Grass River Natural Area's Volunteer Newsletter
April 2017
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Wahoo!!  Did you know that April is National Volunteer Month?  I know, I know, there seems to be a month everything nowadays.  But this one is important.  So important, in fact, that it includes over 25% of the U.S. population!  In 2015, 62.6 million people volunteered in the United States alone, accumulating 7.9 billion hours of service (that's BILLION!).  Now imagine what our country would look like without those 7.9 billion hours of service.   Actually don’t, because I don’t think any of us would like what we see. 
To show our appreciation as a region, Northwest Michigan Association of Volunteer Administrators (NMAVA) and the State Theater in Traverse City are inviting you to partake in a free movie, popcorn and soda on Sunday, April 23rd at 12:30 pm to watch Hidden Figures.  And because no one really likes to see a movie alone, you can invite your favorite person to accompany you at no cost!  You can register here but if you have any questions please feel free to contact me.
Safety First!
On April 3rd GRNA offered a chainsaw safety training for volunteers and community members, led by Chuck Oslund, M-Tec trainer at Bay College in Escanaba.  With around 10 people in attendance we covered mental preparedness, situational awareness and the five rules of the chainsaw safety system, with a few anecdotal moments in between, as you can imagine.  This is a continuation of our effort to provide proper training to ensure that our volunteers are not only prepared as GRNA volunteers but also offer enrichment opportunities that they can take home with them and use in other aspects of their lives. 

And speaking of enrichment opportunities, we still have openings for the Volunteer Enrichment Day on Saturday, April 29th.  Even if you can only make it for an hour or so, feel free to register and take advantage of a room full of very knowledgeable naturalists, biologists and educators.  You can read through the full agenda here and register here for your breakout session of choice.  I can’t stress enough what a great opportunity this is for you to explore and learn about some of the many programs that are going on at GRNA…and it’s free!
Friendly Reminder
Wildflower & Bird Walks, led by wildflower enthusiast Julie Hurd (and oftentimes her sidekick Phil!) are beginning on Tuesday, May 9th and will be occurring every Tuesday throughout the summer and run from 10 am to 12 pm.  If you haven’t had the chance to attend one of these walks, don’t put it off any longer.  If you have had the privilege, you know how wonderful they are.

There are also a few more spring bird walks in our Birding Series this season led by bird enthusiast, Teresa Moore.  The next walk is coming up on Saturday, April 29th at 10 am and is incorporated into our Volunteer Enrichment Day.  Two weeks later will be Birding By Ear on Saturday. May 13th at 9 am.  The last program of the Birding Series for the season will be on Saturday, June 3rd at 9 am and will focus on nesting birds.  These programs are great for people of all skill levels and abilities.
Did you know??
Did you know that GRNA is a part of a larger northwest MI watershed collaboration called ERCOL-WPIT (Elk River Chain of Lakes Watershed Plan Implementation Committee...ugh, acronyms) that consists of a partnership between Tip of the Mitt Watershed Center, the Watershed Center of GT Bay and over ten local government agencies, conservation organizations, lake associations and non-profits?   The group was formed in 2010 and is focused on implementing projects pertaining to the Elk River Chain of Lakes in the Grand Traverse Bay Watershed Protection Plan.  One of these projects is the Large Woody Debris along the banks of Grass River that many of you may notice as you boat or float by.  This group has also been a part of installing over 80 fish shelters on Elk, Torch, Intermediate, Clam and Lake Bellaire to improve recreational fishing. 
On April 4th ERCOL-WIPT held a Local Government Meeting to provide newly elected officials and the public with an overview of the group and highlight some concerns of the group as well as the successes of the group such as the approved Water Trail introduced by Paddle Antrim.  It is these types of partnerships and dedicated organizations that keep northwest Michigan vibrant and focused on keeping our well-used waterways healthy for future generations to enjoy. 
Dinner at the Dockside
It's that time of year again...time to sit out on the deck, sipping a tasty beverage watching the boats go by.  You haven't forgotten that that happens, did you?  I know it was a long (read: gray) winter but now we're on the other side, looking forward to long days and spectacular sunsets.  Sounds wonderful, doesn't it?  What if I told you that you can sit on a deck overlooking one of the best sunset views of Torch Lake, munch of some good food and sip your favorite beverage all while supporting GRNA?  Sounds too good to be true, right?  It's too easy--what's the catch, you ask.  No catch.  Just good times.

Join us at The Dockside on Tuesday, May 2nd from 5 pm to 10 pm where 50% of all food and drink proceeds benefit GRNA. Enjoy great food with wonderful people in a relaxing environment all while supporting a great organization.
Upcoming Events
Volunteer Enrichment Day
Saturday, April 29th (9 am-12:30pm)
This is an open training workshop for all GRNA volunteers or anyone interested in volunteering at GRNA.  In addition to offering various breakout sessions focusing on different aspects of volunteerism at GRNA, there will also be a guest speaker from MNFI to discuss the history of natural features of GRNA. Register here.

Spring Stream Monitoring
Saturday, May 6th (8am-12pm)
Join us as we collect and ID macroinvertbrates from Cold Creek.  One group of volunteers  will meet at 8 am and go into the creek to collect the macros while another group meets at 10 am to pick through, sort and ID the macros at the center.  You may volunteer for either group or stay all morning.  Lunch is provided for this event.  If you are interested please contact me to register and be sure to specify which time(s) you would like to volunteer for.

Spring Stewardship Day
Saturday, May 20th (9am-12pm)
Join us at GRNA for our first stewardship day of 2017!  There is lots of spring cleaning to do around the property as well as finishing up some projects we started in 2016.  Lunch is provided for this event.

Annual Benefit Concert with Vox Vidorra & Turbo Pup
Saturday, June 24th (5pm-10pm)
If you like to get down to great music while helping a great organization, then this volunteer opportunity is for you!  We have a variety of needs for this event, from helping guests get registered to selling drink tickets to scooping ice cream, and there is bound to be one just right for you. There will be more information on this event as the date gets closer but mark your's going to be a great night!
Check out updated events on our website, facebook or twitter.
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Grass River Natural Area
PO Box 231
Bellaire, MI 49615

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