Autumn provides plenty of ‘sweater weather stewardship’ opportunities in St. Clair County

Sheri Faust calls it sweater weather stewardship.

Although the warm summer months may be behind us, it doesn’t mean that the environmental stewardship efforts of the Friends of the St. Clair River are over for the year, too. In fact, the autumn can often be an ideal time for getting outdoors and working to protect and maintain the natural world.

“I use ‘sweater weather stewardship’ to collectively describe outdoor fieldwork this time of year,” says Faust, president of the Friends of the St. Clair River.

“It really is the best time to manage woody invasive species when we can’t always do that in the warmer months with the overgrowth.”

Managing invasive species is just one of the many tasks that the Friends take on throughout the year. But it can also be one of the most important.

“It can be a constant battle, year after year, to deal with invasive species. We have to keep up with seasonal efforts to maintain these invasive species. If we contain and keep them under control, they’ll have less of an impact on our native species,” Faust says.

“Managing invasive species is just as important as initial efforts to create wildlife sites in the first place, to maintain the natural integrity of these areas.”

By working in the fall and early winter, it allows the Friends to “hit the ground running come spring.”

A full list of workshop and volunteer opportunities is available online.

The organization is also unrolling a new program this fall called the Watershed Challenge. Participants will have 12 weeks to complete 30 challenges, a list that includes activities like planting trees, cleaning storm drains, and more. Participants that complete the challenge by Saturday, Dec. 12, will receive a Watershed Hero gift. Registration ends Friday, Oct. 16.

And for those unable to attend one of their outdoor events, the Friends of the St. Clair River offer “armchair volunteer opportunities” for guests to participate virtually.

Many of the organization’s fall-time events and activities require volunteers to arrive with minimal equipment. As Faust says, “just grab your boots and discover something new.”

Visit Friends of the St. Clair River online to learn more about activities planned.

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