Calendar of Volunteer Stewardship Workdays
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 focus on high-quality natural areas that are known sites or potential sites for species of greatest conservation need (species whose populations are rare or declining).
Ongoing workdays are held in:
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.
Fort Custer Recreation Area, Grand Mere State Park, P.J. Hoffmaster State Park, Holland State Park, Ionia Recreation Area, Ludington State Park, 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.
Join us for a morning removing Japanese barberry and other invasive woody shrubs from some lesser traveled portions of Grand Mere State Park! No experience is necessary as many of these plants stand out from our native understory species and are easy to identify in the winter. Meet at the small parking area at the end of Willow Dr. Please arrive on time as we’ll caravan/carpool to the work location (limited parking). GPS coordinates: 41.985645, -86.553083.
We will be searching for oriental bittersweet and invasive shrubs in the higher quality areas of McClure woods. Help us cut scattered, outlier invasives to keep them from taking over; the native flora and fauna will thank us. Please arrive on time so we can get a prompt start and cover a lot of ground. Meet at the park headquarters at 16345 McClure Road in Chelsea. Map/GPS coordinates: 42.33298, -84.10672
Saturday, February 24, 2018
Van Buren State Park, 10 a.m. to 1 p.m.
Come help us remove Japanese barberry that has invaded this high-quality portion of the dunes! We’ll take a beautiful walk along the trails in the forest searching for invasive plants… while keeping our eyes open for signs of hemlock woolly adelgid! No experience is necessary! Meet at the park headquarters and we will caravan or walk to the work site. GPS coordinates: 42.337038, -86.301764.
Sunday, February 25, 2018
Highland Recreation Area, 10 a.m. to 1 p.m.
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. In the event of deep snow, snow shoes might be helpful but not necessary. If snowfall prohibits parking in this area, we may change locations and park at the Scenic Pines lot on Gun Lake road. GPS coordinates: 42°37'06.3"N 85°27'11.0"W.
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. GPS coordinates: 42.324901, -85.351755.
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. GPS coordinates: 42.700667, -86.196167
Please complete a volunteer registration form. Alternatively, contact Laurel Malvitz-Draper at 517-719-2285 or firstname.lastname@example.org to register for workdays in southeast Michigan or Heidi Frei at 517-202-1360 or email@example.com 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.
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.
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, firstname.lastname@example.org for southeast Michigan parks or Heidi Frei, email@example.com for southwest Michigan parks. Please choose from the parks listed at the top of this page.
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.
Please contact Laurel Malvitz-Draper, Resource Steward for the Stewardship Unit, at 517-719-2285 or firstname.lastname@example.org with any questions about volunteering in southeast Michigan parks.
Please contact Heidi Frei, Resource Steward for the Stewardship Unit, at 517-202-1360 or email@example.com with any questions about volunteering in southwest Michigan parks.