When asked why Roger volunteers with LFC he explained that “as a member of the LFC Board of Directors I believe it's important to support staff by working with them in the field when volunteers are needed. Doing this has helped me learn firsthand about the challenges of maintaining and monitoring LFC's nature preserves. I believe I've become a better Board member because of what I've learned through participating in a variety of events and work sessions. Of course, it's also fun to be outdoors and enjoy the natural surroundings.”
Roger thinks if preserving natural areas is important or of interest to you, you can contribute to that effort by volunteering with Little Forks. “Through volunteering you can make a positive and tangible difference in the natural environment. Most if not all tasks completed by volunteers provide tangible benefits that can be seen immediately. Anyone who likes to spend time outdoors and isn't afraid to get their hands dirty will have a rewarding experience.”
We reached out to Mary to see what she enjoys most about volunteering with Little Forks Conservancy. “I enjoy volunteering with LFC because land conservation in mid-Michigan is important to me, and Little Forks is a great steward of the lands they protect. Also, it's fun to meet other volunteers and to spend the day outside making improvements to a beautiful natural area.”
A fond memory Mary has while volunteering happened during the Spring Stream Sampling in 2021, which took place on a beautiful sunny day. While at the George and Sue Lane Preserve, picking macroinvertebrates from a tray, Mary recalls being impressed by the amount of life in the Cedar River. However, finding a small trout upon emptying the bucket brought back from the collector, added to the excitement of the event! The young trout was returned to the river quickly.
Mary thinks others should become a volunteer at Little Forks because “there's something that everyone can do. It's great for families, businesses, and retirees to sign up and provide much-needed muscle for improvement projects.” With a small organization of only three full time staff, volunteers are essential to getting projects completed.
Mary emphasized that “For those who prefer to show their support through a donation, it's important to know that Little Forks is a careful steward of their finances, and is always striving to make their dollars deliver the best value. Little Forks appreciates their volunteers, so it's enjoyable to get involved in any way you can!”
Volunteers can make or break an event and having reliable fun volunteers that come back each time really improves the whole dynamic. The stream sampling of the Cedar started in Fall 2015 with 23 volunteers and has continued with an average of 30 volunteers involved at each event from a mixture of Midland and Gladwin County. It is a joyous moment seeing the teams come back from sampling with laughter and good conversation as they enjoy a lunch talking about the day or something that was brought up while at the sampling site.
Sara Huetteman Preserve and Volunteer Manager says "Greg is one of those volunteers the brings a positive experience to his group, making conversation with everyone attending. Outside of stream sampling Greg represents Little Forks by telling other people about our properties and the work we do. He attends workshops and other activities we plan on the Cedar River such as the Cedar River Clean Up."
Greg Allington has been in the Cedar River collecting macroinvertebrates since 2016. This year Greg will be nominated to MiCorps, the statewide program for stream sampling, for 5 years of volunteering with our program. We reached out to Greg to get his thoughts on volunteering with us. Take it away Greg!
I volunteer for the Little Forks’ stream sampling on the Cedar River because it’s an easy and fun way to do citizen science in my backyard. I have a cabin on Pratt Lake in the Cedar River Watershed, and also live and work down river near the Saginaw River. I love to explore the wonderful rivers and streams we have here in the Saginaw Bay Watershed. We are very lucky to have so many places to hike, kayak, and fish. Many of these places we wouldn’t have without the efforts of Little Forks, along with the help of their partners and volunteers. I feel lucky to be able to help out. The best memories I have with Little Forks is meeting and working with some amazing people around the area. I am constantly inspired and excited to discover inspirational landowners conserving and protecting their land and waters for wildlife and people to enjoy. Most of all I live to discover new places to explore, hike, and be an amateur biologist again.