$180,000 Matching Grant to Protect Endangered Species

The Southwest Michigan Land Conservancy in partnership with the Michigan Department of Natural Resources will purchase three parcels of land totaling 60 acres to protect and assist in the recovery of the endangered Mitchell’s satyr butterfly and the Eastern massasauga rattlesnake. Land acquisition will occur within the Coldwater Fen Complex in Branch County and the Spring Brook Fen Complex in Kalamazoo County. The Coldwater Fen Complex is home to the second largest population of Mitchell’s satyr butterflies and contains two of the three properties proposed for acquisition. SWMLC will purchase land within the Spring Brook Fen Complex, which historically supported Mitchell’s satyr butterflies and currently supports Eastern massasauga rattlesnakes.

[Photos above and below taken in Coldwater Fen by Peter D. Ter Louw.]

Why a Nearly Extinct Butterfly Matters

So why should we care about a little brown butterfly that's almost extinct?  One big reason:  the Mitchell's satyr is the canary in the coal mine for the health of our drinking water.

Mitchell's satyrs are found only in fens, in the best groundwater sources.  And fens are the headwaters springs for all of our major river systems. The degrading of these habitats threatens not only the satyrs, but our drinking water.

But simply saving the places where satyrs exist isn't enough.  We need to find new places for them to live.  This grant will enable us to triple the size of our current preserve by purchasing property contiguous to the satyr habitat.


Gift Giving for the Holidays

What better gift to give than our 2015 Painted Sanctuary calendar! (See details in far right panel.)

Although it's important to shop local, we realize you might not always be able to find what you want locally.  

For those times when you must shop online at amazon.com, please shop through smile.amazon.com — where a percentage of your purchase price will be donated to SWMLC.  Just click on the link to learn more and to "Get Started." Then choose Southwest Michigan Land Conservancy as your charity.

Thank you!


Let There Be Light at Spirit Springs, December 6

The red maples are hogging all of the light in the oak woods at Spirit Springs Sanctuary and, unchecked, can take over this area to the detriment of other plants. We’ve been slowly opening up the canopy of the oak peninsula to bring light to understory wildflowers, sedges, blueberry bushes, and oak seedlings. We’ve seen a great response by this vegetation from previous workdays. Join us as we push the fast-growing maples back into the wetland to continue restoring this diverse plant community.

Saturday, December 6, 1 p.m. to 4 p.m.  RSVP to Mitch at lettow@swmlc.org.



Painted Sanctuary 2015

Painted Sanctuary 2015 is chock full of beautiful reproductions of original paintings by the Plein Air Artists of West Michigan.

You can purchase this 13-month calendar — a work of art in its own right — for only $10 at the SWMLC office or at any one of the following locations:

Anne's Health Foods in Hastings
At Last in Glenn
Frames Unlimited (3 locations)
Kazoo Books (both locations)
Kalamazoo Institute of Arts Gallery Shop
Love Your Mother in Three Rivers
Nature Connection, downtown Kalamazoo
Pierce Cedar Creek Institute in Hastings

Thirteen artists are represented in this calendar, and Amelia Hansen once again provided the illustrations, accompanied by Nate Fuller's creative text descriptions.

Be sure to get yours before they sell out!