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! 
 

APRIL


Saturday Workday
Saturday, April 30, 9:00 am - 12:00 pm
Pilgrim Haven Natural Area, South Haven Twp., Van Buren Cnty.
details
 

 
MAY
 

Clean Water = Clean Beer, Community Pint Night at the Livery Microbrewery
We're all down-river! Proceeds from this community event will go toward improving and protecting Ox Creek, which flows to the Paw Paw River, then the St. Joseph River, and ultimately into Lake Michigan. Hosted by: Southwest Michigan Land Conservancy, Two Rivers Coalition, Southwest Michigan Planning Commission, Berrien Conservation District, Sarett Nature Center, and Wightman & Associates. Look for details at the Livery's Facebook Events page.
Thursday, May 5, 5:00 – 8:00 pm
The Livery Microbrewery, 190 5th St, Benton Harbor, MI, (269) 925-8760.
 

SWMLC Nature Hike with Kalamazoo Area Wild Ones
Guided by Nate Fuller, SWMLC Conservation & Stewardship Director
Saturday, May 7, 10:00 am–1:00 pm
At the NEW Robert and Rosalie Emmons Augusta Floodplain Forest Preserve, Charleston Twp., Kalamazoo Cnty.
details
 

Mother's Day Birdwalk
Guided by Nate Fuller, SWMLC Conservation & Stewardship Director
Sunday, May 8, 9:00 - 11:00 am
Hickory Creek Preserve, St. Joseph Charter Twp., Berrien Cnty.
details
 
Audubon Society of Kalamazoo Birdwalk

Guided by Mitch Lettow, SWMLC Stewardship Specialist
Friday, May 13, 8:00 am - noon
Myer Natural Preserve, Comstock Twp., Kalamazoo Cnty.

details
 

Friday Trail Workday

Friday, May 13, 1:00 - 4:00 pm
Black River Preserve, Geneva Twp., Van Buren Cnty.

details
 

Spring Soundwalk with Dr. Sharon Gill
Saturday, May 14, 9:00 - 10:30 am
Black River Preserve, Geneva Twp., Van Buren Cnty.
details


Spring Storybook Hike: The Classic: "Miss Rumphius"
Saturday, May 15, 3:00 - 4:00 pm
Chipman Preserve, Comstock Twp., Kalamazoo Cnty.
details


Chipman Office Open House
Tuesday, May 17, 5:00 - 7:00 pm
Chipman House, 8395 East Main St., Galesburg
details


Saturday Workday and 25-Bag Challenge
Saturday, May 21, 9:00 am - 12:00 pm
Bow in the Clouds Preserve, City of Kalamazoo
details


Wild Ones 3rd Annual Plant Sale
Make a difference! Support wildlife by selecting beautiful, beneficial native plants for your yard and garden. Look for details at the Kalamazoo Area Chapter of Wild Ones' website.
Saturday, May 28, 9:00 am - 3:00 pm
People's Food Co-Op, 507 Harrison St., Kalamazoo
 

JUNE
 

KL Avenue Grand Opening & Naming Contest Launch
Come visit our newest Kalamazoo preserve in Oshtemo Township and help us decide on a name for this beautiful property!

Saturday, June 4, time TBA -- please check back for details!
KL Avenue Nature Preserve, Oshtemo Twp., Kalamazoo Cnty.
 

Saturday Workday at Chipman Preserve
Please join us for some wholesome, hearty outdoor work: trail improvement and native plant rescue.

Saturday, June 11, 9:00 am - 12:00 pm
Chipman Preserve, Comstock Twp., Kalamazoo Cnty.


Botanical Nature Walk
Join members of Michigan Botanical Club and SWMLC's Stewardship Specialist, Mitch Lettow, for a 'plant's eye' view of KL Avenue Preserve.

Saturday, June 18, time TBA -- please check back for details!
KL Avenue Nature Preserve, Oshtemo Twp., Kalamazoo Cnty.
 

Yoga on the Preserve
The benefits of yoga and nature at Bow in the Clouds Preserve: twice the health, twice the fun!
Saturday, June 25, time TBA -- please check back for details!
Bow in the Clouds Preserve, City of Kalamazoo
 





 


Saturday Workday at Pilgrim Haven Natural Area

WHEN:
Saturday, April 30, 9:00 am - 12:00 pm


WHERE:
Pilgrim Haven Natural Area, South Haven Twp., Van Buren Cnty.

DETAILS:
This time round, it's Weed and Seed, the yin and the yang of stewardship! We'll pull invasive spotted knapweed while its sprouting rosettes are still tender and easy to yank, then spend time encouraging the spread of native wildflowers by planting seeds that were collected at other sites last fall.

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

DIRECTIONS:

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 (aka 20th Ave.) for approximately 4.5 miles. Turn right (north) onto 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.

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SWMLC Nature Hike with Kalamazoo Area Wild Ones
A potential Botanist Bonanza, guided by Nate Fuller, SWMLC Conservation & Stewardship Director

Free and open to the public!

WHEN:
Saturday, May 7, 10:00 am–1:00 pm

WHERE:
At the NEW Robert and Rosalie Emmons Augusta Floodplain Forest Preserve, Charleston Twp., Kalamazoo Cnty.

DETAILS: There are few places left in southern Michigan where a river runs for more than two miles without the presence of a bridge or house, with no apparent evidence of humans — few places where a mink could bound and scurry along a river its whole life in the safe cover of uninterrupted forest. The floodplain forest along the Kalamazoo River near Augusta is one of those rare places. Join SWMLC's own Nate Fuller and members of Kalamazoo Area Wild Ones in exploring our newest preserve, the 290-acre Robert and Rosalie Emmons Augusta Floodplain Forest Preserve, where researchers from Kellogg Biological Station identified an impressive 287 species of plants.

There's a reason why it's called a floodplain forest: it's wet! For your comfort and safety, please wear high rubber boots (waders, if you have them) and consider bringing a hiking staff for balance through some of the muddier passages. 
 

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


CARPOOL DIRECTIONS:
We will meet at 9:45 a.m. in the back parking lot of Galesburg High School, 1076 N 37th St, Galesburg, MI 49053, which Nate has made arrangments for us to use for carpooling. It is on the north side of M-96, 0.7 miles east of where M-96 crosses the railroad tracks in Galesburg.

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Mother's Day Birdwalk
Guided by Nate Fuller, SWMLC Conservation & Stewardship Director

Free and open to birders of all abilities and levels of experience!

WHEN:
Sunday, May 8, 9:00 - 11:00 am

WHERE:
Hickory Creek Preserve, St. Joseph Charter Twp., Berrien Cnty.

DETAILS: Your mom loves nature and so do you . . . enjoy it together at our popular Annual Mother's Day Birdwalk. Nate Fuller, SWMLC's Conservation & Stewardship Director, will lead the walk and help to sort the flycatchers from the gnatcatchers. Bring a pair of binoculars and wear sturdy walking shoes, and come prepared to get a good case of "warbler neck"!

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


DIRECTIONS:
From I-94, take Exit #27 Niles Ave./M-63. Turn right (north) onto Niles Avenue and travel about 1 mile. Pull into new the Ace Hardware parking lot on left (Eagle Point Harbor on right); the entrance to this linear preserve is at the back of the lot.

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Audubon Society of Kalamazoo Birdwalk
Guided by Mitch Lettow, SWMLC Stewardship Specialist

Free and open to birders of all abilities and levels of experience!

WHEN:
Friday, May 13, 8:00 am - noon

WHERE:
Donald and Hilda Myers Nature Preserve, Comstock Twp., Kalamazoo Cnty.

DETAILS: 
The public is invited to join members of Audubon Society of Kalamazoo and SWMLC's Stewardship Specialist, Mitch Lettow, in exploring and compiling an avian inventory of the largely undocumented Myers Nature Preserve. With its combination of wetlands, oak uplands, and edge habitat -- and with spring migration on in full force -- Myers offers a wide range of excellent birding opportunities. The trip will last about 2 to 3 hours over gentle terrain, but because we may investigate the edge of the wetland, waterproof shoes are recommended. 
For more information, please email Mitch at lettow@swmlc.org or call (269) 324-1600 x305. For additional information, visit Audubon Society of Kalamazoo's website.

DIRECTIONS:
Meet at the driveway of the preserve donor’s family, 8908 East G Ave. (1/3 mile west of 33rd Street, 2.5 miles east of M-43/Gull Road, just east of the powerline right of way). Look for the SWMLC sign on the south side of the road. While the family has been gracious enough to allow us parking in their lot, carpooling is always a good idea where possible!

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Friday Trail Workday at Black River Preserve
 

WHEN:
Friday, May 13, 1:00 - 4:00 pm

WHERE:
Black River Preserve, Geneva Twp., Van Buren Cnty.

DETAILS: 
Black River Preserve's has a beautiful and extensive trail system that takes visitors through 121 acres of upland meadows, mature oak forest, soft squishy wetlands, hemlock ravines with streams at their heart, and magnificent views of the Black River. As more people come to learn about and enjoy this lovely preserve, its trails need regular maintenance and spring-cleaning. Please give us a hand in keeping them up to snuff by joing us for this special Friday Workday.

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

DIRECTIONS:

From M-43 and the traffic circle at Maple Grove Corners, take CR-689 north to the T-stop at 8th Ave. Turn right (east) on 8th Ave, and look for the preserve and its beautiful new parking lot on the south side. If you get to 68th St, you’ve gone too far. 

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Spring Soundwalk with Dr. Sharon Gill

Free and open to the public!
PLEASE NOTE: because staying quiet is essential to perceiving the sounds of nature, this field trip is offered for adults and older children only.

WHEN:
Saturday, May 14, 9:00 - 10:30 am

WHERE:
Black River Preserve, Geneva Twp., Van Buren Co.

DETAILS: 
In conjunction with Two Rivers Coalition and Bangor/South Haven Heritage Water Trail -- and as part of our 25th anniversary celebration --  we're excited to offer the second in a series of seasonal “soundwalks” in the preserves, led by sound ecologist, Dr. Sharon Gill. Dr. Gill, a researcher and professor at Western Michigan University who is an expert on the acoustics of nature and soundscapes (the collective sounds of an area), will share her insights on understanding patterns of sound in natural environments and how those sounds influence the well-being of an area’s inhabitants, including humans. Black River Preserve's diverse habitats -- from wooded uplands to stream-filled ravines to the Black River itself -- offer a broad range of springtime acoustic opportunities.

RSVP early because space is limited! To reserve your spot, email Miko Dargitz at cmdargitz@swmlc.org, or call the office at 269-324-1600. If you can't attend this fascinating event, keep an ear open to noise and how it affects you and the wildlife around you as you enjoy other natural areas. And stay tuned for details on the rest of SWMLC’s seasonal Soundwalks!

DIRECTIONS:
From M-43 and the traffic circle at Maple Grove Corners, take CR-689 north to the T-stop at 8th Ave. Turn right (east) on 8th Ave, and look for the preserve and its beautiful new parking lot on the south side. If you get to 68th St, you’ve gone too far. 

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Spring Storybook Hike: The Classic: "Miss Rumphius"
Free and open to everyone!

WHEN:
Saturday, May 15, 3:00 - 4:00 pm

WHERE:
Chipman Preserve, Comstock Twp., Kalamazoo Co.

DETAILS: 
A fun, unique way for kids to experience literature and Chipman Preserve's spectacular lupines! In conjunction with three area libraries, this is the second event in our popular Seasonal Storybook Hike Series. Join SWMLC board member (and mom), Dr. Jennifer Lau and the folks from Comstock Township LibraryGalesburg Charleston Memorial District Library, and the Richland Community Library for a reading of the children’s classic “Miss Rumphius”. We will stroll along kid-friendly trails, explore the natural landscape, and read pages from the book which have been posted at intervals along the way.

The guided hike will be held from 3:00 - 4:00 pm and the first 12 families to RSVP and attend the hike will receive a free copy of “Miss Rumphius” provided by our event partner Bookbug. After the guided hike, the preserve will remain open and the storybook will remain posted for anyone who would like to participate in a self-guided hike.

To RSVP, please call our office at 269-324-1600 or email us at conserveland@swmlc.org.

DIRECTIONS:
Chipman Preserve is in the 8000 block of East Main Street, 3 miles east of Sprinkle Rd. between 30th and 33rd Streets in Comstock Township (Galesburg).

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Chipman Office Open House
Everyone's invited!

WHEN:
Tuesday, May 17, 5:00 - 7:00 pm

WHERE:
Chipman House, 8395 East Main St., Galesburg

DETAILS: 
Come check out our new office! After 17 years at the Sprinkle Road office, we moved in January to John and Patti Chipman's former home in Galesburg, right next door to the beloved Chipman Preserve. The house was an incredibly generous gift from Patti and was transformed into office space (while still retaining its beautiful character) through the work of many volunteers. Help us celebrate all that they've done to make this move happen while enjoying light refreshments, strolling around the Chipman's lovely garden, and seeing the workspaces where 'it' all happens. We're delighted to be here and looking forward to sharing it with you!

DIRECTIONS:
The office located just west of Chipman Preserve at 8395 East Main St., 3 miles east of Sprinkle Rd. between 30th and 33rd Streets in Comstock Township (Galesburg). If you're coming from the Kalamazoo area, our ofice is one driveway before the preserve parking lot. Look for our brand new signs at the driveway entrance.

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Saturday Workday at Bow in the Clouds Preserve . . . and 25-Bag Challenge!
 

WHEN:
Saturday, May 21, 9:00 am - 12:00 pm

WHERE:
Bow in the Clouds Preserve, City of Kalamazoo

DETAILS: 
Community garlic pull! In honor of our 25th Anniversary, we're challenging ourselves to fill 25 garbage bags with narsty and invasive garlic mustard. Just think of the pile that 25 full bags will make! And the gratification will be instant as we rip out the narsty invasive weed and create space and habitat for Bow in the Clouds' native flora to flourish once again. Is there enough galic mustard there to fill 25 garbage bags? Help us find out!

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

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. 

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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.
details

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

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