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DNR Events/Get Involved – January 2023

cardinal on snowy ground

In this combined DNR Events/Get Involved roundup, we’ll share a few ways to get out and enjoy – and a few ways to help take care of –  Michigan’s natural and cultural resources in January. For a full list of events, see the Department of Natural Resources calendar at Michigan.gov/DNRCalendar. For more opportunities to volunteer, contribute and provide input, visit Michigan.gov/DNRVolunteers.

Help protect high-quality natural areas at state parks

Group of stewardship volunteers in front of Fort Custer sign in winterSeveral state parks in southern Michigan will host volunteer stewardship workdays in January. Volunteers are needed to help with removing invasive plants that threaten high-quality ecosystems in the parks.

Please note that registration is required for all volunteer workdays, which will take place at:

  • 9 a.m. to noon Saturday, Jan. 14, at Bald Mountain Recreation Area (Oakland County)
  • 10 a.m. to noon Saturday, Jan. 14, and Saturday, Jan. 28, at Warren Dunes State Park (Berrien County)
  • 10 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. Sunday, Jan. 15, and Sunday, Jan. 29 at Yankee Springs Recreation Area (Barry County)
  • 10:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. Friday, Jan. 20, at Fort Custer Recreation Area (Kalamazoo County)
  • 9 a.m. to noon Saturday, Jan. 21, at Belle Isle Park (Wayne County)
  • 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. Saturday, Jan. 28, at Highland Recreation Area (Oakland County)

Get more workday details and registration information on the DNR volunteer events calendar.

Give your opinion on latest state land review recommendations

sun shining through trees in forestStaff recommendations on whether to keep, exchange or sell land in the sixth set of counties in the DNR’s state land review process are nearing DNR director approval, but there’s still plenty of time to review and share feedback via the interactive web map or by email to DNR-StateLandReview@Michigan.gov by Feb 8.

The counties under review include Alger, Allegan, Barry, Bay, Gladwin, Lake, Midland, Montmorency, Presque Isle, Schoolcraft and Wexford. The updated web map reflects the latest staff recommendations since the initial public comment period closed, making it easy for people to see what has changed. The state land review was implemented as part of the 2013 managed public land strategy and involves the review of DNR-managed lands that are 200 acres or less in size or that, due to an irregular boundary, may be difficult to manage.

All feedback received through Feb. 8 will be compiled and provided to the DNR director. A final decision on recommendations is expected at the Feb. 9 meeting of the Michigan Natural Resources Commission.

Follow the latest updates on the state land review process at Michigan.gov/PublicLands.

Learn about feeding winter birds, ice fishing from the experts

white-breasted nuthatch at feederEver wanted to learn to ice fish? New to feeding backyard birds and interested in learning more? The Outdoor Skills Academy can help!

Classes in January include:

  • Feeding Winter Birds (virtual class), Jan. 21. Feeding birds is easy to do with a little knowledge. Learn which birds are likely to visit your backyard and which foods and feeders they prefer. This class will also introduce you to free birding resources and apps, cover how to clean your feeder and explore ways to get involved in community science projects such as the Great Backyard Bird Count. Cost is $25. Each participant will receive a Peterson Field Guide to Feeder Birds and will be entered into a prize drawing.
  • Hard Water School (ice fishing class), Jan. 21-22 at Mitchell State Park in Cadillac. Learn to ice fish from the pros in this two-day class covering everything from how to set up equipment and where and when to fish, to ice safety and rules and regulations. The class will focus on techniques for panfish, walleye and pike. Cost is $40, which includes one-on-one instruction from a pro, lunch Saturday and Sunday, bait and a goodie bag.

The Outdoor Skills Academy offers in-depth, expert instruction, gear and hands-on learning for a range of outdoor activities at locations around the state. Learn more at Michigan.gov/OutdoorSkills.

Hit the (snowy) trail at state parks

cross-country skiers outside ski lodgeIf you’re looking to get outside and enjoy some fresh air, exercise and scenic views – but don’t want to venture out on your own – join us for snowshoeing, hiking and cross-country skiing events at state parks this winter.

Parks hosting events in January include:

  • Porcupine Mountains Wilderness State Park. The Porkies Winter Sports Complex in the western Upper Peninsula offers a variety of events for those looking to explore the snowy park, known for its wild beauty and nestled along the Lake Superior shore. January events include beginner and advanced snowshoe guided hikes and lantern-lit trail hikes.
  • Van Riper State Park (Marquette County), which will host a lantern-lit snowshoe hike Jan. 20.
  • Hoffmaster State Park (Muskegon County). The park kicks off its series of winter snowshoe hikes Jan. 21 (adequate snow permitting).
  • Ludington State Park (Mason County). The park offers a series of lantern-lit ski, snowshoe and hike events this winter, with the next one coming up Jan. 21.
  • Metamora-Hadley Recreation Area (Lapeer County), which invites visitors for a candlelight cross-country ski event Jan. 21. If there is a lack of snow, this will be a walking event.

To plan your own cold-weather adventures – ice fishing, winter birding, Porkies downhill skiing, a winter luge, snowmobiling, fat-tire biking, cross-country skiing and more – visit Michigan.gov/WinterFun for ideas on how to enjoy the season.

Find winter fun inside and out at Outdoor Adventure Center

two kids ice fishing near dockThe DNR Outdoor Adventure Center in Detroit offers plenty of fun – both indoors and outdoors – for all ages this winter, with a slate of programs giving visitors opportunities to learn about and enjoy Michigan’s natural and cultural resources.

January programs include:

  • Wonderful Winter Outdoor Activity and Wild Science Saturdays: Let It Snow, both Jan. 21. Join us outside for a fun winter activity like snowshoeing or snow painting or come inside to learn about the science behind snow.
  • The OAC Running Club, designed for those new to running, which kicks off Jan. 22. We’ll follow a nine-week Couch to 5K plan, with a weekly informational session followed by an outdoor run on the Dequindre Cut.
  • Birding Belle Isle, Jan. 29, focusing on migrant waterfowl on the waters of the Detroit River and inland canals and lagoons throughout the island.
  • Ice fishing, Jan. 29 at Milliken State Park. Equipment and guidance will be provided.
  • Ongoing series including archery, nature education for kids, programs for seniors and more.

Check out the Outdoor Adventure Center event calendar for more details.

Check out new ‘Michigan Makers’ exhibit

When you have a good idea, what comes next? How do you make an idea into something? Discover the stories of people – some successful, others not – who answered these questions in their own way with “Michigan Makers,” a special exhibit at the Michigan History Museum in Lansing. Michigan’s tinkerers, artists, thinkers and makers might just inspire you to create something new yourself!

Check trees for invasive hemlock woolly adelgid

Winter is the best time to look for signs of hemlock woolly adelgid, an invasive insect that can cause significant harm to Michigan’s estimated 170 million hemlock trees. Whether you have eastern hemlock trees on your property or are in the woods hunting, hiking or enjoying other outdoor activities, you can help by knowing what to look for and reporting infested trees. Learn more at Michigan.gov/HWA.