Expect extreme satisfaction when you see the difference you and your team have made!
The Weekly Warriors are an essential group of volunteers who have been helping to keep SWMLC’s preserve habitats healthy for more than 20 years! Though the faces may change from week to week, people enjoy each other’s company and often linger after work sessions to talk, laugh, and enjoys snacks together.
upcoming volunteer opportunities
Monday, December 4, 2023 • 1 – 4 pm
Wolf Tree Nature Trails
Oshtemo Township, Kalamazoo County
Join the Privateers weekly volunteer stewardship group for an outdoor work session at Wolf Tree Nature Trails. We will do more clearing to the northwest of the “Slope” and hunt-and-peck for missed woodies in the western quarter of the preserve.
Bring your own work gloves and the usual tools if you have them (SWMLC can supply loppers if you need to borrow a pair). Don’t forget the creature comforts: hat, bandana for mopping up sweat, and personal drinking water and snacks.
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. Wear sturdy shoes or boots. Sunglasses or safety glasses are highly recommended. Hunting season is on, so bright colors are advisable.
Meet in the Wolf Tree Nature Trails parking lot.
Approximate street address:
8700 block of West KL Avenue, Kalamazoo, MI 49009
Wolf Tree Nature Trails is located on West KL Avenue, just east of the intersection with 4th Street on the south side of the road. From Kalamazoo, head west on West Main Street/M-43. Cross the bridge over the US-131 interchange, then continue driving west for approximately 3 miles. Turn left (south) onto North 4th St. and go another mile to the intersection with West KL Avenue. Turn left and the preserve entrance is about 400 yards ahead on the right (south) side of the road.
Wednesday, December 6, 2023 • 1 – 4 pm
Comstock Township, Kalamazoo County
Join the Wednesday Warriors weekly volunteer stewardship group for an outdoor work session at Chipman Preserve. We will continue our work, including a thorough check for missed and resprouted woodies in Savanna #2. DaveB is promising that it will be burned in the spring and, combined with all our work this area, it will be good and ready for a flower re-birth.
Please bring your own work gloves and favorite cutting tools. We will also have loppers if you need to borrow a pair. Don’t forget the creature comforts: hat, bandana for mopping up sweat, insect repellant (the ticks are still at large!), and personal drinking water and snacks.
It’s hunting season, so a dash of orange in your wardrobe is advisable. Wear sturdy shoes or boots and 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.
Meet in the Chipman Preserve parking lot.
The preserve does not have an address number.
The approximate street address is:
8400 East Main St., Kalamazoo, MI 49053
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.
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.
AVOID SPREADING INVASIVE SPECIES – CLEAN YOUR BOOTS!
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.
Weekly Warrior volunteer FAQ’s
What will we be doing?
Activities often include cutting invasive shrubs with handtools and spot-applying herbicide to the stumps. More info can be found in the specific workday details.
I have no experience . . . can I still come?
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! Sunglasses or safety glasses are highly recommended. 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 and snacks.
Do I need to have my own tools?
Bring your own work gloves and hand tools if you have them. SWMLC usually has loppers that you can borrow if you need them.
Can I volunteer with both the Monday and Wednesday groups?
Absolutely! Many people come to both groups, or just attend one or the other when their schedule allows.
Do the Monday and Wednesday groups do the same things?
Pretty much! The two groups often work on different projects, but the type of stewardship field work they perform is much the same.
Am I committed to coming again, or on some schedule?
No way! Come when you can or feel like it – the group will be glad to see you if and when you come again!
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. And please remember that many of SWMLC’s preserves are located in rural areas where snow may not be removed as quickly in town. 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 bathroom?
Probably not. Most SWMLC preserves are rustic natural areas without bathroom facilities. Please keep this in mind before drinking a lot of liquid before the work session – or be prepared to “rough it.”
Can kids come?
Yes, there will be tasks for all sizes! Kids are welcome to help but must be supervised by their caretakers. Volunteering is a great way for children to learn valuable lessons about community and sharing.
Can I bring my dog?
No. Though short-leashed dogs are usually welcome at SWMLC’s public preserves, we ask that you please leave your four-footed friends home on workdays for their safety.
I don’t see many people in the photos that look like me. Will I be welcome?
Absolutely! SWMLC is committed to making our preserves welcoming, safe places for everyone – and we expect all volunteers to understand and support this. Aggressive behavior or language of any sort will not be tolerated. If you ever attend a SWMLC volunteer workday and experience anything that makes you feel uncomfortable, please let us know immediately.
Tales from the Field: Sailin’ with the Privateers
November 27, 2023
Photos and text by David
On Monday, eight Privateers braved the first real snow of the season and succeeded in creating the Slope-with-a-View next to Rutgers Bench at Wolf Tree. We cleaned up the few woodies on the slope and then got out of the way so Joe could do his heavy work to clear the big guys. With the promised “frost seeding” this winter, this slope will be on its way to glory.
While we were staying out of harm’s way, we cleared two hopelessly heavy oriental bittersweet snarls nearby (next to the south trail), and ChuckJ put Joe’s brush cutter to good use taking out the buckthorn grove just south of the “Slope” (glossy buckthorn this time, even in the dry it can take over).
Tales from the Field: Last Week’s Wrap with the Wednesday Warriors
November 29, 2023
Brought to you by David, Jeff, John, & Kristi – Wednesday Warrior volunteers
Photos by Kristi and Joe
Last Wednesday, seven Warriors met at Chipman – again – to finish off clearing the connecting corridor between the savannas. The weather was surprisingly mild with sun and no wind. We charged through the rest of the understory with chainsaws, brushcutters, and loppers. And we are calling that part done! To celebrate, we crossed the trail to the north and worked on widening Savanna-with-a-View #2 to complete the connection.
Meanwhile in a galaxy far far away, Jeff wandered over to the black locust thicket at the edge of the savanna corridor in the Ohio unit, and put the hurt on all the remaining locusts he could find there. He reports: ‘Twas an OCD thing, didn’t want to leave that job half finished. Had to battle through thickets of buckthorn, bittersweet vines and autumn olive. ☹️ Hopefully, after next spring’s burn, there will be one less species to battle as we continue to expand the savanna.
Joe added some details:
This is my best guess of the area we worked today (Yellow line). John, Kristi, Carol, Stanley, Chuck and Jeff worked mostly in the purple/ pink line area on the small stuff. I finished the trees that needed to be taken down from the berm on the north end on savannah #1 to almost the trail between #1 and #2 (orange line). I’m guessing between 10 and 15 trees. I did not get to the trees north of the orange/ pink lines. There are probably another 6 to 10 trees there take we could take. Chuck used the brush saw to work the north and west edge of the area along the trail between the savannahs. Maybe another day and we can have a clear path between the savannahs.
VOLUNTEER OPPORTUNITIES AT SWMLC
conservation easement monitoring