DNR News: Family history, Pheasant Fridays, Natural Resources Commission meeting

Share or view as webpage  |  Update preferences

News Digest – Week of June 6, 2022

Two adult men, both with dark skin, proudly show off their catch.

"Three Free" Weekend is coming up June 11 & 12!

Here are just a few of this week's stories from the Michigan Department of Natural Resources: 

See other news releases, Showcasing the DNR stories, photos and other resources at Michigan.gov/DNRPressRoom.

PHOTO FOLDER: Larger, higher-res versions of the images used below, and others, are available in this folder.

Photo ambassador snapshot: Lovely Ludington light

A lighthouse stands tall against the backdrop of purple-gray dusk as gentle waves lap at a sandy shore.

Want to see more pictures like this, taken by Michigan state parks photo ambassador Marybeth Kiczenski at Ludington State Park in Mason County? Visit Instagram.com/MiStateParks to explore photos and learn more about the photo ambassadors! For more on the photo ambassador program, call Stephanie Yancer at 989-274-6182.

The most important tree? Your family tree!

A close-up of several peoples’ hands laid on the trunk of a tall tree.

Whether you’re wondering how to get started researching your family history or you’re already deep into genealogy, you can gain new skills and understanding at the Barbara J. Brown Family History Seminar, July 8-9.

Attend online or in person at the Archives of Michigan, part of the DNR’s Michigan History Center in Lansing. Designed to promote family history awareness and teach genealogy research skills, the annual event is hosted by the Archives in partnership with the Michigan Genealogical Council and with the generous support of the Abrams Foundation. The two-day seminar is $45.

Dr. David McDonald, an older man with pale skin and light blue eyes, smiles in a portrait.

This year, the Barbara J. Brown Family History Seminar welcomes Dr. David McDonald, CG, as the featured speaker. A professional genealogist with more than 45 years of research experience, McDonald has shared his expertise at state and regional conferences across the United States and in the United Kingdom. He will offer three sessions during the seminar, including strategies for locating records from closed or extinct congregations and communities of faith.

As always, the event brings together a slate of state and local experts who share their knowledge in sessions that look at a variety of genealogy topics and resources, ranging from the 1950 U.S. Census to coroners’ records – plus, there is a behind-the-scenes tour of the Archives of Michigan.

The deadline to register is July 6. Check out the complete schedule and registration information and book your spot today.

Questions? Contact Kris Rzepczynski, senior archivist/head of reference, at 517-335-2595.

Pheasant Fridays: pollinators, wildlife habitat and more

A field of black-eyed susans and coneflowers during golden hour.

If you’re looking for a fun way to spend half a day outdoors, mark the calendar for an upcoming Pheasant Friday: special events hosted at different state parks in southern Michigan throughout June, July, August and September.

The DNR is partnering with Pheasants Forever on the program. It is open to kids and adults, though younger guests must be at least 6 years of age to participate. Pheasant Fridays will emphasize firearm safety and Pheasants Forever’s effort to restore habitat for these beautiful birds.

Everyone will get the opportunity to shoot a BB gun in a safe environment with expert instruction. There also will be hands-on activities to learn about grasslands and birds, butterflies and other pollinators that support healthy wildlife habitat.

Pheasant Fridays are offered on these dates at the following locations:

No reservations are needed, and all Pheasant Fridays are free. Visit each event’s webpage for information on start times and meeting locations. Please note that a Recreation Passport is required for vehicle entry into Michigan state parks. Events will be canceled in the event of rain or lightning.

Questions? Contact Bill Fischer, Pheasants Forever, at 989-395-5945.

Natural Resources Commission meets Thursday in Lansing

A flock of black cormorants fly over vegetation and dunes on the shore of a bright blue lake.

Both the fisheries and wildlife subcommittees will convene at the next meeting of the Michigan Natural Resources Commission, scheduled for Thursday, June 9, in Lansing, with presentations on Michigan fish health and cormorant control efforts. The agenda also includes a Partners in Conservation Award presentation, the 2021 deer harvest survey report, and several land transactions and land use orders.

The day starts at 9 a.m. in West Campus Rooms M119-121 at Lansing Community College, 5708 Cornerstone Drive, in Lansing. See the draft meeting agenda at Michigan.gov/NRC.

For more information or to request time to speak at the meeting, contact Victoria Lischalk at 517-599-1067 or NRC@Michigan.gov.


“Three Free" Weekend – two full days when residents and nonresidents can fish, ride Michigan’s off-road trails or visit state parks and state-managed boating access sites at no cost – is set for June 11-12. Regulations still apply, and always put safety first.


Summer is prime time for outdoor fun; if you're looking to get away locally or somewhere a little further, make sure to get your Recreation Passport. It's just $12, and gives you access to all 103 state parks, state forest campgrounds, harbors, trails and more!


Review and comment on the state land review for Delta, Kent, Livingston, Menominee, Montcalm, Oakland, Ogemaw, Oscoda, Saginaw or Tuscola county by June 24. Public meetings are scheduled for June 15 and June 16.

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!