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Volunteer stewardship

two volunteers dragging invasive species away

Volunteer stewardship

Volunteer stewardship workdays engage volunteers, students, scouts and passionate visitors to help protect our parks through hands-on restoration and education. Each month, volunteers roll up their sleeves to help remove invasive plants that threaten high-quality ecosystems in state parks across southern lower Michigan.

Volunteers will learn plant identification, see rare ecosystems, connect with others, get exercise and more.

No experience is necessary, and all equipment and instruction are provided. Preregistration is required. Email your name, phone number and the date/location you wish to participate to:

Volunteer stewardship workday calendar »

Interested in volunteering on your own? Some training and coordination is required; however, once you are trained, these activities can be performed whenever it is convenient for you! If you're interested, please email Kelsey Dietz or call 517-388-8517.

Maps and directions

The volunteer stewardship workday calendar includes GPS coordinates linked to a Google map of the exact meeting location.

Meeting locations typically do not include park headquarters or areas with a street address.

What to wear / bring

  • Appropriate clothing for outdoor work, including long pants and work boots.
  • Drinking water.
  • Work gloves, eye protection / safety glasses.
  • Waterproof boots (knee-high rubber boots or hip waders) are recommended for fen and other wetland sites. We have a limited supply to borrow.

* Be sure boots and gear are free of mud and hitchhiking seeds, so you don't inadvertently spread invasive plant seeds into these high-quality natural areas.

Groups and youth

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 youth group, the group leader may sign instead.

To help us plan out equipment and workday needs, advanced registration for groups larger than five is strongly encouraged. 

Classrooms and student groups interested in an interpretive experience should contact park visitor centers or explorer guides.

Workday cancellations

If a workday must be canceled due to inclement weather (or any other reason), registered participants will receive an email at least two hours ahead of the scheduled meeting time.

Other opportunities

Bird surveys

Gather baseline bird data or monitor known populations of rare birds in select areas of certain parks. 

Learn to identify the early stages of forest diseases, so we can detect and treat cases at the early stage. 

Galerucella beetle redistribution

Help collect Galerucella beetles, purple loosestrife's natural enemy, and redistribute them to wetlands. 

Insect monitoring

Help us determine whether we have rare insects in some of our highest quality ecosystems. 

Invasive plant mapping

Help map patches of invasive plants. This data will help us plan where to focus future restoration efforts. 

Invasive plant removal

Help pull herbaceous. These non-native plants out compete native plants and lead to low biological diversity.

Kirtland's Warbler census volunteer

Experienced birders are needed to help complete the Kirtland's warbler census.

Native planting

In May, June and September, native plants are planted at select parks. 

Native prairie seed collection

Hand collect native prairie seed in October and early November.

With support from hundreds of volunteers, more than 150 native, local genotype trees have been planted in Belle Isle Park. Volunteers interested in helping to care for these newly planted trees will work closely with the DNR to ensure their success. Please contact Kelsey Dietz to learn more.

The Belle Isle Canopy Work Group works toward increasing tree canopy cover and protection in day-use areas. Interested organizations and individuals may submit project proposals and ideas for increasing tree cover or aiding in tree protection by contacting Heidi Frei, state park forest health specialist, by Sept. 30 each year.