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Spring Challenge 2024

April 10th – June 30th

Clipboard with Stewardship Network leaf icon

Introduction

Since its foundation in 2008, TSN Spring Challenge has always been a call to do more together. Each year, we challenge our stewards and our communities to spend a little longer caring for their local lands and waters, knowing from experience that action inspires action. Our role is to collect, calculate, and celebrate all this combined impact, inspiring our wide-reaching audience with the power of stewardship at scale and hopefully making field season as fun as possible along the way. Last year’s program rallied over 13,000 participants to record over 50,000 hours of stewardship!

Who Can Participate?

This program warmly welcomes all caretakers of nature in all geographies and ecosystems. Whether you’re doing a little or a lot, we’re excited to have you here. Volunteers are a huge part of this effort each year, but professional stewards, you’re invited too! As long as the time you’re reporting is spent doing a qualifying activity, it absolutely counts.

Tree with green leaves

Be a Part of #TSNspring

The single unit of stewardship effort for TSN Spring Challenge, whatever the category, is stewardship hours. If you spend 8 hours caring for your garden, removing trash from a local park, or volunteering for a TSN Member Community, that’s 8 hours into the program. If you and three friends do the same work in one quarter of the time, that’s (4 people x 2 hours =) 8 total hours also. Easy, right? But here’s the catch: we can only celebrate you if we know what you did and we only know what you did if you report it!

Spread the Word

Of course, the more people who join us in this effort, the more powerful it becomes. If you’d like to support us by inviting more of nature’s caretakers into the fold, we’d certainly appreciate it! Digitally, you can share this webpage, tag your social posts with #TSNspring, or follow along with our TSN Facebook page for updates and engage away! Due to popular demand, we’ve also prepared flyers that you’re very welcome to print out and post wherever makes sense in your community.

Volunteer picks up leaf debris from the forest ground
Green leaf
Image courtesy of Natural Areas Preservation (TSN Spring Challenge 2023)

Boosts are Back!

We know how tempting it is to delay reporting and how much more inspirational it is for your peers if you don’t. To that end, TSN Spring Challenge Boosts are back after a successful debut in 2023 to make timely reporting an extremely compelling choice! Each Tuesday during this program, our staff will draw a random name from amongst all the people who submitted a report by 11:59pm Monday night. If the name drawn is an independent steward with no stated organizational affiliation, that person gets to choose any of the remaining tokens of appreciation we’ve procured for this effort. If the name drawn has claimed any group affiliation, they get their pick and the organization does, too!

To clarify, any number of reports in a single week still equals one name in our drawing and the number of hours per report does not impact your chances, so while it pays to report early and often, you can feel very free to combine each week’s reports into one entry at your discretion.

Currently Available Boosts
from TSN and Donors

$50 gift card courtesy of Zingerman’s Community of Businesses (2 available)!

Epson EX7325 Projector with Gator carrying case (lightly used – 4 still available)!

Boot & Shoe Brushes from NAISMA!

Buckthorn kit from NAISMA!
Framed, historic photo of Ann Arbor, Ypsilanti, or Detroit

Framed, historic photo of Ann Arbor, Ypsilanti, or Detroit (3 available)!

“Summertime Blues” art print by Lori Taylor
“Summertime Blues” art print by Lori Taylor!

Free shipping on your next TSN Gloves for Good request!

“Western Columbine” print by Peggy K. Duke
“Western Columbine” print by Peggy K. Duke!
“Wild Columbine” print by Peggy K. Duke
“Wild Columbine” print by Peggy K. Duke!
Hard copy physical edition of “Nature’s Second Chance”, signed by the author, Steven I. Apfelbaum!
Water For Any Farm book by Mark Shepard

Paperback physical edition of “Water for Any Farm”, donated by the author, Mark Shepard!

Great coffee table book!
“Beauty and the Beast: California Wildflowers and Climate Change” by Rob Badger & Nita Winter

Boosts Already Claimed in 2024

The perks of reporting early and often!
Wildlife Acoustics SM3 Bioacoustics Recorder (lightly used)

$50 gift card courtesy of Cabela’s!

Outdoor Camp Blanket courtesy of REI Co-op!

Flexlite Camp Chair courtesy of REI Co-op!

Epson EX7325 Projector with Gator carrying case (lightly used – 1 claimed)!

Flash 22 Print Pack courtesy of REI Co-op!

Flash 18 Print Pack courtesy of REI Co-op!

2024 Park Pass and goodie bag courtesy of Huron-Clinton Metroparks!

Outsunny 10′ x 10′ pop up canopy!

Kinship: Belonging in a World of Relations
(Complete 5-volume book set)!

TSN Spring Challenge Honors

Whether you report one hour or ten thousand hours, we’re all on the same team and none of us can win alone when it comes to stewardship. That said, we’re always excited to make a big deal about the groups that take our “do more” challenge to heart and end up “doing the most.” In case you forgot or are looking for a little peer inspiration, here are your reporting standouts from TSN Spring Challenge 2023:

The Community Cup WINNER

Huron Arbor Cluster

Awarded to the TSN Member Community reporting the most total stewardship hours

The Root Cup WINNER

West Michigan Conservation Network

Awarded to the organization reporting the most total pounds of invasive plants removed

The Partner Cup WINNER

Milwaukee Riverkeeper

Awarded to the organization reporting the most total stewardship hours from outside our network family

The Teacher Cup WINNER

Great Lakes Islands Alliance

Awarded to the organization reporting the most total education hours

The Solo Cup WINNER

Whitney & Lisa Field

Awarded to the unaffiliated individual or family reporting the most total stewardship hours
Dry, winter tree branches in a forest area
“We did (hundreds of) work hours over the last three years. A long way to go. After bittersweet, we’ll be tackling multiflora rose, autumn olive and bush honeysuckle, and a few buckthorns.” Words/photo by Whitney Field

Then and Now

What was once the Garlic Mustard Challenge and then the Spring Invasive Species Challenge bloomed anew as the TSN Spring Challenge in 2022, adding more ways to help so everyone can get outside and get involved during this vital season. While the program has grown in scope to include activities beyond its invasive species tradition, groups focused on that form of stewardship remain warmly welcomed and strongly encouraged to participate. What certainly hasn’t changed is the importance of this program, which since its first iteration in 2008 has pulled together over 39,000 people to create over $11 million in workhour value while removing over 2.4 million pounds of invasive plant species from local ecosystems.

In many ways, the spirit of TSN Spring Challenge is the spirit that formed The Stewardship Network itself. There is power in realizing that you are not alone in this work and there is power in showing the world just how much we can accomplish when we join forces. Some participants tell us that this effort helps with their own data management and some leverage the big group number to boost their own outreach efforts. Some have told us they’ve seen great benefits from being featured on TSN’s wide-reaching social channels and some say it just feels good to be part of it all. Whatever sparks your action, we love it and we thank you for your support!

Spring Challenge volunteer holding a plastic water bottle with a trash grabbing device

Image courtesy of Milwaukee Riverkeeper (TSN Spring Challenge 2023)

Group of volunteers standing together with green trash bags

Your Support & Donations Make All of This Possible!

TSN Spring Challenge is rivaled only by TSN Conference in the incredible amount of internal energy, time, and resources it consumes. Your donations make this deeply impactful program possible, so if you have the means to make a financial gift during this season, we would warmly welcome that at our Donate page.