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! 
 

JUNE

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

Contest runs through Saturday, June 18th - send in your best names!
KL Avenue Nature Preserve, Oshtemo Twp., Kalamazoo Co.
details
 

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

Saturday, June 18, 9:00am-11:00am
KL Avenue Nature Preserve, Oshtemo Twp., Kalamazoo Co.
details
 

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, 8:30-9:30am
Bow in the Clouds Preserve, City of Kalamazoo
details

 

JULY

Green Spirit
A three-day community event that will inform, inspire, and connect you in stewardship of the Great Lakes and beyond.
details
 




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

 

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

WHEN:
Contest run through Saturday, June 18th - send in your name ideas for a chance to win SWMLC gear or a $50 gift card from Hidden Savanna Nursery!

WHERE:
KL Avenue Nature Preserve, Oshtemo Twp., Kalamazoo Co.

DIRECTIONS:
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.

TO SUBMIT YOUR NAME IDEAS:
Please email your entries to conserveland@swmlc.org.

DETAILS:
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 are availabe 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.” 

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.

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

 

WHEN:
Saturday, June 18, 9:00 am - 11:00 am

WHERE:
KL Avenue Nature Preserve, Oshtemo Twp., Kalamazoo Co.

DIRECTIONS:
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. 

DETAILS:
Located just 8 miles west of Kalamazoo, the 70 acre KL Avenue Nature Preserve sits right in the heart of the historic Oshtemo black oak barrens. As such, SWMLC has put a lot of focus on it in recent years, both for its ecological value and for creating public access.

Join Stewardship Specialist Mitch Lettow in exploring the flora of this land while discussing its land use history, ecological restoration strategies, and vision for the future of the land. The Saturday of this field trip also marks the final day to submit new names for this preserve in our Naming Contest. Perhaps the field trip will spark an idea and the wining name that you create will make your mark on this preserve forever!


Teaser - If we're really lucky, we might even find a stand of the American columbo in bloom, one of the botanical all stars of the property!


Mitch currently works as Stewardship Specialist for the Southwest Michigan Land Conservancy where he manages habitat restoration projects, grants, volunteer activities, and preserve access (trails, parking lots, etc.). Before working permanently for SWMLC, Mitch worked there as a volunteer and grant-based crewmember, as well as at Michigan State University, Michigan Wildflower Farm, and the Kalamazoo Nature Center. Mitch received his B.S. in Environmental Biology/Zoology in 2009 and his M.S. in Entomology in 2013 from Michigan State University. Mitch lives in Kalamazoo with his girlfriend Emily and their cat Oliver, and does anything that gets him into the out-of-doors including botanizing, fly-fishing, trail running, and birding.


 

Yoga on the Preserve
The benefits of yoga and nature at Bow in the Clouds Preserve: twice the health, twice the fun!

WHEN:
Saturday, June 25, 8:30 am - 9:30 am

WHERE:
Bow in the Clouds Preserve, City of Kalamazoo

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. 

DETAILS:
Enjoy the benefits of both yoga and nature with this very special session of outdoor yoga in a natural seting, led by Hatha Yoga teacher, Jean Ketchum. Greet the morning sun, breathe in the summer morning air while peaceful birdsong anchors you in the moment.

Everyone should bring their own mats, appropriate clothing, and water. There will be an optional 30-minute nature walk afterward.

With a strong Iyengar background, Jean Ketchum teaches Classic Hatha Yoga. She has been practicing yoga since 1991, and has been student of the Temple of Kriya Yoga in Chicago since 1994. She continues her studies with Sr. Iyengar teachers. Jean lives on a lake in Lawrence where she enjoys making quilts, bird-watching, spending time with her grandchildren and training her dog, Tippy (who her children believe she loves more than them).

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