Volunteers are needed to harvest native prairie seeds on weekends throughout October and early November this year at state parks and recreation areas in southern Michigan.
The Department of Natural Resources is conducting seed-collection activities at the following state parks and recreation areas: Algonac State Park (St. Clair County), Fort Custer Recreation Area (Kalamazoo County), Grand Mere State Park (Berrien County), Highland Recreation Area (Oakland County), Island Lake Recreation Area (Livingston County), Pinckney Recreation Area (Washtenaw County), Sterling State Park (Monroe County) and Waterloo Recreation Area (Washtenaw County).
Seeds will be used to restore tallgrass prairie, lakeplain prairie and oak savanna ecosystems throughout southern Michigan. A complete schedule of the 16 collection dates, including meeting times, locations and a registration form, are available on the DNR website at www.michigan.gov/dnrvolunteers, then click on the “Calendar of Volunteer Stewardship Workdays” link.
Prairie and oak savanna ecosystems, nearly eliminated during European settlement, exist today in small remnants, many in Michigan’s state parks and recreation areas. Seed collection is a key step in restoring these lost landscapes, but it is a step that requires many hands.
“This is an important opportunity to help restore and expand these natural ecosystems and preserve them for future generations,” said Ray Fahlsing, stewardship unit manager in the DNR’s Parks and Recreation Division.
Volunteers are asked to wear sturdy hiking shoes and bring drinking water, sunscreen and an empty, clean, dry milk jug in which to collect seeds. Children under 15 years old must be accompanied by an adult.
For more information on seed collecting in southeast Michigan, contact Laurel Malvitz-Draper at 248-359-9057 or [email protected]. For southwest Michigan parks, including Fort Custer Recreation Area and Grand Mere State Park, contact Heidi Frei at 269-685-6851, ext. 147 or [email protected].
The Recreation Passport has replaced motor vehicle permits for entry into Michigan state parks, recreation areas and state-administered boating access fee sites. This new way to fund Michigan’s outdoor recreation opportunities also helps to preserve state forest campgrounds, trails, and historic and cultural sites in state parks, and provides park development grants to local communities.
Michigan residents can purchase the Recreation Passport ($10 for motor vehicles; $5 for motorcycles) by checking “YES” on their license plate renewal forms, or at any state park or recreation area. Nonresident motor vehicles must still display a valid nonresident Recreation Passport ($29 annual; $8 daily) to enter a Michigan state park, recreation area or state-administered boating access fee site; these can be purchased at any state park or recreation area, or through the Michigan e-Store at www.michigan.gov/estore. To learn more about the Recreation Passport, visit www.michigan.gov/recreationpassport or call 517-241-7275.
The Michigan Department of Natural Resources is committed to the conservation, protection, management, use and enjoyment of the state’s natural and cultural resources for current and future generations. For more information, go to www.michigan.gov/dnr.