I would like to address a letter to the editor from David Stevenson from last month concerning the conditions at Warren Dunes State Park.
Mr. Stevenson suggested the park have a volunteer group to address invasives and have workdays “say one day per month.”
Well, there actually is one and it has existed for at least 20 years. In addition, the DNR has invested thousands of dollars on contract work to battle invasives at these parks.
I am a volunteer for the DNR Stewardship Program at the three state parks in our county – Warren Dunes, Grand Mere, and Warren Woods. In the past year I headed up the work days at the three parks to remove invasive species. In 2018 we had 101 workdays with more than 830 volunteers. That yielded 1,800 hours, in the field, removing invasives. This included local concerned residents, local school groups and students, out-of-town campers at the park including Boy Scouts and other youth organizations, and we had a group of 50 students from a college in South Korea.
Our work sessions are typically 2-3 hours long, with ample time before and after to make new friends. We focused on 14 different invasive species and work throughout the year.
Our notices for workdays appear on the DNR Volunteer Stewardship website, they are posted at the park and local nature centers, they generally appear in local newspapers, including this publication, and they are emailed to those on our mailing list.
Mr. Stevenson mentioned he is President of the Harbor Country Rotary Club and I am sure they do some fine work in their volunteer activities. If they, as a club or individually, or anyone reading this letter would ever like to join us in our work at the state parks, I invite them to contact us so they can be on our email list for notifications of workdays. They
can contact Heidi Frei, the DNR Natural Resources Steward for Southwest Michigan (firstname.lastname@example.org, 517-284-6133) or leave their email with the headquarters at Warren Dunes State Park (269-426-4013) which manages
all three parks.