Upcoming Events

Storybook Hike at Pilgrim Haven Natural Area

A free, fun outdoor event that will help your kids fight Nature Deficit Disorder! 

Saturday, October 10, 2015
Guided Hike: 2 - 3 pm
Self-guided hikes (storybook will remain posted): 3 - 4 pm 

Pilgrim Haven Natural Area, South Haven, MI

Author Charles Ferguson Barker will lead a hike through the preserve's beech-maple forest and out to the Lake Michigan beachfront while reading his book "The Day the Great Lakes Drained Away", which connects nature, geology, and the Lakes in a kid-friendly format.

The first 12 families to RSVP and attend will also receive a free copy of the book, signed by the author! To RSVP, contact us at conserveland@swmlc.org or call us at 269-324-1600. 

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 for approximately 4.5 miles. Turn right (north) onto A-2/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.


SWMLC Preserves Featured on Three Rivers Area Fall Color Tour















SWMLC will participate in the Tour by showing off three of our preserves during one of the prettiest times of year!

Sunday, October 11, 2015
Noon to 5 pm

Coon Hollow Preserve, Fabius Township, St. Joseph County
Hidden Marsh Sanctuary, Three Rivers, St. Joseph County
Spirit Springs Sanctuary,  Marcellus Township, Cass County

Hosted by the Three Rivers Chamber of Commerce, the annual Area Fall Color Tour is a scenic, fun-filled drive that celebrates the beauty and color of Southwest Michigan with stops at local businesses and outdoor areas. Stretch your legs at Coon Hollow Preserve or take in the season with a long hike at Spirit Springs Sanctuary (trail maps onsite). Or meet naturalist Bill Westrate at Hidden Marsh Sanctuary at 2 pm for an entertaining guided nature walk.

Coon Hollow Preserve

South on I-131, past Three Rivers, west on Coon Hollow Rd. for 1.7 miles. Turn left (south) on Ferguson Rd; preserve sign and parking on right. Directions to Coon Hollow from Hidden Marsh: go south on Buckhorn/Portage St. to Hoffman Rd. Turn right on Hoffman. Take Hoffman west, across 131 to Ferguson, turn left. Take Ferguson just past Coon Hollow Rd. Preserve sign & parking is on the right.

Hidden Marsh Sanctuary
Go south on US-131 to Heimbach Road (just north of Three Rivers). Turn left (east) and go 0.8 miles to Buckhorn Road (four-way stop). Turn right and go south 2.5 miles. Buckhorn becomes Portage Road, and you will see a big preserve sign on the left (east) side, near 1501 Portage Road.

Spirit Springs Sanctuary
South on US-131 to Marcellus Highway (MI-216). Turn right (west) onto Marcellus Highway, drive 4.3 miles to the intersection of Bent Road (large green sign). Turn left (south) onto Bent Road and drive 3.1 miles to intersection of Dutch Settlement Road. Turn right (west) onto Dutch Settlement Road; the property is 1.8 miles ahead on the right-hand side, just after the road surface changes color (County line). 


Hidden Pond Preserve on Back Roads Barry County Bicycle Tour














Get off your bike and recharge your batteries at Hidden Pond Preserve!

Saturday, October 17, 2015
8 a.m. - 1:30 pm

Hidden Pond Preserve, Hope Township, Barry County

Explore some of the most scenic parts of Barry County by bicycle! Routes cover some of the most beautiful gravel roads in the county. Longer routes travel by Michigan Audubon and Southwest Michigan Land Conservancy properties where refreshments and bathrooms will be available. All routes start and end at Pierce Cedar Creek Institute, and maps are currently available at cedarcreekinstitute.org. Riders will be able to recharge for the afternoon with lunch at the Institute. More information available at West Michigan Tourist Association.

PAAWM Paint-Outs 2015

The Plein Air Artists of West Michigan (PAAWM) paint outdoors in natural light twice a month, all year long.  Most of their paint-outs take place on protected SWMLC properties, and you are invited to attend those held on public preserves.  Paint-outs are on Saturdays.  They begin at 9 a.m. and end around 1 p.m.  Below is a list of all paint-outs on SWMLC properties scheduled for 2015.

For more information on PAAWM, visit their website.

January 10 - Prairieville Creek Conservation Easements, Richland

February 14 - Aurohn Lake Conservation Easement, Hastings

February 28 - Bow in the Clouds Preserve, Kalamazoo

March 14 - Hidden Marsh Sanctuary, Three Rivers

March 28 - KL Avenue Nature Preserve, Kalamazoo

April 11 - Kesling Nature Preserve, Three Oaks

April 25 - Spirit Springs Sanctuary, Marcellus

May 9 - Perry Family Farm Conservation Easement, Cloverdale

May 23 - Hidden Pond Preserve, Hastings

June 13 - Prairieville Creek Conservation Easements, Richland

June 27 - Black River Preserve, South Haven

July 11 - Ismond Conservation Easement, Otsego

August 8 - Bonamego Farms Conservation Easement, Lawrence

August 22 or 29 - Art Walk, firm date and location TBD

September 12 - Jeptha Lake Fen, Grand Junction

September 17-20 - Fall Retreat, location TBD

October 24 - Chipman Preserve, Galesburg

November 14 - Palmer Conservation Easement, Battle Creek

You Just Missed This One . . .


Saturday, September 26, 2015
9 a.m. to noon

Sand Creek Preserve, Alamo Township, Kalamazoo County

Sand Creek Preserve is SWMLC's oldest and most well-established tallgrass prairie restoration planting, and its success has served to inform our efforts at prairie restoration among other sites throughout Southwest Michigan. Being the senior prairie in SWMLC's portfolio, this productive site has become a valuable source for prairie seed, to help other "fledgeling" prairies fill in with the high density of wildflowers and grasses they will ultimately need to ward off invasive plants.
It may be a little chilly in the morning, so dress appropriately, bring sturdy footwear, and wear long pants. SWMLC will provide seed collecting material, water, and snacks.
RSVPs are appreciated but not required. Please email Mitch (Lettow@swmlc.org) and let him know if you plan to come.


You Just Missed This One . . .


Thursday, September 24, 2015
6:00 p.m. to 8:30 p.m.

Pierce Cedar Creek Institute, 701 West Cloverdale Rd., Hastings, MI

In partnership with SWMLC, the “Southwest Corner” Cluster of the Stewardship Network, and Pierce Cedar Creek Insitute, this workshop is designed for land managers and interested naturalists. It will cover the basics of seed collection, including harvesting methods, germination, timing as well as seed treatment and preparation. Visit the Stewardship Network's event page at (http://bit.ly/1M8YPG2) for more info and to sign up.

You Just Missed This One . . .


Saturday, September 19, 2015
Guided Hike: 10:00 a.m. to 11:30 a.m.
Picnic Lunch: 12:00 p.m. to 1:00 p.m. (Participants are welcome to bring food items to share.)
Guided Paddle along the Black River: 1:30 p.m. to 3:30 p.m.

Black River Preserve, Geneva Township, Van Buren County
Meet us at the entrance to Black River Preserve right across from Golden Dreams (former Rustic River) Campground at 68840 8th Street in South Haven.

The paddle trip is by reservation only and space is limited. 
Participants are encouraged to bring their own kayaks or canoes, or they may be rented. (A limited number of loaners may be available for those without watercraft.)Paddlers may park directly across the street from Black River Preserve at Golden Dreams Campground, which will be the launching point for the guided paddle.