Park Stewards are experienced volunteers who have adopted a nature area to protect and restore while fostering an environmental ethic among others. Stewards are committed to ongoing and long-term care of their park. They work with NAP to develop an annual workplan that outlines restoration goals and techniques for their natural area.
Peter has been a Park Steward at Miller since 2018 and has lived adjacent to the park since 1984. It is, as he calls it, “an amazing carbon sink, groundwater filter and a well-used neighborhood resource." He feels Miller Nature Area has the potential to be a good example of how, with careful stewardship, such a disturbed area can be rehabilitated to become a quality woodland, supporting native trees, plants and wildlife, as well as the health and well-being of its human neighbors. To that end Peter can often be found, along with his fellow stewards, removing invasive plants from early fall through late spring. In addition to his work in Miller, Peter is part of the Volunteer NAP Burn Crew, and with the Forestry Department's Citizen Pruners Program.
Lisa has been a Park Steward since 2019. She is a science writer and editor and retired biologist who is working three seasons a year to remove invasive species from Miller Nature Area and to encourage the regrowth of native plants. At home she has a special interest in the long-term survival of the Monarch butterfly and cultivates a yard absent of turf and full of native pollinator plants as part of her Monarch Waystation.
Alyssa has been a Park Steward at Miller since 2020 and is also a Rain Garden Steward at the Miller rain garden through the Washtenaw County Water Resources Office. As a neighbor who lives adjacent to the nature area, she has a personal interest in helping it return to a more native habitat as well as educating interested neighbors and visitors about the area and the benefits of native plant species. While working alongside the other stewards, she has learned a great deal about the benefits of native plants and has worked to incorporate them into her own yard, too.
Ellen, along with her husband Jim Young, has lived near the park since 1995. Although Ellen is an avid walker, she avoided the park for many years because the invasives, such as honeysuckle, made it feel claustrophobic and unsafe. However, in 2020 she came across Pete and Lisa working to clear the invasives and decided to join them. After volunteering for several months, she officially became a Park Steward in 2022. She enjoys seeing the park become a habitat for more native plants and hearing her neighbors talk about how the changes are inspiring them to use the park.
Jim has been a Park Steward at Miller since 2022. Having rediscovered the park via numerous walks during the COVID pandemic, he is excited to continue the improvements in Miller towards a more natural state. These make the park more welcoming for visitors (people and pets), as well as the natural inhabitants (numerous species of plants and animals).