DNR Events: Meteors & S'mores, waterfowl festival, Black Iron Days & more

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DNR Events - August 2019

park staffer points to sky as visitors seated around campfire listen

Here are a few ways to get out and enjoy Michigan’s natural and cultural resources in August. For a full list of events, see the Department of Natural Resources calendar at Michigan.gov/DNRCalendar.

Saginaw Bay Waterfowl Festival in Bay City Aug. 3-4

smiling girl in canoe holding paddle

The 24th annual Saginaw Bay Waterfowl Festival is set for Aug. 3-4 at Bay City State Park’s Saginaw Bay Visitor Center. Festival activities run 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Saturday and 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Sunday. 

The weekend’s festivities include:

  • State duck and goose calling championships.
  • Michigan waterfowl stamp competition.
  • Hunting and outdoor recreation expo.
  • Adult and youth waterfowl calling clinic.
  • Decoy carving, wildlife photography and future duck stamp artist contests, Quack-athalon and parent-youth canoe race.
  • Retrieving dog fun trial.
  • Outdoor safety presentations.
  • Wildlife photography programs.
  • Many other free family activities.

For more information about the 2019 Saginaw Bay Waterfowl Festival, visit the Saginaw Bay Waterfowl Festival Facebook page or call the Saginaw Bay Visitor Center at 989-667-0717.

Catch shooting stars during ‘Meteors and S’mores’ Aug. 3-14

beach and starry sky at sunset

Enjoy magnificent views of the Perseid meteor shower during "Meteors and S'mores" in participating parks Aug. 3-14. The Perseid meteor shower is one of the best opportunities to see shooting stars with the naked eye. Bring blankets, seating, bug spray and snacks and enjoy a night of stargazing – campers and visitors are all welcome. Complimentary s’mores and campfires are part of the celebration. Designated viewing areas and viewing times will be specified at each park.

For a list of Meteors and S’mores locations and other dark sky events, visit Michigan.gov/DarkSky.

STOP the Invasives Week at state parks Aug. 5-11

kids in fish hats pose with DNR staffer holding large fish cutout

We’ll be promoting awareness and offering learning opportunities focused on how to identify, manage and understand the impact of invasive species with a week of programming in many of Michigan’s state parks. STOP the Invasives Week, Aug. 5-11, will feature informational hikes, aquatic or terrestrial invasive species programs, games and many other fun, educational, family-friendly programs.

STOP the Invasives programs will be offered at many state parks across Michigan. Come learn about the invasive species in your area and what you can do to help prevent their spread.

You can find current information about all state park nature programs throughout the summer at Michigan.gov/NaturePrograms. From Memorial Day through the end of August, explorer guides host a variety of programs featuring each location’s rich and varied natural resources.

History comes to life at Fayette Heritage Day Aug. 10

kids doing sack race at Fayette

Fayette Historic State Park in Delta County comes to life during Fayette Heritage Day, Saturday, Aug. 10, from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. At this free annual event, you'll hear authentic 19th-century music and see a blacksmith operating a real forge.

Kids can discover the joy of old-fashioned outdoor fun as they take part in three-legged races, sack races and lawn croquet. They can even play with reproduction 19th-century toys.

You also can watch or participate in a game of old-time baseball. Anyone 13 years old or older can be on the park visitor team, which takes on the Fayette home team. It's 1860s-style baseball, so that means no gloves, no swearing and a bell rings for every run.

Black Iron Days at Hartwick Pines State Park Aug. 24-25

blacksmith pounding hot metal with hammer

Saturday and Sunday, Aug. 24 and 25, Hartwick Pines State Park in Grayling will host the annual Black Iron Days Festival at the Logging Museum in the park.

From 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. each day, blacksmiths will pound and shape metal into a range of practical and decorative items. Watch glowing iron bend like clay and hear the ring of hammer meeting steel. The sights, sounds and scents of a 1912 steam-powered sawmill cutting pine logs into boards will add to the activity at the site. Other craft demonstrations will include period music, woodworking, weaving and wool spinning. 

The event is free and fun for the whole family.

August filled with state parks centennial events

two female runners with lake and woods in background

August is a great time to celebrate 100 years of Michigan state parks, with centennial events across the state throughout the month.

The fun includes an art fair; campfire storytelling; a special two-day centennial celebration at Rockport Recreation Area; trail runs, triathlons and other races at several state parks; and much more.

Find a full list of centennial events, along with other ways to celebrate 100 years of state parks, at Michigan.gov/StateParks100.

Virtual swimming and running races that benefit DNR

swimmer diving under water in lake

Enjoy the wonders of Michigan’s woods and waters with Epic Races’ Heart MI virtual races. Registration is now open for two virtual races, Heart MI Lake and Heart MI Run. Swimmers can participate in Heart MI Lake, a virtual swim, now until Aug. 12. Not a swimmer? Heart MI Run, a virtual running race, kicks off Aug. 15 and goes through Oct. 15.

A virtual race can be done at any time and any location. You can run/swim at your own pace with your favorite friend, whenever and wherever you like. Just choose your date, time, place and go! A portion of these races’ proceeds benefit the DNR, in celebration of 100 years of Michigan state parks this year.

Hone your skills with hunting classes

Get ready for the upcoming bear and deer hunting seasons with DNR Outdoor Skills Academy classes in August. Our Bear Hunting Clinic and Hunting Whitetails Naturally class offer in-depth, expert instruction and hands-on learning. Learn more at Michigan.gov/OutdoorSkills.

August fun at Outdoor Adventure Center

Learn about beekeeping, prehistoric creatures or archery, join us for a hike or some nature journaling, or enjoy one of the many other fun August programs at the DNR Outdoor Adventure Center in Detroit. Check out the OAC event calendar for more information.