Winter volunteer workdays at State Natural Areas provide perfect opportunity to get outside and enjoy great scenery

MADISON – Now is your chance to get outside and get some exercise while exploring some of Wisconsin’s most pristine public lands. Sign up for any of the nearly two dozen winter volunteer workdays scheduled at State Natural Areas throughout Wisconsin this winter.

Morning workdays are scheduled at many sites throughout the state, typically from 9 a.m. to noon, mostly on Saturdays. Volunteers need no training beforehand, but are provided equipment and training on site to complete the work, which typically involves helping cut, pile and burn brush or scattering prairie seeds on snow.

Enjoy camaraderie, exercise and great views at winter volunteer workdays at many Wisconsin State Natural Areas. - Photo credit: DNR
Enjoy camaraderie, exercise and great views at winter volunteer workdays at many Wisconsin State Natural Areas.Photo credit: DNR

Enjoy camaraderie, exercise and great views at winter volunteer workdays at many Wisconsin State Natural Areas.

“We have volunteer groups stepping up all over the state to care for Wisconsin’s State Natural Areas and these winter volunteer workdays are a great way to warm up,” says Jared Urban, who coordinates the State Natural Areas Volunteer Program for the Department of Natural Resources Natural Heritage Conservation Program. “Participants can get some exercise and also get a great opportunity to see these special places and experience some great views.”

State Natural Areas feature outstanding examples of Wisconsin’s native natural communities, significant geological formations and archeological sites and are often the last refuge of many rare plants and animals. While nearly all state-owned natural areas are open for activities including hiking, nature photography, bird watching and hunting, they are largely undeveloped.

Among sites where people can lend a helping hand and volunteer are Observatory Hill in Marquette County, which famed naturalist John Muir explored as a child, Ridgeway Pine Relict, and several other sites with beautiful ice formations. Many sites feature majestic bur oaks that will really stand out against the winter landscape.

A list of workdays and flyers for each event can be found by searching the DNR website, dnr.wi.gov, for keywords “SNA volunteers.” Here, people can also sign up to receive email notices for workdays at state natural areas throughout Wisconsin. For more information regarding this volunteer program, contact Jared Urban via email at jared.urban@wisconsin.gov.