DNR Get Involved: state park volunteer opportunities, tree planting and more

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DNR Get Involved - May 2019

Stewardship volunteers walking on trail through forest

Here are a few ways to get involved in taking care of Michigan’s natural resources this month. For more opportunities to volunteer, contribute and provide input, visit Michigan.gov/DNRVolunteers.     

State park stewardship volunteers needed throughout May

stewardship volunteer holding invasive garlic mustard she has pulled

The DNR will host a number of volunteer stewardship workdays in May at state parks in southeast and southwest Michigan.

Volunteers are needed to remove garlic mustard, an invasive plant that threatens native habitats. Workdays are an enjoyable way to spend time outdoors while restoring Michigan's ecosystems and learning about its inhabitants.

Workday details (including meeting locations, the stewardship volunteer registration form and links to individual park maps and directions) are available on the DNR website at Michigan.gov/DNRVolunteers. Volunteers are asked to register either by using the form or by emailing freih@michigan.gov.

May stewardship workdays:

  • Friday, May 3: Warren Dunes State Park (Berrien County), 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.
  • Saturday, May 11: Hoffmaster State Park (Muskegon County), 10 a.m. to 1 p.m.
  • Saturday, May 11: Highland Recreation Area (Oakland County), 10 a.m. to 1 p.m.
  • Saturday, May 11: Warren Dunes State Park (Berrien County), 10 a.m. to 1 p.m.
  • Saturday, May 18: Bald Mountain Recreation Area (Oakland County), 9 a.m. to noon
  • Saturday, May 18: Belle Isle Park (Wayne County), 9 a.m. to noon
  • Saturday, May 18: Waterloo Recreation Area (Washtenaw County), 10 a.m. to 1 p.m.
  • Sunday, May 19: Warren Dunes State Park (Berrien County), 1 to 4 p.m.
  • Wednesday, May 22: Bald Mountain Recreation Area (Oakland County), 4:30 to 6:30 p.m.
  • Saturday, May 25: Highland Recreation Area (Oakland County), 10 a.m. to 1 p.m.
  • Saturday, May 25: Holland State Park (Ottawa County), 10 a.m. to noon
  • Saturday, May 25: Warren Dunes State Park (Berrien County), 10 a.m. to 1 p.m.
  • Saturday, May 25: Waterloo Recreation Area (Washtenaw County), 10 a.m. to 1 p.m.
  • Sunday, May 26: Pinckney Recreation Area (Washtenaw County), 10 a.m. to 1 p.m.
  • Friday, May 31: Saugatuck Dunes State Park (Allegan County), 10 a.m. to 1 p.m.

Other state park volunteer opportunities

garlic mustard

Muskegon State Park – 6th Annual Camp n' Clean Weekend Saturday, May 4, starting at 10 a.m.

Muskegon State Park in Muskegon County is looking for help with leaf removal to get the park ready for the 2019 camping season. Volunteers can earn a free night of camping that will be applied to their camping stay for the nights of May 3 and 4. For more information, call the park at 231-744-3480.

Proud Lake Recreation Area – Garlic Mustard Pull Sunday, May 5, 10 a.m. to 1 p.m., and Saturday, May 11, 10 a.m. to 1 p.m.

Help weed out garlic mustard, an invasive plant, from this beautiful park in Oakland County. For more information, call the park at 248-685-2433.

Find more information about these and other volunteer opportunities on the DNR’s volunteer events calendar.

Help the DNR plant 'Happy Little Trees'

DNR Happy Little Trees t-shirt design, with Bob Ross

People around the world are familiar with the work and personality of Bob Ross, the American painter, art instructor and television host who in the ’80s and ’90s shared his love for painting and the environment with millions of viewers on the public television show, “The Joy of Painting.” Ross was known for demonstrating seemingly simple brushstrokes that brought gorgeous landscapes – full of happy little trees – to life on the canvas.

Inspired by the state parks centennial celebration, the DNR and Bob Ross Inc. are partnering on the Happy Little Trees tree-planting program in state parks. The program helps campgrounds recover from the effects of emerald ash borer and other forest pests by planting native trees with local genetics to help repopulate these areas with appropriate trees for the environment. These trees are grown specifically for replanting at state parks in the same region.

Volunteers are needed to help plant this year’s family of Happy Little Trees. Though it’s too soon to finalize planting dates, the DNR has selected planting locations. Sign up to be a volunteer, select your location(s), and you’ll be notified about event specifics as they are set for May and June. (Please note that space is limited at each location; signing up does not guarantee a volunteer spot.) Each volunteer will get a Happy Planting T-shirt featuring Bob Ross.

Give 100: Help raise funds for your favorite state parks

Give 100 logo

For 100 years, Michigan state parks have forged family traditions, solidified friendships and been part of countless lifelong memories.

During the Michigan state parks centennial year, the “Give 100” fundraising effort gives people who love the parks a chance to contribute toward improvements at their favorite state parks and be one of the first 100 people to give $100 to one of Michigan’s 100-plus state parks.

Make a donation at Michigan.gov/StateParks100 or by texting GIVE to 71777 to help raise these important funds.

Help guard Michigan's sturgeon

Sturgeon for Tomorrow is seeking volunteers to join in its effort, in partnership with the DNR, to help protect lake sturgeon from illegal harvest. Hundreds of volunteers are needed to stand guard along the Black River during the spawning season (mid-April through early June) to report suspicious activity and deter the unlawful take of this iconic fish. Volunteers also can play a key role by recording the number and activity of fish they see. Register to volunteer.

Become a community scientist

Community science programs provide essential information for scientists working to better understand wildlife – they can’t be everywhere all the time, and they depend on nature lovers and backyard biologists to report what you see! Birds are especially easy to observe because they are far more conspicuous than other wildlife, and spring is a great season to get involved in helping monitor them. There are several bird-related community science opportunities in Michigan this spring.

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