The Environmental Interpretive Center relies on many volunteers to help fulfill and advance its mission to promote environmental awareness, understanding, and sustainability.

Volunteer activities may include:

  • collecting/spreading native seeds
  • invasive species control and removal
  • trail maintenance and marking
  • constructing signs and boardwalks

We recognize and appreciate that each volunteer brings their own set of interests and skills. While most of our volunteer projects require little training, a staff member will always be available to assist with and help coordinate your activities. We will also make every effort to accommodate the days and times that are convenient for your service at the Center.

We now have these two new stewardship opportunities:

If you are interested in volunteering to help with our habitat stewardship efforts, then please contact:

Rick Simek, EIC Volunteer Coordinator
rsimek@umich.edu
313-583-6371

Here are three volunteer projects recently completed at the Center:

Take a Seat Outdoors!

Boy Scout Eagle Service Project Council Rings Construction Crew
Boy Scout Eagle Service Project Council Rings Construction Crew
Volunteer crew who assisted with construction of a Boy Scout Eagle Service Council Rings Project

During spring 2010, the installation of a rain garden on the south side of the EIC building offered a unique opportunity to create a gathering place to sit and enjoy the garden and its wildlife.  These stone or wooden circles afford a group of visitors to sit together and converse in an egalitarian setting, where all people in the community are listened to and valued.

The Environmental Interpretive Center (EIC) enlisted Daniel Bunge, a Dearborn Boy Scout interested in completing his Eagle Service Project, his family, and a crew of volunteers from BSA Troop 1147 to design and construct two concentric council rings in the midst of the newest EIC rain garden.  This project was made possible with financial assistance from a Ford Motor Company MODEL “Better World” mini-grant.  The completed council rings have already become a staging area for the EIC’s educational school programs, and it is common to see students sitting on the benches enjoying the sites and sounds of the rain garden.

Closed for Business

Dr. David Susko inspects wildlife exclosures in the Environmental Study Area
Dr. David Susko inspects wildlife exclosures in the Environmental Study Area
Dr. David Susko inspects wildlife exclosures in the Environmental Study Area

Based on EIC staff observations, the white-tailed deer population has dramatically increased in the Environmental Study Area over the past several years. To better understand the impacts of the deer herd and other wildlife on the health of the forest, it was decided to install wildlife exclosures. These fenced-in areas keep grazing animals out, allowing for comparisons of the impacts of wildlife browsing on the plant community outside the exclosures to the inaccessible areas within. Local Boy Scout Clayton Ford volunteered to build and install three wildlife exclosures for his Eagle Service Project. Clayton researched and submitted plans for the exclosures, and raised substantial funds needed for the materials. Clayton and his crew installed the exclosures in a section of the forest between the Orchard Trail and Fairlane Drive.

Harvest Help!

Volunteers help install a fence around the EIC's Children's Garden
Volunteers help install a fence around the EIC's Children's Garden
Volunteers help install a fence around the EIC's Children's Garden

As any of the gardeners who tend to plots in the Center’s Community Organic Garden (COG) will attest, the Garden has experienced an ever increasing level of foraging by white-tailed deer in recent years. After a particularly damaging summer in 2011, it was determined that a taller wildlife fence needed to be installed around the Children's Garden. The Children's Garden in the COG is home to the Center’s weekly gardening programs for children ages 4-10 during the months of May-August. T

Local Boy Scout, David Totten, volunteered to install a new deer fence around the Children's Garden. David wanted to contribute to the ongoing community activities sponsored by the Environmental Interpretive Center for his Eagle Service Project (Troop #1151).  David  raised the necessary funds for the fence through returnable bottles that he collected. More than 20 recruits assisted David in installing a new 7-foot tall fence around the Children’s Garden. With David’s help, now our young gardeners can look forward to bigger harvests without worrying about the deer.

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