DNR Get Involved: Volunteer at state parks, check trees for invasive pests

Share or view as webpage  |  Update preferences

DNR Get Involved - December 2021

common redpoll perched on icy tree branch

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

Help remove invasive plants from state parks

volunteers in snowy field

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

Please note that registration is required for all volunteer workdays.

Workdays will take place:

  • 9 a.m. to noon Saturday, Dec. 11, at Bald Mountain Recreation Area (Oakland County)
  • 10 a.m. to noon Saturday, Dec. 11, at Warren Dunes State Park (Berrien County)
  • 10 a.m. to noon Sunday, Dec. 12, at Hoffmaster State Park (Muskegon County)
  • 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. Sunday, Dec. 12, at Island Lake Recreation Area (Livingston County)
  • 9 a.m. to noon Saturday, Dec. 18, at Belle Isle Park (Wayne County)
  • 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. Saturday, Dec. 18, at Saugatuck Dunes State Park (Allegan County)
  • 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. Sunday, Dec. 19, at Pinckney Recreation Area (Washtenaw County)
  • 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. Sunday, Dec. 19, at Yankee Springs Recreation Area (Barry County)

More details about each workday and how to register can be found on the DNR volunteer events calendar.

Check trees for hemlock woolly adelgid

Hemlock woolly adelgid ovisacs on tree branch

Hemlock woolly adelgids, tiny invasive insects that suck nutrients from hemlock trees, have been found in Allegan, Ottawa, Muskegon, Oceana and Mason counties.

State agency staff, university researchers and regional cooperative invasive species management areas have been working to identify and contain infestations that span across public and private lands.

These insects are considered invasive because they are not native to the state and can cause significant harm to Michigan’s hemlock resource, estimated at 170 million trees. If untreated, hemlock woolly adelgids can kill hemlock trees in four to 10 years. Trees can be protected with proper insecticide treatments.

If you have eastern hemlock trees on your property, or are just spending time outdoors this winter, we encourage you to take time to inspect these trees for signs of hemlock woolly adelgid.

Winter is the optimum time to look for evidence of an infestation because cooler temperatures trigger feeding activity, and as hemlock woolly adelgids feed, they secrete a white, waxy material that creates ovisacs. These small, round, white masses make it possible to identify infested trees.

Look on the undersides of branches for evidence of round, white ovisacs near the base of the needles. Up close, ovisacs look like balls of spun cotton and may appear alone or in clusters. The short video “Hemlock woolly adelgid: Invasive species in Michigan” provides helpful identification tips.

Report infested hemlock trees through the Midwest Invasive Species Information Network, available online at MISIN.MSU.edu or as a downloadable smartphone app. The MISIN smartphone app will take a GPS location point if a report is made at the site; it also will allow you to upload photos with a report.

Reports also can be made by email to MDA-Info@Michigan.gov or by phone to the Michigan Department of Agriculture and Rural Development Customer Service Center at 800-292-3939.

For more information on identification, reporting or treatment, visit the Michigan Invasive Species Program’s hemlock woolly adelgid page at Michigan.gov/HWA.

Give holiday gifts that give back

Check some shopping off your list and support natural and cultural resources with our holiday gift guide. These unique items make perfect stocking stuffers or gift basket essentials for those who love to camp, hunt, hike, explore and more. The guide includes Michigan gear that gives back, gifts for tree lovers, family fun and gifts to celebrate Michigan history.

Join Audubon’s Christmas Bird Count

Audubon’s Christmas Bird Count – Dec. 14 through Jan. 5, 2022 – is entering its 122nd year! Data submitted by volunteers helps scientists identify long-term population trends and movements for hundreds of bird species across North America. Visit Audubon’s interactive map to find contact information for a Christmas Bird Count coordinator near you.