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Here’s how you can volunteer with Ann Arbor Parks in February

Gardening gloves.
Gardening gloves. (Pixabay)

ANN ARBOR – Stuck inside? Want to change up your routine?

Lend your hand at several events in February in Ann Arbor’s natural areas.

The city of Ann Arbor Natural Area Preservation runs regular volunteer events to restore the city’s parks and natural areas while fostering a concern for the environment among residents.

Performed by both staff and volunteers, activities include ecological monitoring, animal inventories and stewardship projects. NAP continues to monitor guidance from city and other health officials. Events are subject to change if they should be deemed unsafe for the public. If such changes should occur, registrants will be notified and updates will be made to NAP’s website. For the most up-to-date information, visit www.a2gov.org/NAPevents.

Due to COVID-19, Volunteer Stewardship Workdays have changed. In order to attend, preregistration is required. Masks covering your nose and mouth are required at all times and participants must maintain a six foot distance from others.

Participants at workdays are requested to wear closed-toed shoes, long pants and leather work gloves. All minors should be accompanied by a parent or guardian. Staff will provide tools and know-how at each activity.

The following events are planned for February 2021 with descriptions from NAPs website:

Stewardship Workday

When: Saturday, Feb. 6 from 1-3 p.m.

Where: Furstenberg Nature Area

Sedge meadows are a unique type of wetland, accurately described, for the larger percentage of sedges present when compared to a wet meadow. Although similar in appearance to grasses, sedges have distinct differences — find out what they are as NAP works with volunteers to remove invasive plants from the sedge meadow at Furstenberg Nature Area! Preregistration is required as space is limited. Preregister here. Meeting location will be provided after registration.

Stewards’ Circle

When: Tuesday, Feb. 9 from 7:30-8:30 a.m.

Format: Zoom Meeting

Are you interested in learning more about how to care for our natural areas? Then join the Stewardship Network’s Huron Arbor Cluster for an informal discussion on a monthly topic with volunteer and professional land stewards, plus others interested in nature. Free! For more information, visit www.stewardshipnetwork.org. Join the virtual discussion via Zoom: https://tinyurl.com/SCZoom2021 or dial in at 888,788.0099 (toll free) or 877.853.5247 (toll free). Meeting ID: 921 6530 3767

This month’s topic: Southeast Michigan Land Conservancy’s Native Plant and Insect Garden.

Stewardship Workday – Presidents’ Day

When: Monday, Feb. 15, from 1-3 p.m.

Where: Leslie Park

Wetland habitats not only provide a home and food source to many plants and animals that live on land and in water, but they also improve water quality, control erosion and mitigate flooding. Join NAP to restore this valuable habitat by removing invasive shrubs at Leslie Park. Preregistration is required as space is limited. Preregister here. Meeting location will be provided after registration.

Public Meeting: Controlled Burn Program

When: Wednesday, Feb. 17, from 7:30-8:30 p.m.

Format: Zoom Meeting

Fire is used as a restoration tool in many of Ann Arbor’s natural areas. This meeting will be a discussion about the NAP Controlled Ecological Burn Program (http://www.a2gov.org/departments/Parks-Recreation/NAP/Pages/PrescribedEcologicalBurns.aspx). Ask questions and learn more about the benefits of effectively and safely using fire as a restoration tool. Join the Zoom meeting via: https://tinyurl.com/BurnMeeting021721. To join via telephone: +1.206.337.9723 or +1.213.338.8477 or 877.853.5247 (toll free) or 888 788 0099 (toll free). Webinar ID: 969 4023 8212

This meeting is being held electronically to protect public health and safety due to the COVID‐19 virus and to comply with orders issued by the governor, the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services, and/or the Washtenaw County Health Department.

Volunteer Burn Crew Training

When: Thursday, Feb. 18 from noon–5 p.m.

Become a part of NAP’s Volunteer Burn Crew! This is the required training session for anyone interested in assisting with NAP’s controlled burns. Burns typically take place Monday through Friday between noon and 7 p.m. Registration is required by Feb. 17, as enrollment is limited. Call 734-794-6627 or email NAP@a2gov.org to register or for more information. Some portion of training may be outdoors.

Stewardship Workday

When: Sunday, Feb. 21 from 1-3 p.m.

Where: Foxfire South Nature Area

Foxfire South Nature Area is home to an uncommon butterfly called the Acadian hairstreak. This butterfly is light gray and dotted with orange spots on the hindwing. In warmer months, you might be able to spot this butterfly in the wetland near the stream in Foxfire South. Help NAP protect this butterfly habitat by removing invasive shrubs! Preregistration is required as space is limited. Preregister here. Meeting location will be provided after registration.

Stewardship Workday

When: Saturday, Feb. 27 from 1-3 p.m.

Where: Mary Beth Doyle Park

Help to honor the late environmental activist, Mary Beth Doyle, by removing invasive shrubs from prairie edges inside Mary Beth Doyle Park. One of the ways prairie ecosystems are lost is due to invasive shrubs establishing in a disturbed open area and spreading without natural predators and ecological controls. NAP needs help in removing these aggressive shrubs from the park to keep this prairie a prairie! Preregistration is required as space is limited. Preregister here. Meeting location will be provided after registration.

For more information, visit www.a2gov.org/NAP.


About the Author:

Meredith has worked for WDIV since August 2017 and was voted one of Washtenaw County's best journalists in 2019 by eCurrent's readers. She covers the community of Ann Arbor and has a Master's degree in International Broadcast Journalism from City University London, UK.