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 twenty 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:
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.

 

February 2016

Saturday, February 13, 2016
Bald Mountain Recreation Area, 9 a.m. to noon

The Graham Lake Fen Complex needs your help. Come cut and pile the glossy buckthorn and other 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. GPS coordinates: 42.786267, -83.190904 ***Waterproof boots, either knee-high rubber boots or hip waders, are recommended for this site. Knee-high rubber boots are available to borrow, upon request (please specify size). Availability is limited; first come, first served.

Saturday, February 20, 2016
Belle Isle Park, 9 a.m. to 12 p.m.

Join the DNR and Belle Isle Conservancy for stewardship Saturdays. Our winter project will focus on cutting invasive shrubs, especially glossy and common buckthorn and honeysuckle, to restore the wet mesic flatwoods on the island. We will work in areas that are wet much of the year and (hopefully) have an easier time getting through them while things are frozen. Meet on Woodside Drive at the trailhead parking area just north of the canal bridge. From The Strand, pass the athletic fields and Vista Drive then turn left at the next road (there is a brick bathroom building at the corner). GPS coordinates: 42.340386, -82.968116

Saturday, February 20, 2016
Highland Recreation Area, Silo Field Trial Area, 9 a.m. to 1 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, February 20, 2016
Saugatuck Dunes State Park, 10 a.m. to 1 p.m.

Lend a hand during National Invasive Species Week!  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 park entrance.  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. Meeting location coordinates:  42.699901, -86.195398.   

Sunday, February 21, 2016
Fort Custer Recreation Area, 1 p.m. to 4 p.m.

Prairie restoration is a year-round project!  Volunteers are invited to participate in our prairie restoration activities by removing locust from our prescribed fire management areas.  No experience is necessary, just a desire to enjoy the winter landscape in the company of other stewards!  Meet at the park headquarters.  Please arrive on time as we will caravan to the work location.   Meeting location coordinates:  42.324901, -85.351755

Sunday, February 21, 2016
Pinckney Recreation Area, 1 p.m. to 4 p.m.

Thickets of shrubs don’t belong in this sand prairie and oak barrens ecosystem. Help remove them and make room for some neat, native plants. Meet at the Halfmoon Lake entrance to help out. From North Territorial Road, take Hankerd Road north until you see the entrance on the left. GPS coordinates: 42.4140822,-83.9927

Saturday, February 27, 2016
Yankee Springs Recreation Area, 10 a.m. to 1 p.m.

Volunteers will help continue our efforts to remove pesky autumn olive and honeysuckle from our prescribed burn management area near Deep Lake.  We've made great progress in this area and will continue our efforts along the Deep Lake Trail to the south and west of the lake.  If snowfall prohibits parking in this area, we may change locations and park at the Scenic Pines lot on Gun Lake road. Meeting location coordinates:  42.618415, -85.453048.

Saturday, February 27, 2016
Island Lake Recreation Area, 10 a.m. to 1 p.m.

Assist us in clearing out invasive shrubs that could take over neat prairie remnants and crowd out native plants. We will try to cover all of the prairie areas in this management unit over the winter, so please come prepared to hike some distance. Meet at the Riverbend Picnic Area parking lot. GPS coordinates: 42.504968, -83.709577

Sunday, February 28, 2016
Highland Recreation Area, 1 p.m. to 4 p.m.

Join us in removing invasive shrubs from a high quality natural area! We’ll be removing a smorgasbord of invasive shrub species and we need your help. 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

 

March 2016

Saturday, March 5, 2016
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, if snow depths allow. 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. Knee-high rubber boots are available to borrow, upon request (please specify size). Availability is limited; first come, first served.

Saturday, March 5, 2016
Muskegon State Park, 10 a.m. to 1 p.m.

Volunteer stewards will continue our anti-barberry campaign at this beautiful lakeshore park.  We’ll focus on Japanese barberry, a not-so-nice invasive ornamental plant, populations along the Lost Lake trail that threatens to climb into our sensitive dunes.  Meet at the Snug Harbor parking area and we’ll take a short walk to the work location.  Meeting location coordinates: 43.248479, -86.345718.

Sunday, March 6, 2016
Yankee Springs Recreation Area, 1 p.m. to 4 p.m.

Come and help us protect this unique dry upland ecosystem at Yankee Springs!  This dry upland area hosts many native species of grasses and forbs.  Keeping this habitat healthy entails prescribed fire, spotted knapweed removal and now invasive woody shrub control.  Volunteers will learn how to identify autumn olive and honeysuckle while enjoying a beautiful day in the park!  Please arrive on time as we’ll hike the North Country Trail to get to the work site.  Meet at the North Country Trail parking area on Norris Rd., just south of the intersection of Yankee Springs Rd. and Gun Lake Rd.  Meeting location coordinates: 42.618415, -85.453048.

Sunday, March 6, 2016
Highland Recreation Area, 1 p.m. to 4 p.m.

Stop common buckthorn and others from invading this beautiful natural area. We will work from the outliers back to larger patches to stop the spread of these plants into Haven Hill Natural Area. 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, March 12, 2016
Bald Mountain Recreation Area, 9 a.m. to noon

Glossy buckthorn and other invasive, non-native shrubs, continue to slowly move into the Graham Lake Fen area. Let’s stop them in their tracks and protect this rare type of wetland. 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. Knee-high rubber boots are available to borrow, upon request (please specify size). Availability is limited; first come, first served.

Saturday, March 12, 2016
Fort Custer Recreation Area, 10 a.m. to 1 p.m.

Get in touch with your green side by helping to protect habitat at Fort Custer!  Volunteers will continue efforts to remove invasive woody shrubs before they begin to leaf out in the spring.  No experience is necessary to take part!  Meet at the park headquarters on the main park entrance road.  Please arrive on time as we will need to caravan to the work location.  Meeting location coordinates: 42.324901, -85.351755

Sunday, March 13, 2016
Pinckney Recreation Area, 1 p.m. to 4 p.m.

Come out and help remove invasive shrubs that don't belong in this dry sand prairie and oak barrens, making room for neat native plants. Today is the beginning of Daylight Saving Time; don't forget to move your clocks one hour ahead or you will be an hour late to the workday! Meet at the Halfmoon Lake entrance to help out. From North Territorial Road, take Hankerd Road north until you see the entrance on the left. GPS coordinates: 42.4140822,-83.9927

Saturday, March 19, 2016
Belle Isle Park, 9 a.m. to 12 p.m.

Join the DNR and Belle Isle Conservancy for stewardship Saturdays. Our winter project will focus on cutting invasive shrubs, especially glossy and common buckthorn and honeysuckle, to restore the wet mesic flatwoods on the island. We will work in areas that are wet much of the year and (hopefully) have an easier time getting through them while things are frozen. Meet on Woodside Drive at the trailhead parking area just north of the canal bridge. From The Strand, pass the athletic fields and Vista Drive then turn left at the next road (there is a brick bathroom building at the corner). GPS coordinates: 42.340386, -82.968116

Saturday, March 19, 2016
Highland Recreation Area, Barn Course 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 Barn Field Trial Area parking lot on the north side of Cooley Lake Road between Duck Lake and Beaumont Roads. GPS coordinates: 42.6105,-83.5857
 

Saturday, March 19, 2016
Saugatuck Dunes State Park, 10 a.m. to 1 p.m.

Join in to help protect this critical dune system!  Non-native honeysuckle, Japanese barberry and other invasive shrubs are encroaching upon the dune and native forest system.  By removing this population while it’s small, we’ll be doing a huge service protecting the whole dune!  Don’t forget your hiking boots to enjoy the park after the workday!  Meet at the main day use area parking lot near the end of 138th Ave.  Meeting location coordinates: 42.699901, -86.195398.

 

Sunday, March 20, 2016
Warren Dunes State Park, 1 p.m. to 4 p.m.

Let’s work together to rid this popular park of Japanese barberry, privet, honeysuckle and other non-native invasive plants!  We may even be able to get a head start on garlic mustard! Volunteers will work off trail the woods to protect the native forest from these exotic pests!  Plan to hike in the woods in the dune system.   Meet at the organizational campground off of Floral Lane.  Meeting location coordinates:  41.921620, -86.578874.

 

Sunday, March 20, 2016
Island Lake Recreation Area, 1 p.m. to 4 p.m.

Help remove autumn olive and other invasive shrubs from the Meadow unit. We need your help to restore these prairies and adjacent woodlands! This work will give native flora and fauna a fighting chance. Meet at the Meadow Picnic Area parking lot. GPS coordinates: 42.5043,-83.7020

Saturday, March 26, 2016
Highland Recreation Area, 10 a.m. to 1 p.m.

If the ground has thawed, we will be pulling garlic mustard. Otherwise we will continue cutting invasive shrubs in Haven Hill Natural Area. 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

 

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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