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.


September 2015

Saturday, September 12, 2015
Belle Isle Park, 9 a.m. to noon
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 areas around the perimeter. Meet at the Belle Isle Nature Zoo parking lot. GPS coordinates: 42.3471816,-82.964199 To register for this workday please sign up through the Belle Isle Conservancy's webpage.

Saturday, September 12, 2015
Fort Custer Recreation Area, , 10 a.m. to 1 p.m.

Join us for a fun session of putting black locust in its place… that is out of our restored native prairies! Volunteer stewards will cut and stump treat pesky black locust as we continue to hold our ground and push this encroaching population out of native habitat. No experience is necessary and all equipment will be provided. Meet at the park headquarters and we will caravan to the work location. GPS coordinates: 42.324901, -85.351755

Sunday, September 13, 2015
Muskegon State Park, 1 p.m. to 4 p.m.
Let's stop barberry from spreading throughout the dunes and wooded areas of this beautiful, lakeside park! Barberry has been introduced to the park and is slowly threatening our native landscapes! Meet at the Snug Harbor parking area across from the Park Headquarters. We'll take a short walk along the Lost Lake trail to the work location. GPS coordinates: 43.248479, -86.345718

Sunday, September 13, 2015
Waterloo Recreation Area, 10 a.m. to 1 p.m.
We will remove invasive shrubs, especially glossy buckthorn, to restore this fen wetland. Join us for 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 following up on areas we have not worked in for a few years. Follow-up shrub control is critical to staying ahead of invasives and this gorgeous wetland provides a scenic place to work. 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, 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 19, 2015
Bald Mountain Recreation Area, 9 a.m. to noon
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 19, 2015
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

Sunday, September 20, 2015
Yankee Springs Recreation Area, 1 p.m. to 4 p.m.

Enjoy your time outdoors and the satisfaction of helping protect our resources by volunteering near Deep Lake! Volunteers will meet at the mountain bike trailhead and work to remove honeysuckle, autumn olive and other invasive shrubs from the forest near the campground. It's a great way to add an outdoor learning opportunity to your recreation experience at the park! Meet at the mountain bike staging area off of Yankee Springs Rd. GPS coordinates: 42.618415, -85.453048.

Saturday, September 26, 2015
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 27, 2015
Saugatuck Dunes State Park, 1 p.m. to 4 p.m.

Volunteers are needed to help us protect the shifting ecology of the open dunes! Come enjoy the view while we will remove young saplings of Austrian and Scotch pine that threaten to take over one of the blowouts. We'll hike about a mile to the work location, please arrive on time. Please meet on time at the trailhead near the entrance to the Felt Mansion. GPS coordinates: 42.696444, -86.194773

Workday Details

Please complete a volunteer registration form. Alternatively, contact Laurel Malvitz-Draper at 517-719-2285 or to register for workdays in southeast Michigan or Heidi Frei at 517-202-1360 or 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 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, for southeast Michigan parks or Heidi Frei, 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

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.

Please contact Laurel Malvitz-Draper, Resource Steward for the Stewardship Unit, at 517-719-2285 or with any questions about volunteering in southeast Michigan parks.

Please contact Heidi Frei, Resource Steward for the Stewardship Unit, at 517-202-1360 or with any questions about volunteering in southwest Michigan parks.

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