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Family Volunteering

River Roundup volunteers. Photo by Rick Martin

River Roundup volunteers. Photo by Rick Martin

While it may not seem like it today, HRWC’s field season, and thus many volunteer opportunities, are right around the corner. Our first volunteer training (for our Water Quality program) is on March 21. River Roundup and Bioreserve training are sure signs that spring is imminent.

As many of our volunteers and supporters know, most HRWC programs are family friendly. It’s been a delight seeing many of our youth volunteers grow into thoughtful, giving, young professionals. Numerous studies have linked volunteering to being happier and healthier. So why not get your favorite kid involved in the community, especially HRWC? For some tips, see this Points of Light blog on getting kids into volunteering. To see if your youth is a good fit for one of our programs just ask the program lead!

If you’re interested in HRWC’s volunteer programming in general, Jason would love to hear from you: jfrenzel@hrwc.org.


2009-Stonefly-TrainingWednesday is your last chance to sign up for the January 17 Stonefly Search !

Join a small team led by a Stonefly Hunter who goes in the river so you don’t have to. You will be amazed at the lively creatures living under the ice.

Help HRWC collect data for a long-term study of our watershed. Aquatic insects are sensitive to their surroundings and can tell us about problems in the river and its streams.

Reserve your place at www.hrwc.org/volunteer/stonefly/ No prior experience needed.

This event lasts roughly 5 hours, is FREE and the activities are suitable for all ages, from responsible children to seniors.

River Roundup, here we come!

photo by Max Bromley

photo by Max Bromley

Bring out your friends! Your family! Your coworkers! (We’re happy to supply some too!)

Enjoy a lovely autumn day while giving the Huron a hand. Participants will enjoy seeing unique locations throughout the watershed, learning about the Huron and water quality.

Start times at 9:00 and 10:30 on October 18. Lots of details here:www.hrwc.org/roundup



Measuring a Stream

Community High students at Traver Creek by Haley Buffman

Community High students at Traver Creek.
Photo by Haley Buffman

Have you ever found yourself in the shower or washing the dishes thinking to yourself, “Self, I wish I knew more about geomorphology.” Well, you are not alone! In fact, HRWC’s geomorphology support group meets in just a few weeks and it’s likely a good idea that you attend.

HRWC’s Measuring and Mapping project teams up all sorts of cool people (like you!) to quantify (really – we’re using this word per it’s definition, not it’s typical public use as of late) how the GEOMORPHOLOGY of our bug collection sites is changing over time.

Now, you’re going to have to trust us that this “data” is “useful” and simply attend the “training” support group. Well, or you could read Tony, “the volunteer extraordinaire,” Pitts’ writeup on the matter, here.

Registration and details may be found by mousing over and left clicking the hyperlink found here:

Fine Print: HRWC staff will do our best to ensure your safety and preparedness. Be advised, this is not an assurance of our abilities to do so, nor our professionalism therein.


Search for Stoneflies!

Volunteers and Staff Searching for StonefliesVolunteers and Staff Searching for Stoneflies

Winter Stonefly Search is Saturday, January 25, 2014. You’re invited to come on your own or bring a small team of friends and family for a unique wintertime activity in/on the Huron River.

As part of a long-term river study, each January, HRWC looks for “winter stoneflies,” which grow, feed, and find their mates in the coldest months when most fish are too sluggish to eat them. Stoneflies are very sensitive to changes in water quality and habitat. Like canaries in a coal mine, they tell researchers a lot about the health of the river.

Trained volunteer collectors take each team to two of HRWC’s 70 designated study sites throughout the Huron River system, where the group helps search through stones, leaves, and sediment taken from river bottoms. All equipment is provided. Participants are encouraged to dress for the weather. Volunteers meet in Ann Arbor and car pool to their assigned sites.

Participants must register to be assigned to a team. Children are welcome to attend but must bring their own adult.

DATE: Saturday, January 25, 2014

WHERE: Meet in Ann Arbor. Then car pool to two streams in Livingston, Oakland, Wayne and/or Washtenaw Counties.

WHEN: Two starting times: January 25, 2014 at 10:30AM or NOON. Takes 4 – 5 hours (2-3 hours outdoors).

DEADLINE: Registration closes on January 21, 2014.


First time volunteers, please fill out both forms:



Returning volunteers, please fill out the registration form only:


MORE INFO: Please email Jason at jfrenzel@hrwc.org, or check out this article: http://www.annarbor.com/lifestyles/hrwcs-annual-winter-stonefly-search-a-chance-for-anglers-others-to-learn-about-stoneflies-and-stream/

What Ever Happened With My Data?

Expert volunteer hard at work!

HRWC volunteers spend a lot of the summer collecting water quality information. THANK YOU!  Of course, getting in the water is great fun and often a fun challenge. But what of all the data that we collect? What does it tell us? Where does it go?

2013 Field Results

Join HRWC staff as we present the results of the 2013 field work for Portage Creek, Bioreserve, Adopt-A-Stream, and Water Quality Monitoring. Program directors Kris Olsson, Paul Steen, Pam Labadie and Ric Lawson will give presentations on the most recent findings, followed by Q and A.

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

6:30 – 8:00 PM

NEW Center Conference Rooms

1100 North Main Street

Ann Arbor, MI 48104

Please RSVP to Jason: JFrenzel@hrwc.org


Lampyridae, Tabanidae, and Belostomatidae: OH MY!


Beware the Belostomatidae

Want to meet the Lions, Tigers, and Bears of the Huron?

We’re happy to show them off – but you’ll have to help us hunt them down! (Though ours are a tad smaller, as they are aquatic insects.)

Join us on Saturday, October 12 for HRWC’s autumn River Roundup. You can bring a small group of friends or we’ll put you on a team with other awesome HRWC volunteers. The outing takes about 4 hours and starts at either 9:00 or 10:30 am (you get to choose!). We’ll send you to some really cool spots around the watershed to track down some of those critters. When you return we’ll have a nice snack to share over your stories in the wild!

For info and to register, please check out www.hrwc.org/volunteer/roundup.

*Lampyridae, Tabanidae, and Belostomatidae are, respectively, fireflies, horse flies, and giant water bugs – OH MY!!


Autumn Tree Sale

The Washtenaw County Conservation District, a wonderful peer organization to HRWC, has an annual tree and native plant sale. This is a great opportunity to buy get into natives or purchase small saplings in bulk!

WCCD Tree Sale

Concolor Fir

Concolor Fir

If you want to plant trees this fall for such conservation purposes as windbreaks and screens, stormwater management, wildlife habitat, erosion control or reforestation, the Washtenaw County Conservation District is conducting a fall tree sale.  Orders will be accepted through September 27, 2013 with tree pick-up scheduled for October 11, 2013.

Tree species available this fall include: concolor fir, red pine, white pine, blue spruce, Norway spruce and white spruce.  These are three or four year-old bare-root transplants which can be ordered in several quantities.  Also available are marking flags, fertilizer tablets, root dip moisture absorbent, Green Screen and Plantskydd animal repellents and Mosquito Barrier garlic concentrate to repel mosquitoes.

Information and order forms can be obtained from the Conservation District office, 7203 Jackson Road, Ann Arbor; on the District web site, www.washtenawcd.org (click on the Order Trees Now! link on the home page), or by e-mail or mail upon request.  For more information, contact the Conservation District at: (734) 761-6721 ext. 5.

Thanks to HRWC Summer Staff

Summer is HRWC’s busiest season. Interns, summer staff, and advanced volunteers make so much possible.

Lauren Burns

Lauren Burns

Lauren Burns worked with Ric Lawson on the water quality monitoring program in Washtenaw County. She is a graduate of Ohio State University, where she studied Fisheries and Wildlife Management. Lauren shares, “my work with HRWC allows me to immerse myself in a field that I am passionate about, while promoting environmental education and awareness in the community.”

Cameron Carpenter

Cameron Carpenter

Cameron Carpenter found his being a Summer Field Intern for HRWC a great experience. Not only did he learn more about field work and what it involves, but he got to meet a lot of really nice people. Cam notes, “It is an opportunity that will help me take a step forward as an environmental engineer.”


Mike Kaminski

Mike Kaminski

Michael Kaminski is a landscape architecture graduate student at University of Michigan’s (U-M) School of Natural Resources and the Environment (SNRE).  He spent his summer working with Rebecca Esselman and Ric Lawson on the Climate-Resilient Communities and Green Infrastructure programs.  This included the production and dissemination of a toolkit for enhancing the climate resiliency of the watershed’s forest and tree resources, and the siting and design of green infrastructure projects for stormwater management in Washtenaw County.

Olivia Kincaid
is a biochemistry major at Earlham College. She loves nature, in particular, water ecosystems. Olivia is thinking about a career in water conservation and environmental science, where she can utilize her interest in the environment. Olivia walked numerous creeks with a team of interns this summer identifying potential water resource problems.

Emma Maack
is a graduate student in environmental policy at U-M’s SNRE and Ford School of Public Policy.  She worked with Kris Olsson on the Portage Creek Watershed Plan Implementation project, researching local ordinances that affect water quality and coordinating field assessments for the Bioreserve program.  Her internship was a great opportunity to work on local policy, understand watershed residents’ attitudes and concerns, and learn more about local ecology and the Huron River.

Josh Miller

Josh Miller

Josh Miller is a recent MS graduate in Environmental Policy and Planning from U-M. He worked this past year with Ric Lawson and others on the green infrastructure planning project in Washtenaw County. He is presently looking for work in Great Lakes or watershed policy and planning. He has “thoroughly enjoyed” his work with HRWC staff and is “grateful for the valuable experience.”

Kate Mlinarich

Kate Mlinarich

Kate Mlinarich is an Environmental Studies major at Schoolcraft College in Livonia.She worked with Jason Frenzel and Paul Steen on conducting stream walks to monitor the quality of different streams throughout Ann Arbor. She also helped develop a smart phone app to make gathering data in the field easier.  Her career goal is to become a water quality /environmental technician and hopes to move to and work in Ann Arbor after graduation. She plans on volunteering at HRWC in the future as much as she can!

Becca Myers is a senior at the U-M studying Ecology and Evolutionary Biology with a minor in Program in the Environment. She worked on a variety of projects at HRWC this summer, including research and improvement of HRWC’s Vertical Response email marketing system, as well as a field project that assessed the water quality of various streams of the Huron River.

Robert Olsen is a junior at U-M studying environmental sustainability. He helped HRWC by assessing water quality of various tributaries around Ann Arbor, and he researched river clean-up issues.

Derek Schrader

Derek Schrader

Derek Schrader organized and executed the summer recreation events this year. A recent graduate from Eastern Michigan University, Derek came to HRWC with a degree in Geotourism and Recreation & Park Management. He has been able to foster his passion for the environment and the relationship the community has with it through his work as the Recreation Coordinator for HRWC.

Rob Selesky, from Brighton, MI, is an Environmental Studies undergraduate student at Michigan State University. He is interested in natural resource conservation, land use, and sustainability. In his second summer at HRWC, he managed and coordinated the Water Quality Monitoring Program in Washtenaw and Wayne Counties, as well as the E. coli monitoring project in Honey and Mill Creeks.

Jhena Vigrass is an environmental studies and viola performance student at U-M. She worked with Pam Labadie on marketing and outreach projects that concentrated on raising awareness about the watershed and teaching residents how to help protect it. Jhena notes that this was a valuable experience for her and she had a great time working with all the HRWC staff.

Zach Zeneberg, is an Alumni of UM’s Program in the Environment and recently completed a Graduate Certificate in Nonprofit Management at EMU.  A professional bird trainer and environmental educator, Zach was excited to join HRWC as a management intern after researching the organization for a term paper, and has worked on a variety of projects including grant development, volunteer pool analysis, and HR policy evaluation.  His personal mission is to find creative and effective methods of connecting people to nature for the benefit of both, and to that end he recently co-founded a nonprofit organization, Feathers Found, which will provide Animal-Assisted Therapy programs utilizing injured, non-releasable birds of prey (owls, hawks, etc).


Thank you, all!

HRWC offers scholastically-relevant internships as well as resume-building volunteer projects ranging from field biology to non-profit management.

Emma Mack, Rob Olsen,  Jhena Vigrass

Emma Mack, Rob Selesky, Jhena Vigrass

River Scouts Successes Continue


Cleaning up the Huron from Dexter Huron to Delhi Metropark

Cleaning up the Huron from
Dexter Huron to Delhi Metropark

This spring saw two nice river cleanups and a clearing workshop. In April we hosted a guest presenter from the Friends of the Rouge to help train new and experienced HRWC volunteers. William Craig who co-created the Clean and Open method taught how to take out enough woody debris for river paddling, while leaving as much debris as possible for healthy stream ecosystems.

Earlier in May we had two river cleanups. A dozen volunteers paddled from Dexter Huron to Delhi Metropark. Simultaneously, another dozen folks on floatboats put in at Flat Rock and picked up debris down to South Rockwood.

A Little Work To Do…

Downriver Cleanupphoto by Jimmy Chang

Downriver Cleanup photo by Jimmy Chang

Woody Debris Removal. We need a few more folks to help our newly trained woody debris removers. No experience necessary, but a willingness to get dirty and wet while being safe and helpful!

Stream Walks. Join us on June 9 (2pm) to learn how to walk the Huron’s tributaries and identify problems you see along the way.

If you’re interested in either of these contact Jason, jfrenzel@hrwc.org.

Thank You!

A HUGE thanks to REI for financially supporting the River Scouts programs over the past three years, and continuing that support this year! Thanks goes to Green Oak Township for allowing us to use your conference rooms! Thanks to Bill Craig for sharing his expertise and experience. Thanks to Schultz Outfitters for coordinating the Flat Rock cleanup (and buying hotdogs!). Thanks to the City of South Rockwood and Delhi Metropark for picking up the trash after we delivered it! Thanks to the Huron River Fishing Association for showing up in force! Thanks to Skip’s Canoe Livery for loaning boats for the Metropark cleanup! Thanks to Whole Foods for the snacks! And, of course, thanks to all the volunteers for your hard work, inspiration, and perspiration!!!


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