DNR Get Involved: state park and habitat help, frog/toad survey, land review, more

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DNR Get Involved - March 2021

aerial view of shoreline and lighthouse at Leelanau State Park

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

Help remove invasive plants from state parks

volunteers wearing face masks removing invasive plants

Several state parks in southern Michigan will host volunteer stewardship workdays in March. Volunteers are needed to help with removing invasive plants that threaten high-quality ecosystems in the parks.

Please note that preregistration is required for all volunteer workdays, and participation may be limited due to social distancing requirements.

Although these are outdoor programs and proper social distancing of at least 6 feet is required, participants still are encouraged to wear face coverings as an added precaution.

Workdays will take place:

  • Saturday, March 6, 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. at Algonac State Park (St. Clair County)
  • Sunday, March 7, 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. at Waterloo Recreation Area (Washtenaw County)
  • Saturday March 13, 9 a.m. to noon at Bald Mountain Recreation Area (Oakland County)
  • Sunday, March 14, 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. at Island Lake Recreation Area (Livingston County)
  • Sunday, March 21, 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. at Waterloo Recreation Area (Washtenaw County)
  • Saturday, March 27, 9 a.m. to noon at Belle Isle Park (Wayne County)
  • Sunday, March 28, 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. at Pinckney Recreation Area (Washtenaw County)

More details about each workday can be found on the DNR volunteer events calendar.

Listen for frogs and toads this spring

tree frog on a leaf

You can help track frog and toad population trends in Michigan by listening for their calls this spring. Data is collected throughout the state, and anyone who is interested is welcome to participate. Frog and toad survey data collection takes place April through July, so now is the perfect time to plan your survey route and brush up on frog and toad calls!  

Find the survey instructions and route description form, along with calls and other information, on our Frogs and Toads page

Email DNR-FrogSurvey@Michigan.gov with your survey route or questions. New survey routes should be submitted by April for approval. Survey routes should include 10 different stops that will be surveyed three times during the survey period.

Join in the DNR centennial – create a diorama or check out 100 other ideas

diorama with Lego figures in a campground yurt scene

The Department of Natural Resources was created March 30, 1921, when legislation established the DNR’s predecessor, the Michigan Department of Conservation.

Throughout 2021, and especially in March, we’re commemorating the DNR’s centennial.

You can join us in celebrating 100 years of taking care of Michigan’s natural and cultural resources. One way – take part in our diorama challenge and show your love for your favorite state park, historic site or outdoor destination.

All you have to do is create your own outdoor diorama (bonus points for using recycled or upcycled materials) in a shoebox and share it on Facebook, Instagram or Twitter by March 28 using the hashtag #MiStateParkChallenge.

The dioramas will be showcased on the new Michigan State Parks, Trails and Waterways Facebook page March 30, the DNR’s official 100-year anniversary, and three participants each will win a $50 Michigan state park and harbor gift card.

See diorama challenge rules and details.

Find other ways to mark the DNR’s 100th anniversary on our list of 100 ways to celebrate by exploring and enjoying Michigan’s natural and cultural resources. There is something to try in every season and for all skills, abilities and interests – pick your favorite centennial-inspired activities and join the fun!

Help improve small game habitat with MUCC On the Ground

volunteer clears brush in field

On the Ground – Michigan United Conservation Clubs’ volunteer wildlife habitat improvement program in partnership with the DNR – is looking for volunteers to help improve small game wildlife habitat in Clare County and Kalkaska.

A free lunch and an On the Ground T-shirt will be provided for all registered volunteers.

Small game habitat in Clare County
Saturday, March 13, 9 a.m. to 2 p.m.

Help improve small game habitat in Clare County, off South Rogers Avenue in Harrison. This project site has been an important new addition to DNR managed land, and On the Ground is looking forward to returning to the site to continue building brush piles that benefit small game like rabbit/hare and ruffed grouse.

Register for Clare County event.

Small game habitat in Kalkaska
Saturday, March 27, 9 a.m. to 2 p.m.

Join On the Ground to improve habitat for small game in Kalkaska. Aside from building brush piles, volunteers also will be improving natural openings and edge feathering to provide enhanced habitat for species like woodcock, ruffed grouse, turkey, rabbits/hare and deer.

Register for Kalkaska event.

For both events, volunteers are asked to bring their own work gloves, if possible. Volunteers also are invited to bring their own chainsaws for limbing and bucking trees for brush piles, but it is not mandatory. Please also bring a face covering that can be worn when social distancing of 6 feet or more is not possible.

Learn more about On the Ground and see other upcoming volunteer opportunities at MUCC.org/On-The-Ground.

Volunteer as a host, get free camping or harbor slip

volunteer campground host removes activity bin from shelf

Would you like to camp or get a harbor slip for free this summer? In exchange for 30 hours a week of volunteer service, such as answering guest questions, planning activities, giving tours and performing light maintenance duties, you can camp for free for up to a month at 122 state parks and state forest campgrounds this summer.

There also are opportunities to serve as a host at the recently reopened Memorial Building at Hartwick Pines State Park in exchange for free camping, and at one of several state harbors – where harbor slip fees are waived for volunteer hosts.

Learn more about volunteer host opportunities, available locations and duties.

Weigh in on DNR-managed public land ownership for 10 counties

snowy road through forest with stream running through it

The DNR is hosting virtual meetings to provide information on the state land review and opportunities for feedback on recommendations for DNR-managed public land ownership in 10 counties: Alpena, Berrien, Branch, Cass, Charlevoix, Chippewa, Dickinson, Leelanau, Gogebic and St. Joseph.

The state land review is being implemented as part of the 2013 DNR-managed public land strategy and involves review of certain isolated parcels of state land to determine whether they are contributing to the department’s mission. Visit the DNR’s public land strategy webpage for more information about public lands or contact Scott Whitcomb at 231-373-3007 for meeting information.

  • March 9, 6 p.m., virtual, join via Teams or call in (audio only) at 248-509-0316; phone conference ID: 913 574 808#
  • March 10, 2:30 p.m., virtual, join via Teams or call in (audio only) at 248-509-0316; phone conference ID: 661 614 816#

Shape Leelanau, Traverse City state park planning

The DNR will host virtual meetings to gather public feedback on new draft general management plans for Leelanau and Keith J. Charters Traverse City state parks. Register for the March 10 Leelanau State Park meeting and/or the March 18 Traverse City State Park meeting.

Join state parks or wildlife teams this summer

Join the team of seasonal park workers at Michigan's state parks, state forest campgrounds, boating access sites and harbors or seasonal wildlife staff at field offices, customer service centers and state game areas. Learn more and apply at Michigan.gov/DNRJobs.