Upcoming Events

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 stay tuned to this page for the most up-to-date event announcements. 

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



The following events are free and open to the public! 
 

JULY
 

Chief Noonday Half-Way Challenge Hike
Saturday, July 9, 9 am
details

Announcement of KL Avenue Nature Preserve's NEW Name - stay tuned!
Friday, July 15
details

Saturday Workday at "New Name" Preserve (formerly known as KL Avenue Nature Preserve)
Saturday, July 16, 9 am - 12 pm
details
 

Tike Hike Scavenger Hunt at "New Name" Preserve (formerly known as KL Avenue Nature Preserve)
Thursday, July 21, 7 - 8 pm
details

Michigan Butterfly Network Walk at Jeptha Lake Fen
** Please note, there is a fee associated with this walk - please visit www.michiganbutterfly.org for details.
Wednesday, July 27, 12:30 pm
details

Transformations' Green Spirit Nature Walks at Bow in the Clouds Preserve
Saturday, July 30
9:30 - 10:30 am: Adult Naturalist Hike
11 am - 12 pm: Storybook Hike, Water Walkers by Carol Trembath

Green Spirit details, Storybook Hike details

 

AUGUST

Kanoe the Kazoo to Arcadia Ales
Tuesday, August 2
Check-in from 5 - 5:30 pm
details

"Drink One Down for Your Town" Benefit for SWMLC at Arcadia Ales
Tuesday, August 2, approximately 6:30 pm
Arcadia Ales will tally the day's tap sales and make a matching donation to SWMLC. Every pint makes a difference!
details
 

Soundwalk - Family Style!
Saturday, August 6
Join Soundscape Ecologist, Sharon Gill, for a family-friendly earful of Bow in the Clouds Preserve.
** Please check back for details **

Plant a 25-Species Butterfly Garden at Wau-Ke-Na, William Erby Smith Preserve
Saturday, August 13
Please join us in planting a garden that provides a waystation for migrating monarchs as well as a nectar source for many other butterflies and pollinators.
** Please check back for details **


Tike Hike / Cupcake Decorating Party at Bow in the Clouds Preserve
Monday, August 15
Exercise, then cake! A pint-sized hike followed by cupcake decorating. Cake, frosting & sprinkles provided. 
** Please check back for details **

No Family Left Indoors at Hidden Pond Preserve
Tuesday, August 16
A fun way for families to experience nature together and plant those seeds of conservation in the young ones.
** Please check back for details **
 

Art Walk at Pilgrim Haven Natural Area
Saturday, August 27
Enjoy the work of the Plein Air Artists of West Michigan in a peaceful, beachside setting. There will be live painting demos, an art exhibit and sale, kids' activities, guided hikes, and more!
** Please check back for details **


SEPTEMBER

Annual Meeting and 25th Anniversary Gala Event at Chipman Preserve
Saturday, September 17 

Celebrate 25 years of conservation work in southwest Michigan! It will be a blow-out bash . . . don't miss it!
** Please check back for details**

 


 

Chief Noonday Half-Way Challenge Hike
Hiking is free, the only charge is if you come for breakfast.

WHEN:
Saturday, July 9, 9 am, (8 am for optional breakfast at Homer Stagecoach Café)

WHERE:
The hike begins at Webster Street Park, across from 360 N Webster St, Homer, MI (southeast of Battle Creek); Calhoun Co.

DIRECTIONS:
• From I-94, take Exit 108 south onto I-69 toward Fort Wayne.
• Travel for approximately 6 miles and take Exit 32 (M-227 / F Drive South). Turn left (east) onto F Drive.
• Travel for nearly 6 miles, then turn right (south) at the T-stop onto 22 1/2 Mile Rd. (aka Marshall-Homer Rd.). The road will gradually veer east and change its name to 23 Mile Rd.
• Travel for a little over 3 miles, then turn left (east) onto L Drive South.
• Go about 2.25 miles, then turn right (south) onto N. Webster St. (aka 25 1/2 Mile Rd.). Your destination is just ahead.

DETAILS:
The Chief Noonday Chapter of the North Country Trail is offering two hikes in one - on paved trail and scenic country roads! Experienced hikers may want to take the 11.4 mile hike to Victory Park, Veterans Way at Hannah St, Albion. Those more “green” may want to stick with the short hike of 5.5 miles to Condit Rd. at H Drive S (which is actually north of Homer, MI). All CND hikes are one-way with a shuttle to your car.  Fair warning – bathroom opportunities are limited on the trails, so plan accordingly!

BRING:
Water, cell phone, snack, sunglasses, insect repellant, sunscreen, hiking or comfortable walking shoes

More information is available at North Country Trail's website or by emailing: CNDHiking@charter.net

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Saturday Workday at "New Name" Preserve (formerly known as KL Avenue Nature Preserve)

WHEN:
Saturday, July 16, 9 am - 12 pm

WHERE:
New Name" Preserve (formerly known as KL Avenue Nature Preserve), Oshtemo Twp., Kalamazoo Co.

DIRECTIONS:
The preserve is located on KL Avenue in Oshtemo Township, just east of the intersection with 4th Street on the south side of the road.

DETAILS:
Celebrate this preserve's new name by trimming trails, cutting invasive brush, and more. We'll tailor our work to emphasize the preserve's new name-sake: Oaks? Savanna? Trails? Your votes will decide! The entrance sign with the new name on it may even be ready to install!

RSVP's are always nice, just call the office at 269-324-1600 or email Mitch at lettow@swmlc.org.

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Tike Hike Scavenger Hunt at "New Name" Preserve
(formerly known as KL Avenue Nature Preserve)

free event - open to the public!

 

WHEN:
Thursday, July 21, 7 - 8 pm

WHERE:
New Name" Preserve (formerly known as KL Avenue Nature Preserve), Oshtemo Twp., Kalamazoo Co.

DIRECTIONS:
The preserve is located on KL Avenue in Oshtemo Township, just east of the intersection with 4th Street on the south side of the road. 

DETAILS:
Searching for "treasures" is the perfect way for young children to get acquainted with the natural world! Join SWMLC volunteer and dad, TJ Wilkinson, and the folks from Hike It Baby! for a summer evening Tike Hike and Scavenger Hunt!  This fun, nature-themed scavenger hunt will lead kids to explore nature in a new and exciting way.

RSVP's are always nice, just call the office at 269-324-1600 or email Miko at cmdargitz@swmlc.org.

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Michigan Butterfly Network Walk at Jeptha Lake Fen
** Please note, there is a fee associated with this walk - please visit www.michiganbutterfly.org for details.

 

WHEN:
Wednesday, July 27, 12:30 pm

WHERE:
Jeptha Lake Fen, Columbia Twp., Van Buren Co.

DIRECTIONS:
From Kalamazoo, travel west on M-43. Turn right (north) onto 50th St. (aka CR 673) -- it's about 4 miles west of Glendale and 4 miles east of Bangor. Go approximately 3 miles until you come to the “T” intersection at 20th Ave. (aka CR 380). (Note: 50th St. will jog slightly to the left before you reach 20th Ave.) Turn right (east) onto 20th Ave./CR 380. Go about half a mile. When 20th Ave. turns north and becomes 49th St., continue straight ahead onto the gravel driveway and park in front of the yellow gate to your right in the yard. The preserve entrance is just beyond the gate. 

DETAILS:
Join the Michigan Butterfly Network as they lead participants on a lepidopteran safari at one of SWMLC's most "butterfly-rich" preserves.

To RSVP, please visit http://www.michiganbutterfly.org/fieldtrips.

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Transformations Green Spirit Nature Walks at Bow in the Clouds Preserve
Free and open to everyone!

 

WHEN:
Saturday, July 30
9:30 -10:30 am

Adult Naturalist Hike with SWMLC Conservation and Stewardship Director Nate Fuller


11:00 am - 12:00 pm
Water Walkers Storybook Hike led by the author Carol Trembath and co-hosted by the Parchment Community Library. Click for details.

12:00 - 3:00 pm

Water Walkers meet the Author Event and Booksigning with Carol Trembath at Riverview Launch. Click for details.

WHERE:
Bow in the Clouds Preserve, Nazareth Rd., Kalamazoo (morning events).
Riverview Launch, 1523 Riverview Drive, Kalamazoo (afternoon events).

DIRECTIONS:
Bow in the Clouds 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.

Riverview Launch is located at 1523 Riverview Drive in Kalamazoo.

DETAILS:
Hosted by the Transformations Spirituality Center, this three day community event will inform, inspire and connect you with the Great Lakes and beyond. Join us for guided hikes at SWMLC's Bow in the Clouds Preserve, with one geared toward adults, and a second Storybook Hike that's geared toward the younger ones, co-hosted by the Parchment Community Library and featuring Water Walkers author Carol Trembath!

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Storybook Hike and Meet the Author Event:
Water Walkers by Carol Trembath 

Free and open to everyone!

 

WHEN:
Saturday, July 30

11:00 am - 12:00 pm
Storybook Hike at Bow in the Clouds Preserve

Co-hosted by the Parchment Community Library and in keeping with the Great Lakes theme of Green Spirit, author Carol Trembath will lead kids and their families on a walk through lovely Bow in the Clouds Preserve, where they will stop to read posted pages from her book Water Walkers. The book tells the story of Mai, an Ojibwe girl, who walks around Lake Superior with members of her family to raise awareness about the harm being done to the Great Lakes. The first 12 families to register and attend the hike will receive a free book! To register, email Miko at cmdargitz@swmlc.org or call 324-1600 x302.

12:00 - 3:00 pm
Book Signing and Meet the Author Event

An afternoon of learning and fun at Riverview Launch! Water Walkers author Carol Trembath will be on hand to chat and sign books, there will be a bouncy house sponsored by SWMLC, plus educational and activity booths sponsored by other local environmental groups and organizations. Come and learn how we can care for our local water resources and the Great Lakes!
 

DIRECTIONS:
Bow in the Clouds 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.

Riverview Launch is located at 1523 Riverview Drive in Kalamazoo.

DETAILS:
The Water Walkers Storybook Hike and Booksigning are part of Green Spirit, a three day community event hosted by Transformations Spirituality Center, that will inform, inspire and connect you with the Great Lakes and beyond.

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Kanoe the Kazoo to Arcadia Ales and Drink One Down for SWMLC Benefit

Join us on a guided paddle trip along the Kalamazoo River!
This trip offers a unique opportunity to participate in Kanoe the Kazoo on a week night. This relatively short trip will end at Verburg Park on Paterson St. (a public city park with free parking), but will stop at Arcadia Ales on the way to “Drink One Down for Your Town” where Arcadia Ales will tally their tap sales for the day and make a matching donation to Southwest Michigan Land Conservancy to support our mission to protect great natural places in our region. Every pint makes a difference!

WHEN:
Tuesday, August 2, check-in 5:00 - 5:30 pm

WHERE:
start location: Merrill Park, Comstock Ave. and River St. in Comstock
end location: Arcadia Ales in Kalamazoo. (Option to end at Verburg Park, a public city park with free parking.)

DIRECTIONS:
From Sprinkle Road, go east on King Highway and turn right (south) at River St., which is the first 'through' intersection. Cross the bridge and turn right at the first street, Comstock Ave. The park entracne is just ahead on the right.

DETAILS:
trip length: 1 hour
car spotting/shuttle: Drop off equipment at Merrill Park, drive to Arcadia Ales, and a shuttle will be provided back to the park.

There is no fee for this event but registration is required! An online registration form is available here.
Information about other Kanoe the Kazoo events may be found here.

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PAAWM Paint-Outs 2016

The Plein Air Artists of West Michigan (PAAWM) paint outdoors in natural light on the second and fourth Saturdays of each month, in all kinds of weather, all year long.  Many of their "paint-outs" take place on protected SWMLC properties, and you are invited to attend those held on public preserves. Watching a person paint a picture is remarkably fascinating!
 

2016 Schedule of PAAWM Paint Outs on SWMLC Preserves

January 23, 11 am
Spirit Springs Sanctuary, Marcellus Twp., Cass Cnty.

February 27, 11 am
Chipman Preserve, Comstock Twp., Kalamazoo Cnty.

March 12, 11 am
Hidden Marsh Sanctuary, Three Rivers, St. Joseph Cnty.

July 9, 9 am
Pilgrim Haven Natural Area, South Haven Twp., Van Buren Cnty.
details

July 23, 9 a.m.
Wau-Ke-Nau North Tract, Ganges Twp., Allegan Cnty.

October 8, 9 am
Lime Lake Preserve, Antwerp Twp., Van Buren Cnty.

November 26, 11 am
Bow in the Clouds Preserve, City of Kalamazoo