Presenting the Top Ten Names for KL Avenue Preserve – Vote for Your Favorite Today!


What’s in a name? We asked the question, and the public answered! 

We received over 100 entries in the KL Avenue Naming Contest. Now it's time for the public to choose their favorite from among the Top Ten entries!

Click here to take the survey between now and July 4, make your choice, and help choose a name for this beautiful property, located just minutes west of Kalamazoo's west side!

Trail maps are available here.

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've opened the preserve to the public and are excited to give it a new name that does justice to this beautiful place.


1. The name must reflect human use of the preserve (such as "trails", "paths", "walks", etc.)

2. The name must reflect natural qualities and/or geographical location of the preserve (such as "Oshtemo", "savanna", "oaks", etc.)

3. Submit as many names as you like.

4. SWMLC will choose the Top 10 names, then ask the public to vote for their favorite.


• June 18: Submit name entries to

• June 27 - July 4: Vote for your favorites among the Top 10 entries, which will be posted here on the website.

• July 15: We will announce the Top Three winners and the name of the new preserve!


• $50 gift card from Hidden Savanna Nursery

• Your photo with the new preserve sign on our website and in our Fall 2016 newsletter


• SWMLC ballcap in your choice of colors

• Your name on our website and in our Fall 2016 newsletter

Be sure to treat yourself by walking (or running) this beautiful preserve
Leashed dogs are welcome -- though we ask that you please clean up after your pet!
Trail maps are available here.

To get to the preserve: KL Avenue Nature Preserve is located on West KL Avenue in Oshtemo Township in Kalamazoo County, just east of the intersection with North 4th Street on the south side of the road. There is no sign yet (because we're waiting to find out what the name will be!) but look for the new driveway into the beautiful new gravel lot.

Like all of our public preserves, there's no admission fee and it's open from dawn to dusk. Your donation will help us keep it that way. 

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, Oshtemo Township, 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, Todd Sanford and Sanford Financial Services, Generation III Excavating, Native Landscapes, Native Connections, Hidden Savanna Nursery, 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.

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

Wednesday, June 29

We will work our magic at another local favorite, Bow in the Clouds Preserve. We will focus on finally clearing the underbrush around the Swan Pond (We didn't even know there was a pond till we started clearing).

WHERE: Bow in the Clouds Preserve, City of Kalamazoo

WHEN: 9:00 am - 12:00 pm. Meet in the preserve parking lot.

ACTIVITY: Brush removal

BRING: rubber boots or wear shoes that can get wet, work gloves, your favorite loppers, water.

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.