Enter the KL Avenue Nature Preserve Re-Naming Contest!

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

Enter the KL Avenue Nature Preserve Re-Naming Contest and help to craft a name that better reflects the true value and importance of this special natural area to people and the community.

First prize winner receives a $50 Gift Card from Hidden Savanna Nursery -- submit your entries by June 18!


Names can say a lot.

Dr. Richard Malott’s 70 acres of rolling land in Oshtemo township has been called “KL Avenue Nature Preserve” since its donation to SWMLC in 2011. This “placeholder name” tells us the location of the property in a gridded road system but it lacks the charisma, information, and flair of a good name.

It deserves better! 

Now, with an accessible parking lot and driveway completed, and 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 and choose a new name for it.

And we want the community's input.


So, take some time to explore KL Avenue Nature Preserve yourselves, experience it, learn about it, love it — and see what comes to the surface.
We've posted some temporary interpretive signs along the trails to help spark ideas and trail maps are available here.


1. The name must reflect human use of the preserve (such as "trails", "paths", "walks", etc.)

2. The name must reflect natural qualities and/or geographical location of the preserve (such as "Oshtemo", "savanna", "oaks", etc.)

3. Submit as many names as you like.

4. SWMLC will choose the Top 10 names, then ask the public to vote for their favorite.


• June 18: Submit name entries to conserveland@swmlc.org

• June 27 - July 3: Vote for your favorites among the Top 10 entries, which will be posted here on the website.

• July 15: We will announce the Top Three winners and the name of the new preserve!


• $50 gift card from Hidden Savanna Nursery

• Your photo with the new preserve sign on our website and in our Fall 2016 newsletter


• SWMLC ballcap in your choice of colors

• Your name on our website and in our Fall 2016 newsletter

To get to the preserve: KL Avenue Nature Preserve is located on West KL Avenue in Oshtemo Township in Kalamazoo County, just east of the intersection with North 4th Street on the south side of the road. There is no sign yet (because we're waiting to find out what the name will be!) but look for the new driveway into the beautiful new gravel lot.

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, Oshtemo Township, 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, Todd Sanford and Sanford Financial Services, Generation III Excavating, Native Landscapes, Native Connections, Hidden Savanna Nursery, 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.

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 29

We will work our magic at another local favorite, Bow in the Clouds Preserve. We will focus on finally clearing the underbrush around the Swan Pond (We didn't even know there was a pond till we started clearing).

WHERE: Bow in the Clouds Preserve, City of Kalamazoo

WHEN: 9:00 am - 12:00 pm. Meet in the preserve parking lot.

ACTIVITY: Brush removal

BRING: rubber boots or wear shoes that can get wet, work gloves, your favorite loppers, water.

DIRECTIONS: The preserve is on Nazareth Road (about one mile west of Sprinkle Road), behind the campus of the former Nazareth College (now home to Transformations Spirituality Center, 3427 Gull Rd.). From Gull Road, turn north onto Nazareth Road. The preserve entrance is about half a mile ahead on the left side of the road. Look for our old gray barn up off the road.