About Us

The Southwest Michigan Land Conservancy (SWMLC) is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit land conservancy created in 1991.  SWMLC works in the nine counties of southwest Michigan to preserve wild and scenic places for today — and keep them healthy for tomorrow. 

SWMLC is governed by a board of directors and operated by a professional staff that works in concert with dedicated volunteers.  SWMLC helps individuals and organizations preserve land important to wildlife, water quality, and people; encourages ecologically sound land practices; and provides opportunities for education, research, recreation, and nature study.  

Since its inception, SWMLC has protected almost 13,000 acres of dunes, wetlands, forests, savannas, prairies, farms and vineyards that give our region its distinctive character.  These landscapes have been safeguarded through a combination of donations and purchases of conservation easements and fee title land. 

In 2010, SWMLC received the National Land Trust Excellence Award from the Land Trust Alliance.  The award was given for leadership in conservation for our collaborative approach and breadth of work in stewardship and conservation planning.

In 2012, SWMLC achieved land trust accreditation, a milestone accomplishment.  Awarded by the Land Trust Accreditation Commission, an independent program of the Land Trust Alliance, accredited land trusts meet national standards for excellence, uphold the public trust, and ensure that conservation efforts are permanent.

SWMLC currently owns 44 preserves, many of which are open to the public for passive recreational use.   It also holds 83 conservation easements on private properties that further ensure conservation of natural lands and open space.

MISSION AND VISION

 

Mission Statement

SWMLC works to conserve the scenic and ecologically important landscapes that give our region its natural character — now and for generations to come.

SWMLC seeks to:

  • Safeguard natural areas, open spaces and waterways through gifts, land purchases, and conservation easements;

  • Strategically select properties based on their distinct ecological features and the value they provide as agricultural land and wildlife habitat;

  • Encourage broad public participation in conservation through a non-partisan, non-adversarial approach to land protection;

  • Promote a healthy vision of community where people from diverse backgrounds can benefit from the restorative powers of nature;

  • Provide places where people can recreate, reflect, restore habitat, and grow in their knowledge and love of the natural world.

 

Vision

SWMLC envisions a southwest Michigan that is environmentally healthy, economically vibrant, and naturally beautiful. 

 

[Photo of Pilgrim Haven Natural Area by Kristin Schinske.]