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.


May 2015

Sunday, May 24, 2015
Pinckney Recreation Area, 10 a.m. to 1 p.m.

Help volunteer steward Sally R. remove invasive garlic mustard and others from special dry sand prairies and their adjacent savannas and woodlands. Help us pull these plants to make room for neat native wildflowers. 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. For day-of questions call Sally at 734-730-2143.

Wednesday, May 27, 2015
Waterloo Recreation Area, 10 a.m. to 1 p.m.

Enjoy an easy opportunity to give a little back to nature. A miserable, stinky, invasive weed, garlic mustard, is infiltrating high quality natural areas in the Waterloo Recreation Area. Happily, it is very easy and satisfying to pull...like cleaning a really dirty house you can quickly see where you've been and what you've accomplished. Bonus: it's a lot less work than housecleaning and it's outdoors to boot! This workday will be led by volunteer steward Charity; contact her at 517-522-5010 or 517-462-6999. Meet at the park headquarters at 16345 McClure Road in Chelsea. Please arrive on time, as you may caravan to a different site.

Saturday, May 30, 2015
Waterloo Recreation Area, 10 a.m. to 1 p.m.

We need your help to keep thousands of garlic mustard seeds out of the seed bank! Join us to pull invasive garlic mustard and keep it from invading this beautiful woodland. Meet at the park headquarters at 16345 McClure Road in Chelsea. Please arrive on time, as we may caravan to a different site.

Saturday, May 30, 2015
P.J. Hoffmaster State Park, 10 a.m. to 1 p.m.

Volunteer stewards will search the dunes along the popular and beautiful Homestead Trail. Pulling garlic mustard is similar to weeding and is an enjoyable way to spend the morning in the woods. Meet in the parking area in front of the Gillette Nature Center. Please arrive on time as we will be hiking to the work location or caravanning to a different work site.

Sunday, May 31, 2015
Warren Dunes State Park, 1 p.m. to 4 p.m.
Start the summer season by helping the park and having fun! Volunteers will enjoy the trails and environment at Warren Dunes State Park while protecting native plants and animals. We will be removing invading garlic mustard plants from along the trails near the beautiful Great Warren Dunes Natural Area. Meet at the organizational campground parking area on Floral Lane. Please arrive on time as we will take a short hike to the work location.

June 2015

Saturday, June 6, 2015
Pinckney Recreation Area, 10 a.m. to 1 p.m.

Join us for our last chance to remove non-native garlic mustard from the woodlands near Hankerd Road before they set seed. Meet us 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.

Saturday, June 6, 2015
Highland Recreation Area, 10 a.m. to 1 p.m.

Join Steve P., volunteer steward, in pulling non-native, invasive garlic mustard from neat woodlands at Highland Recreation Area. See first-hand how this plant starts taking over in woodlands if we don't do anything to stop it! Meet at the bike trailhead parking lot on the north side of Livingston Road between Duck Lake and Waterbury Roads. Please arrive on time as we may caravan to a different location. Day-of questions can be directed to Steve at 248-877-4386.

Saturday, June 6, 2015
Saugatuck Dunes State Park; 10 a.m. to 1 p.m.

Join us as we work to eliminate garlic mustard from the picnic area with Volunteer Steward Pricilla A.! Pulling garlic mustard will help us prevent any seeds from ‘hitchhiking' along the trails and further into the forest. Come enjoy a day outdoors and stay to enjoy the trails and the beach! Meet at the main parking area/day use area at the end of 138th St.

Sunday, June 7, 2015
Ludington State Park; 1 p.m. to 4 p.m.

Join Volunteer Steward Echo P. as we protect the ecology of our dunes by removing any final garlic mustard plants from the trails! Removal will ensure the seeds of these pesky plants can't hitchhike further down the trail. We may also work on Japanese barberry removal once all the garlic mustard has been pulled. Meet at the parking area near the warming shelter, just past the check-in booth at the park entrance. We'll caravan to the work location from there.

Sunday, June 7, 2015
Island Lake Recreation Area, 9 a.m. to 12 p.m.

Help us make a push to get as much of the garlic mustard pulled before it goes to seed. We need lots of hands to pull these weedy, invasive plants. Meet at the Riverbend Picnic Area parking lot.

Tuesday, June 9, 2015
Bald Mountain Recreation Area, 4:30 p.m. to 6:30 p.m.

Join volunteer steward Jenny S. as we continue pulling garlic mustard in high priority areas of Bald Mountain's North Unit. We will either pull small, outlier patches or starting in on some of the larger core patches. Where we work will depend on our progress at other workdays and volunteer participation. Meet at the East Graham Boat Launch parking lot on the north side of Predmore Road in the park's North Unit. We may drive to another location to work, so please arrive on time. Jenny's cell is 248-736-1775.

Saturday, June 13, 2015
Bald Mountain Recreation Area, 9 a.m. to 12 p.m.

Let's stop garlic mustard at its invading edge before it spreads farther into a high quality woodland. Meet at the East Graham Boat Launch parking lot on the north side of Predmore Road in the park's North Unit. Please arrive on time as we may split up into different groups to "divide and conquer" and travel to other areas of the park.

Saturday, June 13, 2015
Warren Dunes State Park, 10 a.m. to 1 p.m.

Let's get a great group together for our final garlic mustard workday at Warren Dunes! We may be working off trail so please dress to be in the woods and wear comfortable walking or hiking shoes. Meet at the picnic area on the west side of the road as you travel towards the main campground. The work site is just a short walk from this day use area.

Sunday, June 14, 2015
P.J. Hoffmaster State Park, 1 p.m. to 4 p.m.

Volunteers will join in for our final garlic mustard pull of the season at Hoffmaster! We've had a productive season and are getting closer to declaring this park garlic mustard free! Volunteers will hike approximately ¾ mile to the work location and will be working in some uneven terrain, please wear sturdy shoes and plan to enjoy a beautiful walk in the woods. This is our last chance to get garlic mustard this season so don't miss out! Meet in the parking area in front of the Gillette Visitor Center. Please arrive on time as we will be hiking to the work location.

Sunday, June 14, 2015
Brighton Recreation Area, 10 a.m. to 1 p.m.

Like to kill weeds? Help restore woodlands by removing garlic mustard and help restore prairies by removing sweet clover and spotted knapweed that could otherwise take over. Please wear long pants and long sleeves as some individuals are sensitive to spotted knapweed. Meet at the Teahen prairie entrance (look for a state truck where Teahen Road makes a 90 degree turn). Roadside parking.

Wednesday, June 17, 2015
Holland State Park, 10 a.m. to 1 p.m.

Help us eradicate garlic mustard from the forested dunes at Holland State Park! Campers, scouts and park visitors are welcome to join in the effort to protect the native ecosystem that will allow our native plants and wildflowers to thrive! No experience is necessary to join in. Meet at the park headquarters. A limited number of parking spaces are available at HQ.

Saturday, June 20, 2015
Saugatuck Dunes State Park, 10 a.m. to 1 p.m.

We need your help for our final garlic mustard workday at this beautiful lakeside park! Pulling this invasive weed helps protect the unique forested ecosystem and ensures this park will stay beautiful for future generations. Volunteers will hike and pull this unwanted invading plant to prevent it from spreading throughout the park. Meet at the parking area adjacent to the Felt Mansion.

Saturday, June 27, 2015
Warren Dunes State Park, 10 a.m. to 1 p.m.

Volunteer stewards will be back on invasive shrub and Japanese barberry removal from our most sensitive areas at Warren Dunes! Removal will focus on small populations before they have a chance to creep up the side of the dune. No experience is necessary and all equipment will be provided. Meet at the organizational campground parking area off of Floral Lane (north of the main park entrance on Red Arrow Hwy.).

Sunday, June 28, 2015
Muskegon State Park, 1 p.m. to 4 p.m.

Help us remove this landscape plant gone bad! Japanese barberry is commonly planted as a landscape ornamental, but has escaped and is spreading in our forests and dunes! Join in the effort to stop the spread. No experience is necessary! We will be removing scattered plants along the trail to beautiful Lost Lake. Meet at the Snug Harbor parking area (across from park headquarters).

Sunday, June 28, 2015
Waterloo Recreation Area, 10 a.m. to 1 p.m.

Help please! Hand pull spotted knapweed, an invasive weed that could take over in this neat prairie remnant that is a primary native seed-gathering location for restoring our prairies. Let's pull spotted knapweed now so we don't have to worry about it getting mixed in with the native seeds we gather in the fall and we can protect this area from further infestation. If you have your own dandelion-digging tool, please bring it. Volunteer steward, Danny M. will be leading this workday; contact him with day-of questions at 734-645-5687. Meet on Waterloo Road just west of M-52. Roadside parking. ***This site has been known to have ground-nesting, stinging insects; please bring your sting relief kit if you are allergic.


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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