Community Projects

If you like to be outdoors and work with plants, volunteering on Community Projects is a way to get hands-on experience with various native plant projects and get to know fellow Wild Ones enthusiasts.  Work days occur in Spring, Summer, and Fall at various locations in Kalamazoo.  Each work day is about a 2 hour commitment.

The objectives of these projects include 1) providing better resources for wildlife in degraded public spaces, 2) helping to improve water quality in some of the city’s wetlands, ponds and streams,  3) making the beauty of native plants visible in areas frequented by many people, and 4) promoting the name and vision of Wild Ones in the community.

For more information on how you can get involved, or to be notified by email of upcoming sessions, email Paul Olexia. The schedule for this year’s work days is below.

2024 Work Day Schedule

April 24Wednesday2-4pmGlen ParkPrep for new plants and transplant
May 22Wednesday2-4pmGlen ParkNew plants
May 31Friday2-4pmTom & Ruth’s housePlant Exchange prep
June 14Friday10am-noonNorthglade schoolPlant and clean up
June 26Wednesday10am-noonKPSClean up, weed, new plants
August 16Friday10am – noonAxtell  CreekPurple loosestrife
August 21Wednesday10am-noonNorthglade schoolWeed and clean up
Sept. 4Wednesday10am-noonKPSWeed and clean up
Sept. 13Friday2-4pmGlen ParkWeed and clean up

Axtell Creek (at Howard St. and Crosstown Parkway – MAP Park at Montessori School Building; access from Howard St. with permission, or east across Crosstown Parkway in the commercial parking lot). The main thing we currently do along Axtell Creek, downstream (east and northeast) from Howard St.  is to try to control the purple loosestrife which is rather dense.  We have introduced beetles there but they don’t seem to be  thriving, although there are some remaining as of last year.  Our major activity involves cutting off the flowering heads of purple loosestrife to try to reduce seed production and encourage some native species such as button bush, nine bark, and swamp milkweed to compete with the loosestrife. Volunteer and learn about native wetlands, and how to identify invasive species.

Glen Park (Kensington Ave – MAP).  Glen Park is a small “pocket park”.  It can be accessed by heading west on Parkview Ave. from Oakland Drive. At approximately 1 mile, Broadway Ave. heads to the north off of Parkview.  Turn right on to Broadway and at the first intersection turn left and then left again to get on to Kensington Ave.  There is a sign for the park on the left side of Kensington. It can also be accessed through the Winchell neighborhood (consult the MAP link). Volunteer and learn about native plants, invasive species and site restoration.

Northglade Montesorri Magnet School (1914 Cobb Ave – MAP). North off of Patterson, just west of N. Westnedge. Volunteer and learn about native plant installation and site maintenance.

Tom & Ruth Small’s Gardens (2502 Waite Ave, Kalamazoo – MAP): Volunteer and help us get ready for the annual Spring Plant Exchange

KPS – Kalamazoo Public Schools Administration Building (1220 Howard St, Kalamazoo | MAP): In 2013, with the assistance of the Kalamazoo Public Schools we established a new planting of native prairie and savanna plants.  Since then we have worked regularly to control invasive alien species as well as some natives that readily self-seed. We also add new plants as openings allow. Volunteer and learn about native plants, invasive species and how to maintain native plantings.

Others: On occasion we have collaborated with other organizations and with some local businesses, schools (El Sol, Montessori School) and churches. We believe strongly that a major way we can impact this community is through plantings in places that show off the beauty of native plants and inform the public of their importance.

Heartfelt gratitude to our wonderful volunteers

Our volunteers who do vital work on community projects and plant exchanges to help spread the word about native plants and make our work and our mission more visible in the community.

Cup plant and mallow, Axtell Creek

Thank you to all those who volunteered on projects in 2023. Apologies to any we may have overlooked, we welcome your corrections.

Barbara Sagara
Beth Bradburn
Catherin Niesink
Cheryl Kuta
Harry Bird
Jessica Hagen
Margo Rebar
Paul Laferriere
Rochelle Habeck

Please consider volunteering at as many sites as you can. Don’t stop there: Help recruit friends, neighbors, and other members. Make these true community projects. We should warn you:  although we work pretty hard, we have fun and we learn, and it can be habit-forming.

– Paul Olexia
Community Projects Chair

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