Volunteers help our region shine. Two bright examples of their toil appeared on recent pages of the Record-Eagle.

About 300 people, most volunteers, spent a day last week at Leelanau State Park painting structures, building shelves, installing a playground, cleaning and improving a trail and moving historic artifacts to a new display area.

A smaller group of volunteers on Saturday waded into Grand Traverse Bay to help inventory native and invasive species in the fishery. The count, part of The Great Lakes Naturalist Initiative, is intended to help the Traverse City-based nonprofit Cerulean Center and the Suttons Bay-based nonprofit Inland Seas Education Association monitor life in the bay.

Both events relied on volunteer labor.

Nonprofits in Traverse City and throughout northwest Lower Michigan also depend on volunteer labor to staff information desks, advocate for children, tutor students, help guardians with paperwork chores, council entrepreneurs, teach kids how to safely ride a bicycle, and drive elderly residents to medical appointments.

Volunteers also help in school classrooms across the region, performing a variety of tasks so teachers can devote more of their time to teaching. They also coach after-school sports.

Organizations like Goodwill Northern Michigan use volunteers to deliver food to the hungry, cook food at the Goodwill Inn and perform clerical duties.

Nonprofits like the Michigan Legacy Art Park in Thompsonville utilize volunteers as tour guides for school field trips.

Humane societies across the region, including Cherryland Humane Society in Traverse City, rely on volunteers to walk dogs, clean facilities, host events and raise funds.

Fact is, we’re fortunately blessed to have an abundance of active, interested people who keep our community engine running. But there’s always a need for more hands — which can be matched up with those who have some time on theirs. It can also prevent volunteer burnout.

Best practice is to match people with their interests and skills – and chances are, there’s an opportunity that lines up just right for you.

We’re lucky in our region to have a committed, caring group of people who extend their hands when we need them. It wouldn’t be the same place without you.