Lend a hand at these Ann Arbor Natural Area Preservation activities in February

Remove invasive shrubs, undergo controlled burn training with NAP

By Meredith Bruckner - Community News Producer

David Borneman, NAP deputy manager, leads a controlled burn training at the Leslie Science and Nature Center on Feb. 22, 2018 (Photo: Meredith Bruckner)

ANN ARBOR - Another month, another lineup of events you can participate in to help restore and protect this city's beloved nature areas.

The city of Ann Arbor Natural Area Preservation has released its February schedule for volunteer opportunities:

World Wetlands Day (Stewardship Workday)
Saturday, Feb. 2, 1 to 3 p.m.
Gallup Park

City of Ann Arbor's description:
"World Wetlands Day highlights the importance of wetlands to our communities and our planet. A unique wetland lies alongside the Border-to-Border Trail at Gallup Park. This wet prairie is home to several rare plant species. Join in efforts to keep this ecosystem healthy by removing invasive shrubs such as buckthorn. From Gallup's main entrance, drive across the wooden bridge, and meet in the first lot after the bridge (map)."

Stewards' Circle
Tuesday, Feb. 12, 7:30 to 8:30 a.m.
Bruegger's Bagels, 709 N. University Ave.

City of Ann Arbor's description:
"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, go to www.stewardshipnetwork.org. This month's topic: New Invasives.

"We know all too well about buckthorn, phragmites and garlic mustard and what they do to our native habitats, but what are the newer southeast Michigan invaders to be on the lookout for? Learn about wild parsnip, swallow-wort, Chinese yam, mile-a-minute and other invasives that are only now starting to gain a toe-hold in our area. What are the key characteristics to identify them, and how do you report and control them when seen?"

Stewardship Workday
Sunday, Feb. 17, 1 to 3 p.m.
Foxfire West Park

City of Ann Arbor's description:
"Being outside in nature in the winter has proven health benefits. Get some fresh air and vitamin D while working to improve biodiversity! The wetlands at Foxfire West are threatened by non-native shrubs. Help improve the habitat for frogs and other wildlife by removing these invaders. Meet at the park entrance on Birchwood Drive, between Hickory Point Drive and Timbercrest Court (map)."

Credit: City of Ann Arbor NAP


Stewardship Workda​y: Presidents Day
Monday, Feb. 18, 1 to 3 p.m.
Leslie Park

City of Ann Arbor's description:
"Spend your day off volunteering to help wildlife! A wet meadow lies on the border of Leslie Park and Black Pond Woods, but it is threatened by invasive shrubs. Clearing shrubs from this wetland will benefit both frogs and butterflies. Meet at the parking lot at the end of Leslie Park Circle, off Dhu Varren Road (map)." 

Public Meeting: Contr​​olled Burn Program
Tuesday, Feb. 19, 7 to 8:30 p.m.
Northside Community Center, 815 Taylor St.

City of Ann Arbor's description:
"Fire is used as a restoration tool in many of Ann Arbor's natural areas. This meeting will be a discussion about our Controlled Ecological Burn Program. Ask questions and learn more about the benefits of effectively and safely using fire as a restoration tool. All persons are encouraged to participate in public meetings.

"Accommodations, including sign language interpreters, may be arranged by contacting the City Clerk's office at 734.794.6140; via email to: cityclerk@a2gov.org; or by written request addressed and mailed or delivered to: City Clerk's Office, 301 E. Huron St., Ann Arbor, MI 48104. Requests made with less than two business days' notice may not be able to be accommodated."

Volunteer ​​​Burn Crew Training
Wednesday, Feb. 20, noon to 5 p.m.
DTE Energy Nature House, Leslie Science and Nature Center, 1831 Traver Road

City of Ann Arbor's description:
"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 are typically carried out Monday through Friday between noon and 7 p.m. and include same-day notifications since specific weather conditions are required to complete a successful burn.

Due to limited space, those interested must register by Feb 18.

NAP staff hold a controlled burn demo at the Leslie Science and Nature Center on Feb. 22, 2018 (Photo: Meredith Bruckner)

To register, email NAP@a2gov.org or call 734-794-6627.

Read: City of Ann Arbor trains controlled burn volunteers

Winter Nature W​​​​alk
Sunday, Feb. 24, 10 a.m. to noon
Furstenberg Nature Area

City of Ann Arbor's description:
"Want to learn more about how to identify different types of trees without their leaves? Can you tell the native species from the non-native? Kick off National Invasive Species Awareness Week by learning to identify native and non-native trees and shrubs in the winter. Please dress for the weather, and be prepared for a long hike. Meet at the parking lot off Fuller Road (map)."

National Invasive Species Awareness Week (Stewardship Workdays)

City of Ann Arbor's Description:
"It's National Invasive Species Awareness Week! Invasive species are among the greatest threats to our native biodiversity. Each morning this week, NAP will be working to remove non-native invasive species such as honeysuckle and buckthorn from Ann Arbor's nature areas. Join us to improve habitat in our city. Please dress in layers and wear shoes suitable for snow or wet ground."

Monday, Feb. 25 
10 a.m. to noon
Oakwoods Nature Area

"This oak-hickory woodland includes a small pond and wetland, which are great spots for birdwatching or listening for frog calls. Meet at the park entrance off Dunwoodie (map)."

Tuesday, Feb. 2​​​6 
10 a.m. to noon
Dhu Varren Woods Nature Area

"This park is 13 acres of oak, hickory and maple trees. Meet at the intersection of Birchwood Drive and Dhu Varren Road (map)."

Wednesday, Feb. 2​​7 
10 a.m. to noon
Leslie Woods Nature Area

"This woodland has some of the largest oaks in the Ann Arbor parks, plus a very diverse understory. Meet at the park entrance at the north end of Upland Drive, north of Plymouth Road (map)."

Thursday, Feb. 28
10 a.m. to noon
Argo ​​Nature Area

"The oak-hickory woods here overlook Argo Pond, and owls and hawks nest in the trees. Meet in the parking lot north of the Argo Canoe Livery, off Longshore Drive (map)."

Friday, Marc​h 1
10 a.m. to noon
Arbor Hills Nature Area

"Arbor Hills Nature Area is a small park, but home to an intricate community of wetlands and woods. Meet at the park entrance on Ashburnam (map)."

Saturday,​​ March 2
10 a.m. to noon
Furstenberg Nature Area

"This park along the river has high ecological diversity, including restored prairie and oak savanna. Meet in the parking lot off Fuller Road (map)."

On Stewardship Workdays, NAP requests that you dress in warm layers and wear waterproof shoes ideal for wet ground or snow. To participate, you must complete a release form, and a guardian must accompany all minors. 

NAP provides volunteers with tools, snacks and know-how.

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

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