necessary to take part! Please dress to be in an open prairie area. Meet at the park headquarters.

Saturday, October 25, 2014,
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 on the south side of Livingston Road between Pettibone Lake and Beaumont Roads.

Saturday, October 25, 2014,
Brighton Recreation Area, 10 a.m. to 1 p.m.

Help protect this unique fen ecosystem by removing the glossy buckthorn that threatens to move in and take over. We have removed most of the large invasive shrubs over the past many years but there is plenty of maintenance to do to keep this fen in good shape! Meet at the entrance to Murray Lake Campground on Bauer Road, between Cunningham Lake and Bishop Lake Roads. ***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, October 26, 2014,
Algonac State Park, 1 p.m. to 4 p.m.

Join us for a fun afternoon of collecting native prairie wildflower seeds! Seeds will be used to help us restore other areas of the park. You will enjoy less than a ½ mile hike to the wildflower seed collection site. Enter the park through the main entrance on M-29 and meet at the day use area parking lot (near the picnic shelter).

Sunday, October 26, 2014
Warren Dunes State Park, 1 p.m. to 4 p.m.

Help protect the forest system of this beautiful lakeside park. We'll enjoy a nice hike along the trail and dunes while searching for small multiflora rose, privet, Japanese barberry and other enemies of native ecosystems. Meet at the organizational campground on Floral Lane. Please arrive on time as we will be walking through the natural area.

November 2014

Saturday, November 1, 2014,
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 to make the best use of the fall leaf color difference (invasive shrubs generally stay green longer than native shrubs). We haven’t worked this far into the fen for several years, but follow-up shrub control is critical to staying ahead of the spread of invasive plants. Meet at the small parking lot on the southeast corner of Glenn and Mt. Hope Roads. ***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, November 1, 2014
Fort Custer Recreation Area, 10 a.m. to 1 p.m.

Help us collect native wildflower and grass seeds from the late bloomers like native asters throughout the park. Collected seeds will be used to create a diverse mix of species for upcoming restoration plantings within the park. Depending on seed availability, we may switch gears and work on invasive shrub removal. Meet at the park headquarters and we will caravan to the work location.

Sunday, November 2, 2014
Yankee Springs Recreation Area, 1 p.m. to 4 p.m.

Join in the effort to remove invasive woody shrubs like honeysuckle and autumn olive from the Deep Lake area. Volunteer Stewards will work in and along the fen to protect this neat ecosystem. Meet at the boat launch in the Deep Lake Campground (off of Yankee Springs Rd.). Continue past the booth into the campground and turn right (towards the organizational campground). When you reach the organizational camp, turn left to get to the boat launch. Please arrive on time as we'll enjoy a short hike to the work location.

Sunday, November 2, 2014,
Highland Recreation Area, 1 p.m. to 4 p.m.

The fen and wet meadows near Teeple Lake need your help! Removing shrubs, especially glossy buckthorn, will keep them from encroaching on these vulnerable ecosystems and crowding out native species! Meet at the sheep barn parking lot, about 5 minutes south of the park entrance on M-59. ***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, November 8, 2014,
Bald Mountain Recreation Area, 9 a.m. to 12 p.m.

The Graham Lake Fen Complex needs your help. Come cut and pile the 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. ***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, November 8, 2014
Ionia State Recreation Area, 9 a.m. to 12 p.m.

Join in our efforts to improve habitat for grassland birds that frequent the open prairies in Ionia! Volunteers can help by removing autumn olive and other invasive woody shrubs. We'll be working in an open, grassy area and covering a lot of ground so plan on wearing sturdy shoes. Meet at the Field Trial headquarters parking area on Harwood Rd.

Sunday, November 9, 2014,
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. ***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).

Wednesday, November 12, 2014
Muskegon State Park, 10 a.m. to 1 p.m.

Help protect these beautiful open and forested dunes from an invasion of non-native species! Volunteers will help control small population of invasive honeysuckle and autumn olive near the entrance to the Channel Campground. No experience is necessary. Meet at the day use parking area just west of the Channel Campground entrance.

Saturday, November 15, 2014
Holland State Park, 10 a.m. to 1 p.m.

Enjoy a nice fall day in the woods and helping to protect the forest and dunes from unwanted shrubs! Volunteer Stewards will continue the search for scattered Japanese barberry, autumn olive and honeysuckle from the trails and natural area. Meet at campground visitor lot near the campground office. Please arrive on time as we will hike from the campground to the forested dune to the north.

Saturday, November 15, 2014,
Belle Isle Park, 9 a.m. to 12 p.m.

Join Mebby Pearson of the Belle Isle Conservancy’s Island Stewardship Committee and the DNR as we remove invasive shrubs to restore a special wet mesic flatwoods. Meet at the Nature Zoo Auditorium. Contact Erica Hill at 313-331-7760 or <hille@belleisleconservancy.org> to register.

Saturday, November 22, 2014
Saugatuck Dunes State Park, 10 a.m. to 1 p.m.

Let's keep invasive shrubs out of our beautiful dunes by removing non-native honeysuckle, autumn olive and other unwanted plants 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 main entrance to the park at the end of 138th Avenue.

Sunday, November 23, 2014
P.J. Hoffmaster State Park, 1 p.m. to 4 p.m.

Hardy hikers wanted! Enjoy a nice fall day in the woods and help us search the dunes for unwanted rogue shrubs! We'll be going off trail to find small invasive plant populations before they turn into a big problem! Meet at the Gillette Visitor Center near the Homestead Trail trailhead (on the east end of the parking lot). Comfortable hiking boots are recommended as we plan on hiking both on and off trail.

December 2014

Saturday, December 6, 2014,
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.

Saturday, December 6, 2014,
Waterloo Recreation Area, 10 a.m. to 1 p.m.

We will remove invasive shrubs to restore this 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 and continuing work started in October and November. Meet at the small parking lot on the southeast corner of Glenn and Mt. Hope Roads. ***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, December 6, 2014
Ionia State Recreation Area, 9 a.m. to 12 p.m.

Join us for a winter morning of invasive elimination in one of the prairies in Ionia! We will be cutting and stump treating scattered autumn olive in the fields. No experience is necessary. We'll be working in an open area so please dress appropriately for the weather. Meet at the Field Trial headquarters parking area on Harwood Rd.

Sunday, December 7, 2014
Muskegon State Park, 1 p.m. to 4 p.m.

Join in the effort to remove invasive shrubs from the Channel Campground before they have a chance to spread across the sensitive dunes! Volunteers will learn to identify honeysuckle, autumn olive and Japanese barberry as well as gain hands-on experience in proper removal. Meet at the day use area parking area just west of the Channel Campground.

Sunday, December 7, 2014,
Highland Recreation Area, 1 p.m. to 4 p.m.

Help us protect this wet meadow, a vulnerable ecosystem in Michigan, from invasive shrubs. We will cut shrubs and small trees, especially invasive glossy buckthorn, from the grassland edges of Teeple Lake to allow the native flora and fauna to thrive. Please join us at this workday! Meet at the sheep barn parking lot, about 5 minutes south of the park entrance on M-59. ***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, December 13, 2014,
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. ***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, December 13, 2014
Saugatuck Dunes State Park, 10 a.m. to 1 p.m.

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 forest and shoreline. 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. We'll enjoy a short hike to the work location so please arrive on time.

Sunday, December 14, 2014
Fort Custer Recreation Area, 1 p.m. to 4 p.m.

Help us remove invasive shrubs encroaching on native prairie plantings. We'll target species of autumn olive and honeysuckle that line the roadway. Meet at the Park Headquarters.

Sunday, December 14, 2014,
Pinckney Recreation Area, 1 p.m. to 4 p.m.

Get outdoors and help remove shrubs that are too abundant in this wet prairie. This will make room for neat native prairie plants that should grow in this ecosystem. 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. ***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).


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.

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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