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Tag Archive | "volunteer"

January is School Board Recognition Month


As citizen leaders, individual school board members face complex and demanding challenges. They are alternately described as having the most important volunteer jobs in the country and facing the toughest challenge in elected American government. Yet school board members are just ordinary citizens with extraordinary dedication to our nation’s public schools. All Michigan citizens should recognize the vital contributions of these men and women and the crucial role they play in the education of our children.

The month of January marks the annual observance of School Board Recognition Month. This is a time to show our appreciation and begin to better understand how local trustees work together to prepare today’s students to be tomorrow’s leaders. In January, join with others from throughout our district and state to salute the men and women who provide grassroots governance of public schools.

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CTA Assists With GRPD Appreciation Project


cta-grpd-1CEDAR SPRINGS, Mich. – Creative Technologies Academy teamed up with a volunteer group to assemble approximately 200 bags for the Grand Rapids Police Department. CTA parents, Laura Wortz and Ruthanne Brinks, were asked to be involved and plan an appreciation dinner for the GRPD as their husbands both protect and serve as police officers.

“We wanted our school to be a part of this,” Wortz commented. “We wanted them to have the opportunity to give back to the men and women who give so much to all of us.”

cta-grpd-218 members of the CTA Cross Country team, along with their coaches, helped pack the bags with chips, granola bars, gum and mints. CTA’s elementary students and Charger Kid’s Club spent time decorating the bags before they were filled. The bags that were leftover from the appreciation dinner were given to the community officers to share with the youth that they encountered during their shifts.

Meijer was a major sponsor and provided a generous donation for the supplies for the event.

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Cedar Springs man among those honored by DNR


Pictured here are just four of the more than 40 hunting education instructors statewide honored for 40 years of volunteer service. Pictured (L to R) are DNR Director Keith Creagh; instructor James Johnson, Houghton Lake; instructor John Seelman, North Muskegon; instructor David Hansen, Cedar Springs; instructor Joseph Primozich, Pentwater; and DNR Law Enforcement Division Chief Gary Hagler.

Pictured here are just four of the more than 40 hunting education instructors statewide honored for 40 years of volunteer service. Pictured (L to R) are DNR Director Keith Creagh; instructor James Johnson, Houghton Lake; instructor John Seelman, North Muskegon; instructor David Hansen, Cedar Springs; instructor Joseph Primozich, Pentwater; and DNR Law Enforcement Division Chief Gary Hagler.

DNR honors longtime hunter education instructors for volunteer service

For nearly 70 years, Michigan has conducted hunter education classes, teaching new hunters firearms safety and the regulations behind having a safe and successful hunt. This year, the Department of Natural Resources has honored those longtime instructors who have been with the program more than 40 years with special recognition, including one from Cedar Springs. They have been honored at a series of Natural Resources Commission meetings.

“Our hunter education program has trained over 1 million hunters since its start in 1946 and currently trains about 20,000 students a year,” said DNR Director Keith Creagh. “We could not do this without the help of our hunter education instructors who volunteer because of their love of the outdoors and their deep interest in passing that interest along to the next generation of conservation leaders.”

There are at least 40 active hunter education instructors who have more than 40 years of service to the program, including Charles Duncan, of Bay City, who is the longest-serving instructor, having volunteered now for 49 years. Instructors honored at the Oct. 9 NRC meeting in Cadillac for their service include:

James A. Johnson, Houghton Lake (46 years).

John M. Seelman, North Muskegon (44 years).

David E. Hansen, Cedar Springs (44 years).

Joseph W. Primozich, Pentwater (43 years).

While having a crop of seasoned, veteran instructors is an advantage for Michigan’s hunter education program, there also is a need to recruit new instructors for the program in all regions of the state, said Lt. Andrew Turner, who manages the DNR’s Law Enforcement Division’s recreational safety program. “We greatly appreciate our veteran instructors who have been with the program for more than 40 years. If you have an interest in passing along your interest in hunting to new hunters, we need you in our program,” Turner said. “This is a great way to ensure that the sport you enjoy today is enjoyed by future generations of hunters.”

For more information on Michigan’s hunter education program, visit www.michigan.gov/huntereducation.

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Volunteer efforts pay off


The Red Flannel Festival delivered a Community Share check for six hundred dollars to the Cedar Springs High School Drama Club for the volunteer efforts at the 2012 Red Flannel Queen Pageant. The Red Flannel Festival is proud of the annual Community Share Program generated over $5000.00 for area local non-profits last year! The Red Flannel Board of Directors and Chairpersons are working hard to ensure the success of the 74th Red Flannel celebrations.

The Red Flannel Festival’s success and growth has been phenomenal! Our staffing demands will out-number our volunteers and we are turning to you, the non-profit community, for assistance. We are proud and excited we have been able to donate almost $30,000 to non-profits in the area with our Community Share Program!

As a completely volunteer, independent non-profit organization, the Red Flannel Festival is keenly aware of the challenges organizations face in fundraising. Our mission is to encourage collaboration and positive economic growth for ALL of the area’s non-profit organizations.

If your non-profit organization is interested in participating in this exciting Community Share Program please contact the Festival office at 696-2662 or email president@redflannelfestival.org.


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Volunteer program kicks off in state parks

The Department of Natural Resources announced the schedule of volunteer stewardship events as a part of the new Volunteer Steward program in southwestern Michigan state parks and recreation areas. Volunteering for these workdays is a great way to get outdoors in Michigan’s state parks, breathe some fresh air, get a bit of exercise and enjoy fall foliage and beautiful landscapes.
The Volunteer Steward program kicked off in October with native seed collection for prairie restorations. Volunteers are now needed in November and December to help remove invasive, non-native shrubs in natural areas within state parks and recreation areas. These activities will help protect and restore the unique habitats by improving conditions for native species and restoring ecosystem function. In doing so, volunteers will be benefiting many species, some of which are threatened or endangered, while also learning about invasive species and hands-on management. Volunteers in need of service credit, such as Conservation Stewards, Master Gardeners, scouts, service clubs, school groups and others are welcome to attend.
Dates, times, and locations of the workdays are as follows:
Saturday, Nov. 5: P.J. Hoffmaster State Park (Muskegon County), 10 a.m.-1 p.m.
Sunday, Nov. 6: Fort Custer Recreation Area (Kalamazoo County), 1-4 p.m.
Saturday, Nov. 12: Saugatuck Dunes State Park (Allegan County), 10 a.m.-1 p.m.
Sunday, Nov. 13: Yankee Springs Recreation Area (Barry County), 1-4 p.m.
Saturday, Nov. 19: Muskegon State Park (Muskegon County), 10 a.m.-1 p.m.
Sunday, Nov. 20: P.J. Hoffmaster State Park (Muskegon County), 1-4 p.m.
Saturday, Dec. 3: Fort Custer Recreation Area (Kalamazoo County), 1-4 p.m.
Sunday, Dec. 4: Grand Mere State Park (Berrien County), 10 a.m.-1 p.m.
Saturday, Dec. 10: Yankee Springs Recreation Area (Barry County), 10 a.m.-1 p.m.
Sunday, Dec.11: Fort Custer Recreation Area (Kalamazoo County), 1 to 4 p.m.
Volunteers should wear appropriate clothing for outdoor work, including long pants, boots, gloves, and bring drinking water. Don’t forget to bring your hiking boots to enjoy the many trails that traverse through forests, dunes, prairies, fen, and the other unique natural areas protected by our state park system.
The Volunteer Steward program is part of the Parks and Recreation Division, Stewardship Unit’s mission to “preserve, protect and restore the natural and cultural resources present within Michigan State Parks for this and future generations.” For information about the specific tasks at each workday and to obtain directions, visit the DNR website at www.michigan.gov/dnrvolunteers and link to the “Calendar of Volunteer Stewardship Workdays.” All volunteers are asked to register using the forms available on the website. Please contact Heidi Frei at 269-685-6851 ext. 147 or freih@michigan.gov for registration or questions about the Volunteer Steward program in southwest Michigan.

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Volunteers clean up Cedar Creek

By Judy Reed

One group of volunteers ready to go to work on Cedar Creek.

Volunteers spread out over the area Tuesday to clean up debris from Cedar Creek.

The clean up was made possible due to a grant from the Great Lakes Commission to the city of Cedar Springs. The grant enabled the city to purchase waders, picks, and trash bags to perform the annual cleanup, which was mandated to take place in August.

Volunteers arrived at the White Pine Trail staging area at the end of W. Maple Street, and were divided into six groups. Each group was responsible for a certain area of the creek. They cleaned from the end of E. Oak Street and west along the creek to 17 Mile Road.

Those cleaning found all sorts of debris, including fast food cups and waste, glass and plastic bottles, Styrofoam, a large piece of varnished wood and more.

The cleanup fits in with an effort by Schrems West Michigan Trout Unlimited, who recently began work on a project along Cedar Creek to improve the stream bank and flow of the water through the City of Cedar Springs to restore trout habitat.

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A brush of kindness

By Tom Noreen

On July 10, youth and adults from the Cedar Springs and East Nelson United Methodist Churches headed north on the 300-mile journey to Manistique for a volunteer week with Habitat of Hiawathaland. This is the 7th time the group has worked on a mission project in the UP.

In an effort to help more people, Habitat is expanding its mission from just building and renovating homes for families. Its “Brush of Kindness” program helps provide maintenance. This year the team undercoated and put two coats of paint on Cathy’s home and storage shed plus built a 10×14 ft deck and washed her exterior windows. Next door, we insulated the floor joist cavities for Dustin and his family.

With a crew of 17, we had the house painted in three days so asked for some other projects. One crew cleaned out a Habitat house we had worked on during our first mission trip in the UP. The family had to give up the home, as they were moving out of the area for work. Another group replaced part of the floor in a 14×20 ft cabin that vandals had set on fire. A third group helped with office chores and others built walls to subdivide a room in the Blanchard Volunteer Center for families. The center currently has male and female dorms but no facilities for families. These rooms will be used both for families working and as a place for local families in a crisis. A team also put door and baseboard trim up in the men’s dorm, one bathroom and the new shower facility.

Each year the crew gets an afternoon off to see some of the local attractions. Last year we went on a Pictured Rocks boat tour. Because we were working about 50 miles north and east of Manistique, we went to Oswald’s Bear Ranch andTtahquamenon Falls State Park.

On Thursday, July 14, Habitat held a potluck for the group and the family. Joining us this year were also Tracey and her family and Jody and Jim and children. Two years ago we worked on the renovations of Tracey’s home and last year we painted and did trim work on Jody and Jim’s home. Having them join us is a tribute to the relationships made between the team and the families.

We have already set dates for next year. Mark your calendars for July 15-21.

Representatives from Cedar Springs UMC were Shelby Towers, Lauren Falicki, Ryley Clark, Kelsi Briggs, Tyler Bevier, Josh Champion, Jackie Champion, Aaron Burnside, Jake Potter, Kenny Neville, Dan Davis, Nancy Kidder, Theresa Champion, Jim Champion, and Tom Noreen. Jenny (Hendges) Pavlak and Sabina Nelson joined the group from East Nelson.

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Annual sturgeon guarding program seeks volunteers

Sturgeon for Tomorrow is seeking volunteers to join in its effort, in partnership with the Department of Natural Resources’ Law Enforcement Division, to help protect sturgeon from poaching.
Each spring, mature lake sturgeon—a fish species that is threatened in Michigan and rare throughout the United States—become vulnerable to poaching as they briefly leave Black Lake in Cheboygan County for spawning sites in the Black River. Hundreds of volunteers stand guard at these sites during the spawning season, from late April through late May, to report any suspicious activity and deter the unlawful take of this prized fish.
“For over a decade, the Sturgeon Guarding Program has proven that citizens who watch over the river have greatly reduced poaching and helped ensure the protection and growth of the species,” said Ann Feldhauser, a Department of Natural Resources retiree and the program’s volunteer coordinator. “It’s a unique and rewarding experience – to witness the spectacular sight of these majestic fish, which can live up to 100 years and weigh over 200 pounds, swimming up into the Black River and to take part in safeguarding one of Michigan’s most valuable natural resources.”
When spawning begins, sturgeon guards are assigned to sites along the river in shifts. The volunteers stand watch and, if necessary, use cellular phones provided by Sturgeon for Tomorrow (SFT), to contact DNR conservation officers who are actively patrolling the area in support of the SFT effort.
Various shifts are available for those who wish to get involved, and coordinators will be on-site to assist and answer questions. In addition to guarding the fish, volunteers can also play a key role by recording the number and activity of fish they see.
Individuals or groups interested in volunteering should contact Ann Feldhauser at 906-201-2484 or register online at http://www.sturgeonfortomorrow.org/
For those traveling from outside the local area, several hotels, restaurants and Onaway State Park, located on Black Lake, are very close to the critical guarding locations. Volunteers also are encouraged to set up their rustic camp along the banks of the Black River.
Lake sturgeon rehabilitation in the Cheboygan River watershed is a cooperative effort involving the Black Lake Chapter of SFT, the DNR, Michigan State University and Tower-Kleber Limited Partnership. In addition to the guarding program, this effort includes activities such as tagging sturgeon adults and raising young fish for stocking.

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