Volunteer Opportunities


Upcoming Wednesday Warrior Workdays
Upcoming Saturday Workdays


SWMLC volunteers provide immeasurable assistance to our conservation efforts, allowing us to broaden our resources.  There are many different ways to volunteer, depending on your areas of interest.  Volunteers are needed for stewardship, land protection, office, and outreach. Opportunities include: lopping brush, putting up signs, and pulling invasive plants; conducting species inventories; setting up and staffing information tables for events; helping with bulk mailings; and taking photographs on preserves and easements and at special events.

Volunteers also serve on committees such as Stewardship Team, Land Protection Team, and Outreach Team, or on our Board of Directors.

This is only a partial list of ongoing activities for volunteers.  Your support as a volunteer will have a lasting impact on the natural and scenic features that make our region so unique.  Please contact us if you would like more information, or complete our volunteer form and mail to SWMLC at 8395 E. Main St., Galesburg, MI 49053.

[Brian Dobbie working hard to fix erosion.  Photos and montage by Nate Fuller.

Upcoming Saturday Workdays!

It's helpful for us to know you're coming so that we can provide enough refreshments and tools for everyone.  Please call our office (269-324-1600) by the Thursday before the workday to let us know you're coming, to join the carpool, or to get directions.
Or email Mitch Lettow at lettow@SWMLC.org. Thanks!

Saturday, November 19: Weed and Seed – Paw Paw River Preserve


The forecast looks foreboding! Rain, snow, winds gusting to 39 mph, high of 41 degrees . . . maybe not the nicest day to Weed & Seed. We hope you can join us in two weeks (December 3) for our next Saturday Workday which will be at Wolf Tree Nature Trails in Oshtemo Township. Look for details below and enjoy the wintry weekend!

Enjoy the fall colors of the oaks, sycamores, and maples that call this preserve home while clearing out invasive autumn olive, and collecting remaining prairie seed. We’ll continue to improve the quality of this 10-acre prairie patch, taking time to explore and appreciate the impressive floodplain forest along the Paw Paw River afterward.

WHEN: Saturday, November 19, 1 pm - 4 pm

WHERE: Paw Paw River Preserve, Waverly Twp., Van Buren Co.

BRING: Weather appropriate footwear and clothes, work gloves, and a favorite pair of loppers or saw if you have them (otherwise SWMLC will provide).

DIRECTIONS: From Kalamazoo, go west on I-94 to Paw Paw exit (60), then north on M-40, through the city of Paw Paw  or go south on M-40 from M-43. After about 3 miles (from either I-94 or M-43), turn west onto 44th Ave (there is a sign for Brookside Farms on the corner). Go west about 1 mile, past the gated entrance, to the preserve parking lot that is on the north side of 44th Ave.


Saturday, December 3: Save a savanna, lop a shrub! – Wolf Tree Nature Trails

Post leaf-fall is a wonderful time to appreciate the rolling features and glacial landscape that Wolf Tree offers and after the workday, the view will be even better! We’ll work on fighting back the honeysuckle and autumn olive to help continue to restore the savanna and improve wildlife habitat.

WHEN: Saturday, December 3, 1 pm - 4 pm

WHERE: Wolf Tree Nature Trails, Oshtemo Twp., Kalamazoo Co.

BRING: Weather appropriate footwear and clothes, work gloves, and a favorite pair of loppers or saw if you have them (otherwise SWMLC will provide).

DIRECTIONS: From Kalamazoo: go west on M-43, then left (south) on 4th St. Travel about one mile until the intersection with KL Avenue. Turn left (east) and the preserve is less than 1000 feet ahead on the right.

RSVPs are always nice. Just send an email to Mitch at lettow@swmlc.org and let him know you're coming!

Saturday, January 21: Let There Be Light! – Spirit Springs Sanctuary

The “oak peninsula” is one of the loveliest corners of this preserve and we’ve been fighting to restore botanical diversity to its forest understory in recent years — with some great success. Tromp through the snow and amongst the blueberry bushes, helping us cut and haul aggressive trees that compromise the biodiversity of this woodland.

WHEN: Saturday, January 21, 1 pm - 4 pm

WHERE: Spirit Springs Sanctuary, Marcellus Twp., Cass Co.

BRING: Weather appropriate footwear and clothes, work gloves, and a favorite pair of loppers or saw if you have them (otherwise SWMLC will provide).

DIRECTIONS: From US-131, take Marcellus Highway/CR 216 west toward Marcellus. Head west for 2 miles, then take a left (south) on Bent Road. Bent Road will “T” into Dutch Settlement Road, where you’ll take a right (west). Go 2.3 miles down the road, you’ll come to the preserve on your right (north side of the road).

RSVPs are always nice. Just send an email to Mitch at lettow@swmlc.org and let him know you're coming!



Wednesday Workday Warriors

Congratulations to all who pitched in this year on our 25 workdays!

It added up to an impressive impact on the places we love.

High praises to Mitch for all the planning, preparation, leadership, and all-around botanical/entomological knowledge he bestowed upon us to keep us on track, even on our most random days. I put together a short summary for the Stewardship Committee, and figured I would include it below for your information as well.

So what to do with your free time now that we've sung kumbaya to summer of 2016?

Wellllll.... how about joining one of the Saturday workdays? Another opportunity is to join the Stewardship Committee. We meet first Wednesday evening of the month, and Nate gives us lots and lots of news about preserves in the works, and the bigger picture of all the stewardship activities. Contact Nate at Fuller@swmlc.org if you want to join the team. It's a chance to share your insights and ideas for what needs to happen next.  I also know that there is a whole barn full of seeds waiting to be sifted and cleaned. It's kind of like a quilting bee where you gather together and socialize while you're working. The more people, the better.

For me, I'll soon be wearing a non-Warrior-like long black dress for the Bach Christmas concert, and getting re-acquainted with my dusty weaving loom upstairs.  And working down my life-threatening stack of books to read.

Thanks to all for a great season! 

— Kristi, WWCheerleader

Anyone is welcome to pitch in to help keep our preserves up to snuff. It's a wonderful way to experience the preserves with the folks who know them best, plus get acquainted with other active people who share the conservation spirit. RSVPs are always nice; just call the office at 269-324-1600 or email conserveland@swmlc.org.


A Quick Peek at Last Week

October 28 - Mushroom Walk with Paul Olexia

As a glorious finale to our successful 13th season, Mitch organized a fine outing at Black River Preserve.

Twenty-four people enjoyed the newly opened preserve in all its finery of spiffy trail markers and signs.

Paul outdid himself explaining all the fungimentals of mushrooms, both above and below ground. What a secret life they lead the rest of the year!  

My one contribution is the shot of Mitch retrieving the oddest piece of trash we've ever seen: a brass light fixture eight feet up in a tree!  Fancy tree stand? Brought in by mylar balloon? Other speculations cheerfully solicited.

Photo credits go to Harry Bird, Mitch lettow, and Gary Tolliver

More pictures to come!