Route 66: Back in the Saddle!

John Lewandowski, long-time SWMLC member and friend, is ready to get back on his bike to raise money in support of SWMLC's farmland initiative!

During a 15-day bike ride, John will pedal 1000 miles down Route 66, starting in Albuquerque, New Mexico on September 28 and finishing on the Santa Monica Pier in California on October 13.  

Like to join the effort to increase agricultural protection? Sponsor John in his ride!

You can sponsor John by the day ($5/day would be a $75 sponsorship), by the mile (10 cents per mile would be a $106.40 sponsorship), or however you would like! All sponsorships and donations are welcomed.
100% of the proceeds from John's bicycle trip on Route 66 will go toward the SWMLC farmland initiative!
Click here to make a secure on-line pledge (type "Route 66" in the comments line), or send your check to: Southwest Michigan Land Conservancy, 8395 East Main St., Galesburg, MI  49053.

Time is short (!) so please spread the word by downloading this informational poster and sharing it with your friends. 

Thank you to John and to all of his supporters!

About the Farmland Initiative . . . Help Preserve Southwest Michigan's Unique Coastal Fruitbelt 

The Lake Michigan coastal climate enables Michigan's niche in fruit production - which ranges from blueberries, to grapes, cherries and orchard fruits from the Indiana line to the straits of Mackinac. Southwest Michigan contains the largest part of the Michigan fruit belt and is especially significant for agriculture as it accounts for more than 1/3 of the state's agricultural receipts. Across the nine counties of Southwest Michigan, over 60% of the land base is used for agricultural purposes.

However, we also know that farmland in Southwest Michigan is threatened, especially along the coastal fruitbelt. A 2005 study by the American Farmland Trust revealed that Southwest Michigan was one of 20 regions across the U.S. with the highest rate of farmland loss. How can we support farmland protection in our lakeshore counties of Southwest Michigan while balancing it with the protection of water quality in Lake Michigan? 

Moving forward, SWMLC is embarking upon an effort to increase agricultural protection in Southwest Michigan with a broad goal to protect strategic parcels in Michigan's fruit-belt and elsewhere in Southwest Michigan. To undertake this expanded initiative, it will require new funding support for the costs of protecting these farms. 

SWMLC benefits enormously from funding support for the permanent responsibilities it accepts with conservation easements and is grateful for the capacity to continue protecting more land each year and into the future. 

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 check our events page for the most up-to-date announcements and details.

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


The Wednesday Workday Warriors

Lucky Season 13!
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

Catch the Wednesday Warriors in the news at SW Michigan Spark!

Wednesday, September 28
We will make another pilgrimage to Pilgrim Haven Natural Area to play in the sand and finish the job of transplanting. Since it's a bit of a drive, plan to stay for lunch somewhere in South Haven.

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

WHEN: 9:00 am - 12:00 pm

BRING: work gloves, water, lunch money and any transplanting-type tools (small spades, etc). 

Carpool leaves the Meijer on West Main at 8:15 am. RSVPs are more than helpful! 
If you RSVP, we will wait for you: call the office at 269-324-1600 or email
Meet in the SW corner of the Meijer parking lot at the corner of West Main St. and 9th St. on Kalamazoo's west side (6660 W Main St.).

To Pilgrim Haven Natural Area
The preserve is just north of VanBuren State Park. West on M-43. At Jericho Corners, turn left (west) on CR380. (look for a brown sign for Van Buren State Park, and a green airport sign.) Go north on Blue Star Highway a short distance. Turn left onto 77th St. Left onto 18th Ave. Locked gate to preserve on right.

Recap of last week's adventure . . .

Our ranks swelled to ELEVEN Warriors as the Kalamazoo crowd was welcomed by two local couples at Pilgrim Haven. The main attraction was the vicissitudes of weather as Mother Nature toyed with us, first filling the skies with ominous clouds, then dropping a few raindrops on us, and then clearing up nicely. All in one morning. The photos reflect only the first part of the day as we vacillated between working and bailing out. 

We made the right decision to work (no photos, trust me, we worked), clearing a new patch for the butterfly garden. We were then treated to a delicious lunch at Sally and John's, who graciously allowed us scruffians into their lovely home overlooking the river. Conversation flowed, and we rolled home in a mellow mood. 

— Kristi