Volunteer Opportunities


Upcoming Wednesday Warrior Workdays
Upcoming Saturday Workdays


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 to SWMLC at 8395 E. Main St., Galesburg, MI 49053.

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


Please check back for upcoming Saturday Workdays!


Wednesday Workday Warriors

Lucky Season 13!
Anyone is welcome to pitch in to help keep our preserves up to snuff. It's a wonderful way to experience the preserves with the folks who know them best, plus get acquainted with other active people who share the conservation spirit. RSVPs are always nice; just call the office at 269-324-1600 or email conserveland@swmlc.org.


Wednesday, October 26: Warrior Field Trip!

In our tradition of patting ourselves on the backs and creating a lovely bookend to a season of workdays (24 so far by my count!), instead of a workday we will have an educational field trip during our regularly scheduled workday time slot. 
As such, next Wednesday, October 26 @ 1:00 p.m. at the Black River Preserve, the original "fun-guy" himself Paul Olexia will be leading a mushroom walk! 

Paul is one of the original Wednesday Warriors, Professor Emeritus of Kalamazoo College, a man of sharp wit, and all-around ecology whiz, so this will be a special opportunity! Similar to bird walks, we won't know exactly what type of fungi we'll find until we explore the preserve, but that's the fun of it! We will certainly have no problem entertaining ourselves exploring this freshly opened preserve with 3.5 miles of new trails, cool ravines, and spectacular floodplain.

Find more information about the preserve here.

We may seek out some local brews/refreshments after the trip so plan accordingly if you need to be on your own schedule rather than carpool. Hope to see you there!

WHERE: Black River Preserve, Geneva Twp., Van Buren Co.

WHEN: Carpool leaves at 12:15 pm, or meet at the preserve at 1 pm. Directions below.

BRING: Regular hiking boots should be sufficient footwear, but bring along a pack perhaps with a field guide or two, and some water. As we're entering the chilly fall of Michigan, make sure to check the weather and dress accordingly. If we get a light drizzle/sprinkle we will probably take a walk anyway, barring anything too major.

To carpool: meet in the southwest corner of the West Main Meijer parking lot (6660 W Main St, Kalamazoo, MI 49009).

To meet at the preserve: from M-43 and the traffic circle at Maple Grove Corners, take CR-689 north to the T-stop at 8th Ave. Turn right (east) on 8th Ave, and look for the preserve on the south side. If you get to 68th St, you’ve gone too far.


A Quick Peek at the Last Three Weeks

October 19
Teaming up with local preserve stewards Bob and Connie, seven Warriors blazed a trail into the core wetland that makes up the Bakertown Preserve. After taking some notes on the size and stature of our enemy (glossy buckthorn), we tucked in, began sawing, lopping, treating, and stacking these wetland invaders. After just a couple of hours we could appreciate the new light reaching the wetland understory, where sedges and wildflowers will surely pop up next spring. We admired McCoy Creek, and assured the buckthorn that we'd be back to finish them off over the coming years!

October 12
In the spirit of the harvest season, seven Warriors donned buckets tied around their waists with paper bags and markers in tow at Chipman Preserve to do some seed collecting. Harry Bird and newbie Kyle Martin took a side mission to plant "rough blazingstar" bulbs in the developing prairie area, while the rest of us traipsed through the golds, oranges, and browns and a fall savanna landscape. Species like wild bergamot, three-awned grass, stiff goldenrod, leadplant and more were tucked away in labeled bags to be cleaned and stored on another day. After looking at our pants at the end of the workday, we realized that we were all collecting seeds "hands free" the whole time with a mass of different tick trefoil seeds stubbornly sticking to us.

October 5
Nine Warriors blew leaves, nailed trail diamonds, pruned branches, lined trails, and generally spruced up a new and gorgeous sections of the "mainstem" trail at the Black River Preserve. We just skirted the rain, took time to admire what appeared to be forest sprites on beech trees (actually beech blight woolly aphids), and made the new preserve shine in anticipation of it's grand opening which took place with great success on October 15.

— Mitch