Archive for the ‘Volunteer’ Category
Interested in chasing storms?
The City of Ann Arbor is offering a unique opportunity for residents to participate in collecting needed data as part of the recently-launched Stormwater Model Calibration and Analysis project, which is the first step in evaluating and recommending improvements to the City’s stormwater system. (Read more about the project here.)
As part of the City of Ann Arbor’s “Citizen Storm Corps,” you would be the eyes on the ground, recording and submitting visual observations from one or more of the Large Event Data Gathering (LEDG) locations where the City is monitoring surface flooding. (See a map of LEDG locations here.) “Large Events” is the technical term for a big rain storm!
Volunteering is easy, fun, and will not require much time. If you can take a photo and use a map, you’re qualified! The City anticipates that over the next few years, Storm Corps volunteers will be asked to submit observations 1-3 times after significant rain events – although more frequent participation would be most welcome, if you choose.
The City of Ann Arbor is hosting several orientation sessions for people who may be interested in serving as part of the Citizen Storm Corps:
- Tuesday, March 19: 10:30 a.m. – 12:00 p.m. at the Downtown Library multipurpose room
- Tuesday, March 19: 6:00 – 7:30 p.m. at the Traverwood Library
- Thursday, March 21: 3:00 – 4:30 p.m. at the Downtown Library multipurpose room
No need to RSVP – please feel free to join at your convenience during any of the above blocks of time (the actual orientation will only take about a half hour). Also, please note that attending an orientation does not obligate you to participate – come by, check it out, and see what you think!
Finally, if you are not able to attend one of the sessions, but think you might be interested in volunteering in the Citizen Storm Corps, simply contact Jen Lawson at the City of Ann Arbor (734.794.6430 x43735, firstname.lastname@example.org). She will help you identify a convenient location, and orient you to the materials via phone or email.
Volunteer Vernal Pool Training
Help the Michigan DNR inventory Southeast Michigan’s Vernal Pools!
WHEN: Saturday, March 16, 10 am – 2:30pm (Alternate date if bad weather: March 30)
WHERE: Proud Lake Recreation Area
River Hawk Annex – Meeting Room
3500 Wixom Road, Commerce Township, MI 48382, (248) 685-2433
- Learn about vernal pools and why they are so important
- Become trained to identify, map and collect data on vernal pools
- Learn to identify frogs, salamanders and invertebrates
- Contribute to the state-wide vernal pools database
- This training involves hands-on practice outdoors so please come prepared for weather and mud (boots and rain gear)
- Bring a sack lunch. We will provide water and snacks!
- Volunteers interested in visiting one or more “potential vernal pools” in southeast MI in the following areas:
- Highland Recreation Area – Oakland Co.
- Proud Lake Recreation Area – Oakland Co.
- Pinckney Recreation Area – Livingston and Washtenaw Co.
- Waterloo Recreation Area – Washtenaw County
- Volunteers who can commit to visit one or more “potential vernal pools” at least 2-3 times during spring and summer
- No previous experience required
REGISTER: Please register by March 12th, No cost, but registration is limited to 30 people.
Contact Daria Hyde at email@example.com or 517-373-4815
Michigan Department of Natural Resources, Parks Stewardship Program
Funding provided by: Michigan Department of Environmental Quality,
with a grant from the Environmental Protection Agency
- A beautiful Huron River, where it crosses Zeeb Road. credit: John Lloyd
- Dave Wilson samples Woods Creek! credit: Nate Antieau
- Digging through the muck of Port Creek. credit: Mark Schaller
- A quick break for the camera! credit: John Lloyd
- "Do you see anything?" credit: John Lloyd
Bring on the “brrr!”
On January 26, 110 intrepid volunteers faced the harsh winter elements and spread across the Huron River watershed in search of stoneflies, which are only found in clean and healthy streams. Everyone made it back safe, which is the number one priority, and it seemed that a good time was had by all.
In 2012 the Stonefly Search volunteers had to deal with melting snow and flood conditions, but this year we had a deep freeze in the week preceeding the Search, and most of the teams had to break their way through the ice in order to sample the stream macroinvertebrates. Despite this challenging problem, stoneflies were found in great abundance at many locations. The results are in, and are given in this pdf report.
1. The status quo is being maintained for most of the sampling sites. Sites that have had stoneflies in the past are still able to support them, and sites that were not healthy enough to hold stoneflies still do not have them. That being said, we did see a few changes this year which are detailed below.
2. Four sites had the best stonefly samples that had ever been seen at those locations: Chilson Creek at Chilson Road, Fleming Creek at Galpin Road, the Huron River at Flat Rock, and Woodruff Creek at Buno Road. At each of these sites, the stoneflies normally found at the location were there, but also new stonefly families were found that had never been seen there before! A greater diversity of stoneflies indicates greater stream health. These are promising results and hopefully it will continue into longer term trends.
3. The team searching for stoneflies in Woods Creek in Belleville came back disappointed. Wood’s Creek at the Lower Huron Metropark has been sampled 12 times since 1997, and this is the first time that stoneflies could not be found. The problem likely comes from the thick ice and difficult conditions rather than pollution or disturbed stream habitat, but we will keep an eye on Wood’s Creek next year.
4. Traver Creek is a stream in north Ann Arbor that has typical urban stream problems- in particular, flashy flows and runoff, oil, and sediment from roads. In the past couple of years, part of the train track berm washed out and released a large plume of sediment to Traver Creek. However, we were pleased that both of the sites sampled on Traver Creek this year turned up stoneflies. The sites were both upstream and downstream of the wash-out.
Next on the horizon!
Interested in doing more with our macroinvertebrate searches? Think about becoming a trained leader or collector by coming to the next training on March 24. This is an extremely important job because every team needs both a trained leader and collector, and we often do not have enough to meet the demand. Sign up for the training!
Saturday turned out to be a lovely day for HRWC’s Stonefly Search. 110 volunteers returned safely from the field after successfully accomplishing their mission. These hardy souls endured the snow, enjoyed the sun (briefly), had fun breaking through the ice, and learned about the Huron and the critters who live here. Interesting finds included a slumbering frog, mute swans, and Canada geese (not to mention lots and lots of insects). Look for a detailed report from Paul Steen regarding the Stonefly results. Until then, here is a bit of verse to paint a picture of how the day went for many…
Winter Stoneflies in Arctic Michigan
By Dave Wilson
We don our coats and boots, go forth to break the ice
In frigid, frosty weather that no one could say is nice
We flounder through the streams in search of a great prize
Taeniopterids and Capniids, precious winter stone flies
Winter stones are quite the thing
Though one surely might be wondering
How these tiny creatures could ever be so bold
As to live and thrive in this bitter winter cold
Paul tells us that in winter these critters really thrive
Cold water holds the oxygen to keep them all alive
And winter is helpful in another major way
The cold keeps fierce predators so very far away
Quite sensitive to any water pollution,
Winter stones provide a quick solution
If we find ‘em we can be sure
That the stream is sweet and pure
The critters are small and rather dark
In this frigid weather they have a lark
Scamper about in the ice and snow
There’s no other place for them to go
To ID them here’s what you do
Look for wingpads four and cerci two
Along the flanks no gills are found
And on each leg two claws astound
The ice is thick, the water chills,
With cold I’m fed up to the gills
But none could say that we are quitters
We’ll search ‘til we find those little critters
Believe me, I know whereof I speak
You’ll find out fast if your waders leak
One hears screams of pain from the bravest jocks
When that icy water hits their socks
Collectors and runners can stay in motion
Stay warmer thus, I have a notion
But picking requires that one stand still
Can be quite bleak, cause many a chill
Don’t go on ice unless waders you wear
If you’re not wearing waders your weight it won’t bear
If you should venture this dumb thing to do
I guarantee you’ll surely break through
Let me warn you right now; listen up and take heed
Bring twice the wraps you think that you’ll need
That usually turns out to be about right
So that you are not left in a piteous plight
A jug of warm water is always quite pleasing
Helps to keep that D-net from freezing
And stout rubber gloves keep collectors’ hands dry
Help a great deal when frostbite is nigh
On these trips a truly most gracious amenity
May help the participants keep some of their sanity
A big jug of cocoa sure hits the spot
Beloved by all if it’s nice and hot.
Through the summer of 2012 Dave Wilson, Lee Burton, Janet Kahan, and Alison and Graham Battersby worked tirelessly to improve our education programming materials and lessons.
This autumn’s educator training saw a huge increase in our volunteer capacity. These new volunteers quickly jumped in, shadowing and leading alongside our wonderful existing volunteers.
Events at numerous schools in Ann Arbor, as well as Pinckney, had area students learning through hands-on activities about stream speed, temperature, dissolved oxygen, turbidity, erosion,
habitats, and – of course – benthic macroinvertebrates.
With lots of new volunteers, we’re now welcoming a few new schools into our programming. If your middle school or high school science class is interested, please let Jason Frenzel know, firstname.lastname@example.org.
As always, a big thanks to TOYOTA for their support of this program.
This Sunday HRWC and Schultz Outfitters hosted river cleanups near Dexter, in Ypsilanti and south of South Rockwood. A couple dozen volunteers hauled out an impressive amount of garbage. Special thanks to Kermit Jones and Mike Schultz for their coordination; HCMA, City of Ypsilanti, Lakepointe Marina, South Rockwood, A&J Maintenance, and Rockwood Family Restaurant for hauling away garbage; Skips Canoe Livery for hauling people around; and REI for financial support.
Tuesday morning started off soggy, cool, and breezy, but our new education program volunteers stuck out the weather and we all learned a lot from each other. This training adds 40% more volunteers to this program which brings HRWC’s expertise and mission to local schools. Thanks to TOYOTA for their financial support of this program.
It can happen anytime, anywhere, and with anyone.
Most recently, it happened on Saturday morning at a petting farm with Amy and Brian and another guy whose name I don’t remember. Youngish parents of preschoolers gathered around cake and juice boxes to celebrate a nearly-minted 4-year-old and engaged in small talk. Who’s your child? Where do you live? What do you do? It was my turn and, predictably, I said, “I work for a research and education organization called the Huron River Watershed Council.” The guy who isn’t Brian cocked his head to one side and asked, “What is a watershed?”
To be honest, the question surprised me. In hyper-educated, “green” Ann Arbor, I expected that these peers would be ready to talk the fresh water lingo. So, while my internal dialogue was decidedly less polished and more animated, I recognized the conversation for the reality check that it was and responded in kind. A thoughtful riff on the drought and low water levels followed as we finished the last forkfuls of cake.
Ask my daughter what she remembers about her friend’s party and she’ll say the baby animals. For my part, I’ll think of the reminder I received from the party-goers that most people in the watershed are stewards-in-waiting.
Become part of the network of dedicated, well-prepared volunteer Conservation Stewards who understand, actively contribute to or lead significant conservation management activities on public and private lands.
Michigan State University Extension (MSUE) offers Michigan Conservation Stewards Program in Oakland County.
FALL 2012 Session scheduled for September 8 to November 10, 2012
Individuals who take part in the Michigan Conservation Stewards Program (CSP) can learn how to effectively take part in informed, scientifically based conservation and resource management and work to sustain healthy ecosystems across Michigan.
MSUE and its partners are offering this volunteer training and leadership program designed for individuals who are interested in natural resource conservation and ecosystem management, natural history, outdoor recreation, natural areas, the region’s environmental issues and challenges, and strategies to help restore and conserve ecosystems in Oakland County.
Topics include Conservation Heritage, Ecological Foundations, Making Choices to Manage Natural Resources, Emerging Ecosystem Issues, and Managing Forestlands, Grasslands, Wetlands, and Lake and Stream Ecosystems. There will also be a volunteer expo highlighting conservation opportunities available in southeastern Michigan. The series of classes, led by experts in various fields of conservation and natural resources, will include lectures, interactive learning and field experiences.
Dates, Times, Locations:
This intensive 10-week program consists of:
eight evening classes held 6-9pm on WEDNESDAY EVENINGS (September 12, 19, 26; October 3, 10, 17, 24; and November 7), and one TUESDAY EVENING (October 30) from 6-9 pm all at the Oakland County Executive Office Building Conference Center, 2100 Pontiac Lake Rd, Waterford.
Three ALL-DAY SATURDAY field sessions will be held from 9-4 pm on
-September 8 at the E.L. Johnson Nature Center, Bloomfield Hills);
-October 6 at Independence Oaks County Park, Clarkston; and
-November 10 at Indian Springs Metropark, White Lake.
Early Registration fee is $275/participant if application packet and payment are received on or before August 10, 2012. Late Registration fee is $300/participant if application packet and payment are received on or after August 11, 2012. Space is limited. Applications are accepted on a first-come, first served basis. Limited scholarships may be available. Deadline to register is August 31, 2012.
Click here for a brochure and an application packet or call (248) 858-0887 to request registration materials by mail.
Program partners include ITC Transmission, Michigan State University, the Michigan Chapter of the North American Lake Management Society, Michigan Natural Features Inventory, Oakland County Parks and Recreation, Oakland County Planning and Economic Development Services, Huron-Clinton Metropolitan Authority, and Clinton River Watershed Council.
Participants of the Nature Adventure Summer Day Camp at the Leslie Science & Nature Center had the opportunity to see what water quality is all about up-close and personal. The camp, which runs weekly throughout the summer, gives kids the opportunity to have some fun in the sun while bringing about an educational experience with science and wildlife. HRWC partners with the Leslie Science & Nature Center by providing an interactive session on water quality.
Campers from grades 1st through 5th joined HRWC staff and volunteers at Traver Creek to discuss the makeup of the Huron River watershed and why it is such an important resource to protect. Basic water chemistry and monitoring techniques involved with the HRWC’s water quality monitoring program were introduced to campers, including measuring for water temperature, pH, and a variety of nutrients in the water. The HRWC crew brought along insect identification equipment to give the kids a hands-on experience, as well as to bring the day’s discussion full circle.
Campers inspected for the small inhabitants of the nearby stream using magnifying glasses to take a closer look at large rocks, sediment, and water from the creek. Stoneflies and midges were noteworthy among the samples, but for most groups the crayfish was the celebrity of the day. Campers and staff alike enjoyed getting a glimpse of the diverse collection of macroinvertebrate life and the positive signs it shows for Traver Creek.
HRWC’s Bioreserve project field assessment volunteers have witnessed some pretty spectacular landscapes so far this field season! This includes extensive marsh and fen ecosystems in Lyndon Township and south of West Lake in Dexter Township. Volunteers are even taking their ipads out in the field to help with plant identification!
The field assessors are gathering data about natural areas in order to educate landowners about the ecological quality of their property and help conservancies and communities target their preservation efforts towards the most important natural areas.
For more information about the Bioreserve project, and if you’d like to join our field assessors, contact Kris Olsson
If you are a “Plant Person,” who can identify most wildflower, shrub, and tree species in a typical Michigan forest or wetland, we could especially use your help and expertise! You can join teams of assessors on these fun forays into the “wilderness!”