DNR Get Involved: state park and game area volunteering, land review input

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female volunteer with trash bag in grassy field with trees around it

DNR Get Involved - April 2022

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

Take part in state park volunteer stewardship workdays

Two male volunteers holding hedge clippers for cutting brush

Several state parks in southern Michigan will host volunteer stewardship workdays in April. 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:

  • 10 a.m. to noon Saturday, April 9, April 16, April 23 and April 30 at Warren Dunes State Park (Berrien County).
  • 11 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. Sunday, April 10 and April 24, at Fort Custer Recreation Area (Kalamazoo County).

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

Give your opinion on latest state land review recommendations

sun shining through trees in a forest

Staff recommendations on whether to keep, exchange or sell land in the fourth set of 10 counties in the DNR’s state land review process are nearing DNR director approval, but there’s still plenty of time to review and share feedback via the interactive web map or by email to DNR-StateLandReview@Michigan.gov by May 11.

The counties under review include Gratiot, Huron, Isabella, Lapeer, Lenawee, Marquette, Monroe, Roscommon, Sanilac and Washtenaw. The updated web map reflects the latest staff recommendations since the initial public comment period closed, making it easy for people to see what has changed. The state land review was implemented as part of the 2013 managed public land strategy and involves the review of DNR-managed lands that are 200 acres or less in size or that, due to an irregular boundary, may be difficult to manage.

“This county-by-county review process provides us the opportunity to evaluate and make decisions about how well the current land portfolio supports our mission of protecting natural resources while providing broad public access to quality outdoor recreation opportunities,” said DNR forest land administrator Kerry Heckman. “It’s critical that people who enjoy and use these lands are a part of the discussion, and we appreciate everyone who has taken the time to get involved so far.”

All feedback received now through May 11 will be compiled and provided to the DNR director. A final decision on recommendations is expected at the May 12 meeting of the Michigan Natural Resources Commission.

Follow the latest updates on the state land review process at Michigan.gov/PublicLands.

Help plant native shrubs at Potterville State Game Area with MUCC

man talks to three young volunteers holding shovels in field near forest

Join Michigan United Conservation Clubs’ On the Ground – a volunteer wildlife habitat improvement program in partnership with the DNR – and the Eaton Conservation District in planting approximately 200 native trees and shrubs within Potterville State Game Area Friday, April 22.

Located on East Vermontville Highway in Potterville, in Eaton County, this new, 445-acre state game area has a great mix of agricultural fields, grasslands and wetlands. The DNR and other conservation partners are actively managing this area to provide quality wildlife habitat for a wide variety of species. To further enhance habitat within Potterville State Game Area, Eaton Conservation District will be leading a number of projects such as native shrub plantings and fence removals.

The tree-planting event will begin at 9 a.m. and run until all the trees are planted.

All registered volunteers will receive a free lunch and an On the Ground volunteer carabiner mug or T-shirt. All shovels and planting equipment will be provided, although volunteers are encouraged to bring their own work gloves.

Register for Native Shrub Planting at Potterville State Game Area.

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

Volunteer at Mears State Park, camp free for the night

volunteers work on boardwalk over sand

Join in Volunteer Day at Mears State Park in Pentwater – a longstanding tradition at the park that happens every spring and fall – Saturday, April 30. Spring volunteers help put out tables, benches and grills, clean campsites, paint park fixtures and do other tasks necessary to get the park ready for visitors. Volunteers will meet at the park headquarters at 9 a.m. and are encouraged to pick a job that they enjoy and may have special talent for.

The event is open to the public, and campers who complete a full day of volunteering earn a free camp night (must be used this weekend). While reservations are not necessary as the park is not at risk to fill during this time, we know some campers really want their favorite site. If you’re one of these volunteers, you may make a reservation and a refund will be processed at the time of check-in if volunteering. 

Minors must be accompanied by a parent or guardian. 

Design our 50th anniversary deer patch

Artists, sharpen your pencils and prepare your paints! We want to see your designs for the 50th anniversary DNR deer management cooperator patch. The patch has been a popular collector’s item for hunters since the early 1970s. To enter our contest, submit your patch design by April 29. See contest guidelines on the deer patch webpage.

Read about DNR volunteers’ contributions

More than 5,000 unpaid volunteers work in tandem with DNR employees every year protecting Michigan’s natural and cultural resources. Learn more about the variety of ways these volunteers – some of the most dedicated members of our team – are “Stepping up to the plate” and making a difference in a recent Showcasing the DNR story.

We recently launched a new website, and we’d love to hear what you think via this brief survey. Thanks for helping us improve our site for all users!