Upcoming . . .

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 p.m.
Self-guided hikes (storybook will remain posted): 3 - 4 p.m. 

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. 

For more information on this event and some of our other conservation efforts in the South Haven area, see this Oct. 2 article on Mlive. 

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 p.m.

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, savor autumn foliage reflected in water at Hidden Marsh Sanctuary, or take in the season with a long hike at Spirit Springs Sanctuary (trail maps onsite). Naturalist Bill Westrate will lead a guided hike at Spirit Springs at 2 p.m. that's sure to be as entertaining as it is informative.

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). 

Join the Wednesday Workday Warriors!

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.

Wednesday, October 7, Hickory Creek Preserve, St. Joseph Charter Township, Berrien County

Last year the warriors visited Hickory Creek and replaced all of the boundary signs, and during the “bonus time” found an opportunity to cut sassafrass and autumn olive away from the light-loving prairie remnant along the trail. This year we plan to head back for a full force “daylighting” of the prairie and cut back the aggressive shrubs that are taking over this remnant. We will also seed the new, light areas along the trail with prairie plants (little bluestem and white wild indigo) to help expand the prairie patch. 

Bring the usual: work gloves and drinking water, and maybe a snack. Chainsaws are welcomed! 

To carpool from Kalamazoo
We will leave from the rideshare lot at Oakland Drive and I-94 (Exit 75) at 8:30 a.m. From Exit 75, turn left at the light at Vincent Ave. (just north of the interchange), then immediately left into the rideshare lot. 

Directions to Hickory Creek Preserve
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.


Here's what's coming up. Plans may change, so be sure to check back for details.

PLEASE NOTE: start times may switch to 1:00 pm as the days get shorter and colder. We'll keep you posted.

October 14th, Chipman Preserve
Trail blazing/rerouting. There is a very erosion-prone trail in the back (northeast) part of the preserve that needs to be rerouted. We will be trimming, leaf blowing, raking, and putting up some signage letting folks know about the change so they can start getting used to walking a different route. We may even be able to throw in a trowel and bucket to transplant any desirable native plants in the middle of the future path.

[Photo by Kristi]


Future Events

SWMLC's 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.