Stewardship, Community Engagement and Volunteerism

Posted by & filed under Field Trip, Monthly Meeting.

Date(s) - Mon Sep 20, 2021
6:00 pm - 8:00 pm

Indian Trails Golf Course Club House


Stewardship, Community Engagement and Volunteerism

NOTE: Time 6:00 PM

Now more than ever the public is demonstrating a renewed interested in making a positive difference in their local parks and natural areas by improving stewardship or ecological function to help increase the ecological corridors in their communities. One way to improve ecological function or biodiversity is to remove invasive species. Once invasive species are controlled then the bigger picture vision of land restoration can begin. (This program will build on the concepts presented by Jessie Schulte at the August 16 program entitled Invasive Species Action: Best Practices to Protect Michigan’s Native Flora & Fauna from Intruders.)

Please join us in learning how three different local conservation organizations tackle the concepts of Stewardship, Community Engagement and Volunteerism differently.(Melanie Manion, Natural Resources Manager, Ottawa County Parks, Ginny Sines, Volunteer Coordinator, Kent County Parks and David Marquardt, Director, Grand Rapids Parks and Recreation.)

Other sponsors: Jessie Schulte, Kent Conservation District, Jason Googins, Ken-O-Sha Park Steward, Friends of GR Parks staff and Ginny Wanty, retired MSU Extension Master Naturalist Coordinator

Starting at 6:30 at Indian Trails Golf Course Club House  (2776 Kalamazoo Ave SE, Grand Rapids, MI 49507 ) there will be 3 short presentations on Stewardship, Community Engagement and Volunteerism. Then Ginny Wanty will then tie it all together including giving examples of how the Master Naturalist program and West MI Conservation Network have developed a framework to do just that. (Scroll down to see map.)

Around 7:30 participants will move to Ken-O-Sha Park (1353 Van Auken St SE, Grand Rapids, MI 49508to have the opportunity to learn how to identify invasive plants on site, be introduced to the Pick a Park Concept as well as have time to learn how to treat and remove invasive plants in the park. (Scroll down to see map.)

Pick a Park Concept – WORC members and friends will be encouraged to contact their local park or natural area to see how they could become involved in invasive species monitoring and removal activities as well as assist in restoration efforts. Land Conservancy of West MI, Kent County Parks, Grand Rapids Parks and Kent Conservation District will present their upcoming volunteer opportunities. WORC member will be encouraged to form partnerships so they can work alongside other groups such as 4H, Scouts, Places of Worship, neighborhood organizations to improve ecological function in their local parks and natural areas.

During the short invasive treatment time at Ken-O-Sha Park, all tools will be provided. All participants need to wear closed toed shoes, long pants and long sleeve shirts.

Location #1
Indian Trails Golf Course Club House
2776 Kalamazoo Ave SE, Grand Rapids, MI 49507 for 6:30 pm meeting.

[su_gmap address=”2776 Kalamazoo Ave SW, Grand Rapids, MI 49507″]

Location #2
Ken-O-Sha Park

1353 Van Auken St SE, Grand Rapids, MI 49508 for invasive work about 7:30 pm.

[su_gmap address=”1353 Van Auken St SE, Grand Rapids, MI 49508″]



Melanie Manion is the Natural Resources Manager for Ottawa County Parks in Michigan. She is responsible for the stewardship and restoration of nearly 7000 acres of park and open space land, in addition to the development of a comprehensive volunteer program. Previously, Manion worked for the Land Conservancy of West Michigan and Blandford Nature Center. She has a B.S. in Biology and Environmental Science and a M.S. in Conservation Biology from Central Michigan University.





David Marquardt is the director of the City of Grand Rapids Parks and Recreation Department. Grand Rapid’s distinct ecology is the framework around which David Marquardt’s team in Grand Rapids’ Parks and Recreation has built a department mission and vision. The department’s mission is to provide our community with inspirational experiences through the responsible management and collaborative stewardship of the City’s natural, educational, and cultural resources. The department’s success is hinged on the very collaborative efforts of the residents of Grand Rapids and remarkable community partners like Wild Ones River City Chapter.



Ginny Sines has coordinated the Kent Count Parks’ Volunteer Services program for more than ten years, working with community groups, schools, and individuals to plan events and lead projects to support green spaces. Prior to working for Kent County, Ginny was a volunteer herself at the Ebersole Environmental Education Center and as a “zoo-doer” at John Ball Zoo. She was also employed as an event planner and worked with staff and interns to coordinate various community events. Ginny loves the outdoors and is very pleased to have the opportunity to work with volunteers who are so passionate about protecting the wild places in our community!



Ginny Wanty is the retired MSU Extension Master Naturalist Coordinator, a former science teacher and school administrator, an award-winning Conservationist. She has been honored by the Land Conservancy of West Michigan and the Wildflower Association of Michigan for her Master Naturalist program that impacted hundreds of residents inspiring greater knowledge and stewardship of West Michigan’s natural places and its precious flora and fauna. Ginny’s has been a volunteer with the West Michigan Conservation Network for almost 20 years and under her leadership the Kent Conservation District Strike Team was formed.





Top plant photos banner – left to right: Oriental Bittersweet, Glossy Buckthorn,
Japanese Honeysuckle, Garlic Mustard

Oriental Bittersweet photo – Rebecca Marquardt, Revery
Japanese Honeysuckle and Glossy Buckthorn photos – Leslie J. Mehrhoff, University of Connecticut,
Garlic Mustard photo – Chris Evans, River to River CWMA,


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