Michigan state parks seek volunteers for stewardship workdays

Michigan state recreation officials recently announced the schedule of Michigan state park volunteer stewardship activities for the month of April, and this month is full of opportunities to get involved! April 22 is Earth Day, National Volunteer Week is April 12-18 and Global Youth Service Day is April 17-19, so residents have plenty of reasons to get outdoors and celebrate by giving back.

Volunteers will help to locate and remove garlic mustard, an invasive, non-native plant that grows in the forest understory. Garlic mustard is originally from Europe and threatens many of our ecosystems by crowding out native plants and wildflowers like trillium and mayapple. Removal, similar to weeding a garden, is an enjoyable way to spend time outdoors.

Volunteers should wear appropriate clothing for outdoor work, including long pants and sturdy, closed-toe shoes, and bring gloves and drinking water.

Dates, times and locations (counties) of group workdays are as follows:

  • Saturday, April 11: Bald Mountain Recreation Area (Oakland), 9 a.m.-noon
  • Saturday, April 11: Waterloo Recreation Area (Washtenaw), 10 a.m.-1 p.m.
  • Saturday, April 11: P.J. Hoffmaster State Park (Muskegon), 10 a.m.-1 p.m.
  • Sunday, April 12: Saugatuck Dunes State Park (Allegan), 1-4 p.m. 
  • Wednesday, April 15: Waterloo Recreation Area (Washtenaw), 10 a.m.-1 p.m.
  • Saturday, April 18: Fort Custer Recreation Area (Kalamazoo), 10 a.m.-1 p.m. 
  • Saturday, April 18: Waterloo Recreation Area (Washtenaw), 10 a.m.-1 p.m.
  • Sunday, April19: Highland Recreation Area (Oakland), 10 a.m.-1 p.m.
  • Sunday, April 19: Warren Dunes State Park (Berrien), 1-4 p.m.
  • Wednesday, April 22: Waterloo Recreation Area (Washtenaw), 10 a.m.-1 p.m.
  • Wednesday, April 22: P.J. Hoffmaster State Park (Muskegon), 11 a.m.-2 p.m. 
  • Saturday, April 25: Saugatuck Dunes State Park (Allegan), 10 a.m.-1 p.m.
  • Saturday, April 25: Highland Recreation Area (Oakland), 9 a.m.-noon
  • Sunday, April 26: Island Lake Recreation Area (Livingston), 10 a.m.-1 p.m.
  • Sunday, April 26: Holland State Park (Ottawa), 1-4 p.m. 
  • Thursday, April 30: Bald Mountain Recreation Area (Oakland), 4:30-6:30 p.m.

Volunteers also are able to work on an individual basis pulling, mapping and locating garlic mustard populations. Volunteers, especially large groups, are encouraged to register by using the online form or contacting Heidi Frei, natural resource steward, at freih@michigan.gov or 517-202-1360 or Laurel Malvitz-Draper at 517-719-2285 or malvitzl@michigan.gov.

For workday details, maps and directions, visit the DNR website at www.michigan.gov/dnrvolunteers and click the link Calendar of Volunteer Stewardship Workdays.

The Volunteer Steward program is part of the DNR Parks and Recreation Division, Stewardship Unit’s mission to “preserve, protect and restore the natural and cultural resources present within Michigan State Parks for this and future generations.”