special outdoor workdays

No special tools, strengths, or skills needed – just a willing attitude!

Special Seed Collectors Workdays
Thursday, June 13, 2024  •   6 pm
Saturday, June 15, 2024  •   10 am

Chipman Preserve

Comstock Township, Kalamazoo County

The lupine seed is ready to be harvested! Could you please help us collect it? Like any type of harvest, the window of opportunity is narrow, so we need to quickly jump on this and need lots of helping hands! We ‘re offering two work sessions for this activity that’s fun and appropriate for all ages.
Experienced volunteers will take the harvested seed to be dried, processed, and later sown at other SWMLC preserves (or other parts of Chipman Preserve) that are in need of a lupine boost.

Easy! After brief instruction, it’s just a matter of getting down low, identifying the ripe pods, and pulling them from the lupine plants.


Bring your own work gloves. 
•  Don’t forget the creature comforts: hat, bandana for mopping up sweat, and personal drinking water and snacks.
•  TICKS! It’s tick season! Consider bringing repellent and be sure to do a tick-check when you get home!
•  Sunscreen or a hat are a good idea for those who are prone to burning.
Wear comfortable clothes that you don’t mind potentially getting dirty, stained, or ripped – and dress in layers that you can remove if you get hot. Sturdy shoes with closed toes are recommended (no sandals).
In the preserve parking lot.
Approximate street address:
8400 East Main St., Kalamazoo, MI 49053
42.30341446166594, -85.46257876694905
Driving Directions
Chipman Preserve is in the 8000 block of East Main St.; 3 miles east of Sprinkle Rd. between 30th and 33rd Streets in Comstock Township (Galesburg mailing address), in Kalamazoo County. The preserve entrance is on the north side of the street..

volunteer FAQ’s

 What kind of stuff will we be doing?
It depends on the location and its needs. Activities often include cutting invasive shrubs with handtools, trail maintenance, and picking up trash.
I’ve never done this kind of work before. Will people show me what to do?
Yes! No previous experience, special skills, strengths, or talents are needed. It’s just plain old grunt work – but essential to keeping habitats healthy, and very satisfying.
What should I bring?
Please dress in layers that you can remove if you get hot. Wear comfortable clothes that you don’t mind potentially getting dirty, stained, or ripped. Long pants are encouraged. Wear sturdy shoes or boots – no sandals please! Don’t forget the creature comforts: hat, bandana for mopping up sweat, sunscreen if you’re prone to burning, insect repellant, and personal drinking water. 
Do I need to have my own tools?
SWMLC will provide the essentials: work gloves and loppers. Beyond that, many volunteers choose to bring their own gloves and favorite tools from home, such as loppers, pruners, and hand saws. Eye protection is recommended but not required.
What if the weather forecast is bad?
Volunteer leaders often choose to go forward with the workday if the forecast calls for light rain, light snow, moderate cold, or relatively high temperatures. Workdays are usually cancelled or postponed if high winds, thunderstorms, heavy rain, blizzards, extreme cold, or treacherous ice are expected. Please check the forecast and make your own decisions about driving and working in the predicted conditions. If a workday has been canceled or postponed, we will do our best to get the information on this page and on social media as quickly as possible. Please check these platforms for updates.
Will there be bugs?
Probably! It’s Michigan, which means mosquitoes could be fierce and ticks are looking for prey (that’s us)! Please be sure to bring your favorite insect repellant, consider tucking long pants into socks, and doing a self-exam “tick check” when you get home. And remember – mosquitoes and ticks are just another part of nature: they’re bird food!
Will there be a restroom?
No, Bow in the Clouds Preserve does not have a restroom. Please keep this in mind before drinking a lot of liquid before the work session – or be prepared to “rough it.”
Can kids come?
You bet, kids are welcome to help! There will be tasks for all sizes, plus volunteering helps children learn valuable lessons about community and sharing.
Can I bring my dog?
Please don’t. Though dogs on short leashes are usually welcome at SWMLC’s public preserves, we ask that you please leave your four-footed friends home on workdays for their safety.
No one in the photos looks like me. Will I be welcome? 
Absolutely! SWMLC is committed to making our preserves and events welcoming, safe places for everyone – and all volunteers are expected to understand and support this. Intolerance and bullying are not permitted. If you ever attend a volunteer workday and experience anything that makes you feel uncomfortable, please let us know immediately.

a few reminders

Please stay home if you feel ill, are exhibiting symptoms, or have had recent exposure to someone who has tested positive for COVID.
Seeds, rootlets, and other stuff from invasive plants can get trapped in the treads of work boots or shoes, then transferred to clean areas – like a SWMLC preserve! Please be sure to fully clean the boots or shoes you plan to wear for the workday in advance. We also recommend the use of nylon hiking-type pants, if you have them, to reduce the inadvertent and undesired collection of “stick-tight” weed seeds that can be so anoying and time-consuming to remove from clothing.


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