The Department of Natural Resources invites residents to “Go-Get Outdoors” and enjoy state parks and recreation areas in Southwest Michigan while helping to protect their natural habitat. Volunteering for these October workdays is a great way for park visitors and area residents to get outside, have fun, and enjoy the fresh air and fall colors.

Activities vary by park and include invasive shrub removal and native seed collection, a great activity for the whole family. Registration is required for seed-collection events. No experience is necessary and training and equipment is provided.

Dates, times and locations of group workdays are:

  • Saturday, Oct. 6 – Fort Custer Recreation Area (Kalamazoo County), 10 a.m. to 1 p.m.
  • Sunday, Oct. 7 – Warren Dunes State Park (Berrien County), 1 to 4 p.m.
  • Saturday, Oct. 13 – Fort Custer Recreation Area (Kalamazoo County), 10 a.m. to 1 p.m.
  • Sunday, Oct. 14 – P.J. Hoffmaster State Park (Muskegon County), 1 to 4 p.m.
  • Saturday, Oct. 20 – Grand Mere State Park (Berrien County), 10 a.m. to 1 p.m.
  • Sunday, Oct. 21 – Fort Custer Recreation Area (Kalamazoo County), 1 to 4 p.m.
  • Saturday, Oct. 27 – Fort Custer Recreation Area (Kalamazoo County), 10 a.m. to 1 p.m.

Volunteers should wear appropriate clothing for outdoor work (including long pants and sturdy closed-toed shoes) and bring gloves and drinking water. All volunteers are asked to register using the forms available on the website. Please contact Heidi Frei at 269-685-6851, ext. 147 or freih@michigan.gov via e-mail for registration or questions about the volunteer steward workdays.

The Volunteer Steward program is part of the Parks and Recreation Division, Stewardship Unit’s mission to “preserve, protect and restore the natural and cultural resources present within Michigan State Parks for this and future generations.” Workdays are held each weekend at select parks in Southwest Michigan. For information about the activities at each workday, directions or park information and to check the Volunteer Steward calendar of events, visit the DNR website at www.michigan.gov/dnrvolunteers and link to the “Calendar of Volunteer Stewardship Workdays.”

More outdoor fun and exercise is available through the DNR’s Recreation 101 program, which provides expert instruction to budding outdoor enthusiasts by offering free, hands-on training in over 100 different activities. Learn about participating or becoming an instructor, at www.michigan.gov/rec101. The DNR also offers ongoing nature programming; check out the schedule at www.michigan.gov/natureprograms.

Logo courtesy Michigan Department of Natural Resources

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