The Michigan Department of Natural Resources has announced the May schedule of volunteer stewardship workdays at state parks in southwestern Michigan. Workday details, maps and directions can be found on the Calendar of Volunteer Stewardship Workdays at the DNR website www.michigan.gov/dnrvolunteers.
Volunteers will help to locate and remove garlic mustard, an invasive, non-native plant that grows in the forest understory. Garlic mustard is originally from Europe and threatens many ecosystems by crowding out native plants and wildflowers such as trillium and mayapple. Removal is similar to weeding a garden, and volunteers find it an enjoyable way to spend time outdoors while learning about habitat restoration.
Workday dates, times and locations (counties) are as follows:
- Wednesday, May 11: Van Buren State Park (Van Buren), 11 a.m.-2 p.m.
- Saturday, May 14: Muskegon State Park (Muskegon), 10 a.m-1 p.m
- Saturday, May 14: Fort Custer Recreation Area (Kalamazoo), 10 a.m.-1 p.m.
- Sunday, May 15: Saugatuck Dunes State Park (Allegan), 1-4 p.m.
- Sunday, May 15: Ludington State Park (Mason), 1-4 p.m.
- Saturday, May 21: P.J. Hoffmaster State Park (Muskegon), 10 a.m-1 p.m
- Sunday, May 22: Warren Dunes State Park (Berrien), 1-4 p.m.
Volunteers should bring work gloves, drinking water and appropriate clothing for outdoor work, including long pants and sturdy, closed-toe shoes.
The DNR’s Volunteer Steward Program is a hands-on way for all ages to learn about and protect Michigan’s natural resources by collecting native seeds, removing invasive species, conducting plant and animal surveys and more. Other ways to volunteer with the DNR include joining a state park friends group, serving as a campground host or a lightkeeper and many other opportunities. Learn more at www.michigan.gov/dnrvolunteers.