Leelanau Conservancy looking for pontoon owners to give tours

Published online: Feb 16, 2011 News Kristine Morris - www.morningstarpublishing.com
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LELAND - "Volunteers are very important to our stewardship program and the Conservancy as a whole - they help us on so many levels that it would be hard to imagine what we would do without them," said Leelanau Conservancy Biological Technician Fields Ratliff.

"And the best thing about volunteering with the Conservancy is that we really do have something for everyone's schedule and skill set," he added.

On Friday, Feb, 25, the Leelanau Conservancy will be hosting a Volunteer Expo open to all who would like to learn more about opportunities to volunteer with the organization noted for its work in protecting Leelanau County land for future generations.

The Expo will include two sessions, one at 10 a.m. and the other at 1 p.m., with each session lasting about an hour. Conservancy staff and current volunteers will give short explanations about some of the projects they have worked on, from Wildflower Rescue to the Conservancy's Annual Friends Picnic and Auction.

Stewardship Director Jenee Rowe will highlight the types of upcoming outdoor activities and work bees that will need volunteers.

"Whether you have only an hour or two to spare here and there, or have time on your hands as a new retiree, the Conservancy has many needs to fill," she said. Refreshments will be served, and a question-and-answer period and time to talk with staff and volunteers will follow.

"This is a great way for people who love Leelanau County to get involved in helping to protect it," said Communications Director Carolyn Faught. "It's also a tremendous opportunity for people of all ages to make new friends and to have fun. We have a job for everyone, whether they like to be out in the woods creating trails, or in our office stuffing envelopes."

The Expo will be held at the Conservancy's office, 105 N. First St., just off River Street, in Leland. Please call 231-256-9665 to register.

Upcoming projects

The Conservancy's Wildflower Rescue Committee needs volunteers to help save plants from the bulldozer when a piece of land is being developed. When alerted that native plant species are endangered by development, the Wildflower Rescue Committee contacts the owner of the property to get permission to collect the plants, which are then moved to safety on Conservancy property sites or put into pots to be sold at the Spring Plant Sale, held each year at the Leland Village Green to benefit the Conservancy's work.

For more information on this group, contact Patty Shea, 231-256-9249, or Joanie Woods, 231-256-7154.

Volunteer snowplowers are needed to help keep the parking areas at the Whaleback Natural Area in Leland and the Chippewa Run Natural Area in Empire plowed out and accessible. Call Jenee Rowe at the Conservancy, 231-256-9665, or e-mail 
www.theconservancy.com if you can help.

The Annual Picnic and Auction, a highlight of the year and the event that the Conservancy calls "a critical component of our success," raises funds that support its work all year long. The Auction Committee handles many tasks, including gathering items for the auction, helping set up for the event, serving appetizers, and many other activities.

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