Lop sumac at Grey Cloud Dunes SNA

Event Date: 
Wednesday, August 18, 2021 - 6:00pm to 8:00pm
Grey Cloud Dunes Scientific and Natural Area, Cottage Grove
Volunteers at Grey Cloud Dunes in 2020

Our work takes place on Dakota homelands. Learn more.


Located in Cottage Grove, this spectacular Scientific and Natural Area (SNA) features two sandy terraces along the Mississippi River and dramatic views. Home to a rare dry prairie, this area provides essential native bee, butterfly and wildlife habitat and is home to a variety of rare plant and animal species. After a brief orientation and a short hike, volunteers will work with FMR ecologists to help remove sumac, a shrub native to Minnesota but aggressive in this ecosystem. Without removal, sumac can overtake this rare and vital habitat, shading out the shorter native prairie plants. Other tending and restoration tasks may also be needed.

All tools and training will be provided at the event, and no experience is necessary. All volunteers are encouraged to work at their own pace. However, due to tool usage, including loppers and saws, this event is not suitable for youth. The designation of this type of natural area is meant to protect rare, fragile plant and animal habitat. Please note that Grey Cloud SNA does not allow pets, nor does it feature amenities – trails or restrooms.


A hike of up to 1/4 mile is required to get to the worksite. Volunteers may then work on slopes with uneven and difficult-to-navigate terrain.

Ready to register?

To sign up and receive directions to the meeting spot, contact FMR Volunteer & Outreach Coordinator Sophie Downey at sdowney@fmr.org, 651-222-2193 x27. Please include the name of the event, your name, address, phone number and the number in your party. Due to our smaller event sizes, we ask that you limit groups to 4 or fewer.

You will receive a confirmation email from sdowney@fmr.org within two business days. (If you don't, please check your spam or promotions folder.) 

If you're under 18 and interested in volunteering without the company of your parent or guardian, please take a moment and have them fill out this brief minor permission form.

Can't make it?

To receive notices of future volunteer events, contact FMR Volunteer & Outreach Coordinator Sophie Downey at sdowney@fmr.org. Or, visit our Events Calendar for our most up-to-date listing of upcoming events. To receive a twice-a-month e-newsletter including all FMR activities and news, sign up for Mississippi Messages.

What about COVID-19?

We're watching the CDC and Minnesota Department of Health guidelines closely. If plans change based on their recommendations, FMR Volunteer & Outreach Coordinator Sophie Downey will email registrants with event updates. (Be sure to add sdowney@fmr.org to your contacts so updates don't land in spam.) And we'll update this page if anything changes.

We will offer gloves and hand sanitizer at the event.

Thank you event partners and funders: 3M Foundation, BNSF Foundation, MN Department of Natural Resources, the Minnesota Environment and Natural Resources Trust Fund, RBC Wealth Management and Xcel Energy.