Getting a little wet at the training.

Assessment training complete, volunteers prepared to “hit the field” this summer.

A few rain showers heightened the spirits and enthusiasm of 30-some volunteers who gathered at Independence Lake County Park, in Washtenaw County, to learn how to participate in HRWC’s Bioreserve Project.  Project Director Kris Olsson described the importance of natural areas in keeping the Huron healthy, and the mission of the Bioreserve Project: to assess and find the highest quality natural areas and work towards their permanent protection.  “The reason the Huron is the cleanest river in Southeast Michigan is because of the still large, intact natural areas in our watershed,” Kris explained.  “These natural areas filter polluted runoff, keep creeks and the river flowing cool and constant, and provide wildlife habitat and places to hike, fish, and paddle.”

After lunch, participants headed out to the park’s beautiful forests and wetlands, and the restored “Indy Prairie,” where a patch of yellow lady’s slippers were in full bloom.  Participants practiced the assessments on these natural areas in preparation for going out all over the watershed to perform them on properties throughout the summer.

The information from the assessments will help conservancies, local governments, and other preservation programs target their efforts on protecting the highest quality natural areas, so they can continue to help keep the river clean.

For more information about the Bioreserve Project and how to volunteer, contact Kris Olsson.