KL Avenue Preserve Grand Opening and Naming Contest

What’s in a name? We hope that YOU will provide the answer to this age-old question!

Please join us on Saturday, June 4th at 10:00 am to celebrate the grand opening of this amazing preserve on Kalamazoo’s west side and help to craft a name that better reflects the true value and importance of this special natural area to people and the community.

Now, with an accessible parking lot and driveway completed, as well as over 2 miles of trails that travel through rare black oak barrens and wooded uplands, we're ready to open the preserve to the public. There will be brief remarks at 10:30 am, followed by a nature walk at 11:00 am. We will also post interpretive signs as well as a storybook hike for those who would like to take a self-guided tour. Coffee and donuts will be provided for everyone who comes to visit.

Details on the naming contest rules will be provided at the grand opening, and on our website. “We hope that, while at the preserve, nature will inspire people with ideas about a befitting name for this amazing slice of southwest Michigan nature that is here for the enjoyment and enrichment of people,” stated SWMLC Executive Director Peter Ter Louw. “The only restriction is that the name must honor Dr. Malott’s request that, beyond describing the natural area, the name should reflect a place where people are a part of nature, not separate from it.” 

As with all of our public events, the Grand Opening and Naming Contest Launch is free and open to the public. To RSVP, please give us a call at 269-324-1600 or send an email to conserveland@swmlc.org.

KL Avenue Nature Preserve is located on KL Avenue in Oshtemo Township, just east of the intersection with 4th Street on the south side of the road.

Hope to see you there!

A little more about KL Avenue Preserve . . .
the 70 acres that comprise the preserve was donated to SWMLC in 2011 by long-time Oshtemo Township resident, Richard Malott. Dr. Malott is a Professor of Psychology at Western Michigan University, who always appreciated the natural features of this area. Dr. Malott felt that conserving this land as a publicly accessible nature preserve would bestow a value to the community far beyond any financial benefit in selling the property for development.

Over the past 5 years, SWMLC has been hard at work planning trails, mapping natural communities, running field trips, and restoring habitat with volunteers, staff, and contractors. The KL Avenue Nature Preserve has been a true community conservation project, garnering support from SWMLC volunteers, the Kalamazoo Community Foundation, the Hanes Foundation, employees of Pfizer Corporation and PNC Bank, the Oshtemo Township and Mattawan Fire Departments, the Michigan Botanical Club, Audubon Society of Kalamazoo, the Great Lakes Adventure Club, and the Partners for Fish and Wildlife Program, not to mention the steadfast commitment of Dr. Malott.

The soon-to-be-renamed KL Avenue Nature Preserve plays an important role in Oshtemo Township’s open space plan and provides a beautiful publicly-accessible natural area on the west side of Kalamazoo.



The Friends of Pilgrim Haven ROCK!

You did it! SWMLC’s 2015 Year End Appeal challenged all of you to help us meet an ambitious $50,000 goal to create public access at Pilgrim Haven, and you nailed it!

Our deepest thanks to all of you who participated and made a gift to support the Friends of Pilgrim Haven. And as always, many thanks to all of you who broadly support SWMLC and allow us to do this important work together.

Your gifts enable us to meet the matching requirements of our Michigan Natural Trust Fund grant as well as those for a federal funds proposal we submitted in December. Altogether these funds will provide most of the necessary monies to undertake the first phase of work to open Pilgrim Haven to the public and create barrier-free access to the beach.

In partnership with the South Haven Area Recreation Authority (SHARA), we expect to begin improvements in early summer. SHARA will assume management and maintenance of the preserve, while SWMLC maintains responsibility for improving the natural area.

And although the preserve will be undergoing construction of a parking lot and walkway, we will still be holding several workdays to help restore Pilgrim Haven’s natural areas, as well as community events for you to come and enjoy.


Thank you!


The Wednesday Workday Warriors: Join us in Lucky Season 13!

2016 marks SWMLC's Silver Anniversary
and it's hard to believe that so much time has passed!

There have been many changes but one constant remains: 14,000 acres of Southwest Michigan’s distinctive dunes, wetlands, forests, savannas, prairies, farms, and vineyards are now conserved and protected forever. In 2016, we're celebrating our anniversary with 25 special events that highlight our public preserves and offer fun, new activities for the whole family.
Please check our events page for the most up-to-date announcements and details.

Join us in celebrating what we’ve achieved together in 25 years of local conservation. With your help, we’re just getting started!



The Wednesday Workday Warriors

Lucky Season 13!
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, June 1

We will work our magic at Hultmark Preserve, the first preserve acquired by the Conservancy back when we were all just pups. Come and help us hound the ever-diminishing garlic mustard, and doggedly push back the autumn olive. We will be sure to leave time to stroll the back woods of cathedral-like beeches and soothing hemlocks. You owe it to yourself to steep your soul in this sylvan beauty! RSVPs are always appreciated.

WHERE: Hultmark Preserve, Columbia Twp., Van Buren Co.

WHEN: 9 am - 12:00 pm

ACTIVITY: Invasive plant species control.

BRING: Bring gloves, water, and your favorite loppers.

To carpool: Meet at the southwest corner of the parking lot at the Meijer on West Main St./M-43 (6660 W Main St., Kalamazoo) at 8:30 am.

Hultmark Preserve: From Kalamazoo, go west on M-43 to Glendale, then north on CR665 (42nd St.) to Bloomingdale. Turn left (west) onto CR 388 (10th Ave.) to T intersection. Turn left onto CR384 (12th Ave.) Follow it around to Hultmark on the right, just 0.1 miles past 49th St. Turn in at the driveway with the gate marked “The Schrank Family”, then turn left at the first clearing. Meet at 9:00 am.