Upcoming Events

Three SWMLC Preserves Featured on
Three Rivers Area Fall Color Tour

SWMLC will participate in the Tour by showing off three of our preserves during one of the prettiest times of year!

Sunday, October 11, 2015 - Noon to 5 p.m.

Coon Hollow Preserve, Fabius Township, St. Joseph County
Hidden Marsh Sanctuary, Three Rivers, St. Joseph County
Spirit Springs Sanctuary,  Marcellus Township, Cass County

Hosted by the Three Rivers Chamber of Commerce, the annual Area Fall Color Tour is a scenic, fun-filled drive that celebrates the beauty and color of Southwest Michigan with stops at local businesses and outdoor areas. Stretch your legs at Coon Hollow Preserve, savor autumn foliage reflected in water at Hidden Marsh Sanctuary, or take in the season with a long hike at Spirit Springs Sanctuary (trail maps onsite). Naturalist Bill Westrate will lead a guided hike at Spirit Springs at 2 p.m. that's sure to be as entertaining as it is informative.

Coon Hollow Preserve

South on I-131, past Three Rivers, west on Coon Hollow Rd. for 1.7 miles. Turn left (south) on Ferguson Rd; preserve sign and parking on right. Directions to Coon Hollow from Hidden Marsh: go south on Buckhorn/Portage St. to Hoffman Rd. Turn right on Hoffman. Take Hoffman west, across 131 to Ferguson, turn left. Take Ferguson just past Coon Hollow Rd. Preserve sign & parking is on the right.

Hidden Marsh Sanctuary
Go south on US-131 to Heimbach Road (just north of Three Rivers). Turn left (east) and go 0.8 miles to Buckhorn Road (four-way stop). Turn right and go south 2.5 miles. Buckhorn becomes Portage Road, and you will see a big preserve sign on the left (east) side, near 1501 Portage Road.

Spirit Springs Sanctuary
South on US-131 to Marcellus Highway (MI-216). Turn right (west) onto Marcellus Highway, drive 4.3 miles to the intersection of Bent Road (large green sign). Turn left (south) onto Bent Road and drive 3.1 miles to intersection of Dutch Settlement Road. Turn right (west) onto Dutch Settlement Road; the property is 1.8 miles ahead on the right-hand side, just after the road surface changes color (County line). 

Storybook Hike at Pilgrim Haven Natural Area


A free, fun outdoor event that will help your kids fight Nature Deficit Disorder! 

Saturday, October 10, 2015
Guided Hike: 2 - 3 p.m.
Self-guided hikes (storybook will remain posted): 3 - 4 p.m. 

Pilgrim Haven Natural Area, South Haven, MI

Author Charles Ferguson Barker will lead a hike through the preserve's beech-maple forest and out to the Lake Michigan beachfront while reading his book "The Day the Great Lakes Drained Away", which connects nature, geology, and the Lakes in a kid-friendly format. Presented in conjunction with South Haven Memorial Library.

The first 12 families to RSVP and attend will also receive a free copy of the book, signed by the author! To RSVP, contact us at conserveland@swmlc.org or call us at 269-324-1600. 

For more information on this event and some of our other conservation efforts in the South Haven area, see this Oct. 2 article on Mlive. 

Pilgrim Haven Natural Area is located just north of VanBuren State Park. From the Kalamazoo area, travel west on M-43 until you come to the intersection with CR 380 at Jericho Corners (look for a brown Van Buren State Park sign and a green airport sign.) Turn left at the intersection and continue on CR 380 for approximately 4.5 miles. Turn right (north) onto A-2/Blue Star Highway, travel a short distance, then take the left fork at the intersection with 77th Street. Again, travel a short distance, then turn left (west) onto 18th Ave. Look for event signs and the preserve entrance on the right.

Join the Wednesday Workday Warriors!

Anyone is welcome to pitch in to help keep our preserves up to snuff. It's a wonderful way to experience the preserves with the folks who know them best, plus get acquainted with other active people who share the conservation spirit. RSVPs are always nice; just call the office at 269-324-1600 or email conserveland@swmlc.org.

Wednesday, October 14, Chipman Preserve, Comstock Township, Kalamazoo County

We will amuse ourselves by trailblazing and rerouting a very erosion-prone trail in the back (northeast) part of the preserve. We will be trimming, leaf blowing, raking, and putting up some signage to let folks know about the change so they can get used to walking a different route. We may even be able to transplant a desirable native plant or two around the future path. 

Bring the usual
Work gloves, drinking water, and maybe a snack.

To carpool from Kalamazoo
Please make your own carpool arrangements and meet at the Chipman parking lot at 9:00 a.m.

Directions to Chipman Preserve
The preserve is on East Main Street, 3 miles east of Sprinkle Road (on the east side of Kalamazoo). Go 1/2 mile past 30th St, past mailbox number 8415, and pull into the parking lot on the north side of the road.


We're tinkering with the upcoming schedule, so be sure to check back for details.

PLEASE NOTE: start times may switch to 1:00 pm as the days get shorter and colder. We'll keep you posted.

[Photo by Kristi]


Future Events

SWMLC's Hidden Pond Preserve on Back Roads Barry County Bicycle Tour

Get off your bike and recharge your batteries at Hidden Pond Preserve!

Saturday, October 17, 2015
8 a.m. - 1:30 pm

Hidden Pond Preserve, Hope Township, Barry County

Explore some of the most scenic parts of Barry County by bicycle! Routes cover some of the most beautiful gravel roads in the county. Longer routes travel by Michigan Audubon and Southwest Michigan Land Conservancy properties where refreshments and bathrooms will be available. All routes start and end at Pierce Cedar Creek Institute, and maps are currently available at cedarcreekinstitute.org. Riders will be able to recharge for the afternoon with lunch at the Institute. More information available at West Michigan Tourist Association.