Volunteer Opportunities

SWMLC volunteers provide immeasurable assistance to our conservation efforts, allowing us to broaden our resources.  There are many different ways to volunteer, depending on your areas of interest.  Volunteers are needed for stewardship, land protection, office, and outreach. Opportunities include: lopping brush, putting up signs, and pulling invasive plants; conducting species inventories; setting up and staffing information tables for events; helping with bulk mailings; and taking photographs on preserves and easements and at special events.

Volunteers also serve on committees such as Stewardship Team, Land Protection Team, and Outreach Team, or on our Board of Directors.

This is only a partial list of ongoing activities for volunteers.  Your support as a volunteer will have a lasting impact on the natural and scenic features that make our region so unique.  Please contact us if you would like more information, or complete our volunteer form and mail or fax it to SWMLC at 6851 S. Sprinkle Road, Portage, MI 49002.  Fax (269) 324-9760.

[Brian Dobbie working hard to fix erosion.  Photos and montage by Nate Fuller.]


 

Upcoming Workdays

Fall and winter workdays occur on Saturdays, from 1 p.m. to 4 p.m.

It's helpful for us to know you're coming so that we can provide enough refreshments and tools for everyone.  Please call our office (269-324-1600) by the Thursday before the workday to let us know you're coming, to join the carpool, or to get directions.  

You can email us at ConserveLand@SWMLC.org.

 

December 6

Spirit Springs Sanctuary, Marcellus, Cass County

Let There Be Light

The red maples are hogging all of the light in the oak woods and, unchecked, can take over this area to the detriment of other plants. We’ve been slowly opening up the canopy of the oak peninsula to bring light to understory wildflowers, sedges, blueberry bushes, and oak seedlings.  We’ve seen a great response by this vegetation from previous workdays. Join us as we push the fast-growing maples back into the wetland to continue restoring this plant community.

 

January 10

Chipman Preserve, Kalamazoo County

Have a Swale Time

Start the new year off by getting cozy with Mother Nature! Chipman typically has dry sandy soil, but in the low swale that runs through the middle of the preserve where more moisture collects, the invasive shrubs are particularly “enthusiastic.” This is where we’ll focus our efforts on cutting back invasive shrub species. We’ll walk to our site alongside old nursery plantings containing crabapples, serviceberries, and sumacs where fruit-eating songbirds like bluebirds, cedar waxwings, and robins are often seen in winter.

 

February 21

KL Avenue Nature Preserve, Kalamazoo County

Save a Savanna

With all the leaves off of the trees creating long sight-lines, winter is the perfect time to appreciate the rolling topography and the bowl-like kettles and hills at KL Avenue Nature Preserve. KL is a fairly new preserve to the conservancy, but boy have we been busy. Our oak savanna restoration is in full swing, so take the opportunity to come out, take a look, and give us a hand at cutting back invasive shrubs and fast-growing trees to make more light for oak seedlings and wildflowers that will pop up in the spring.

 

March 21

Spirit Springs Sanctuary, Cass County

Paint a Rosy Picture

The dainty spring ephemeral wildflowers get started early at Spirit Springs before trees leaf out, but they also face some challenges. Just like the spring wildflowers, invasive multiflora rose leafs out early in the season, too, directly challenging the strategy of these native plants. Let’s lay into the sprawling roses and give our Michigan native wildflowers a leg up on the competition.

 

April 11

Chipman Preserve, Kalamazoo County

Plant a Prairie

 


May 9

Black River Preserve, Van Buren County

Trail Touch-Up


 

Wednesday Workday Warriors

 
The Wednesday Workday Warriors finished their 12th season and are taking a well-deserved long winter's nap.
 
See the home page of our website for details of their weekly whereabouts beginning April 2015 . . . maybe March 2015.
 
Until then, contact us at ConserveLand@SWMLC.org if you'd like to be added to their email notification list.