Hanes Trust Awards SWMLC $15,000 Grant













In order to do targeted restoration at our preserves, we need to know what seeds exist on the site. But how do you know what's in a seed bank when conditions such as lack of sunlight, thick leaf layers, and invasive plants prevent seed germination?  

To answer this question, SWMLC's Mitch Lettow applied to the Hanes Trust for a grant to study the seed bank at our KL Avenue Nature Preserve.  We were awarded a two-year $15,000 grant for seed bank analyses.  We are now in the planning phase to attempt to understand what species are present in the seed bank in different areas of the preserve before restoration begins.

Other major objectives will be to:

  1. Compare how plant species in a given patch of the preserve differ in seed form to what is actually growing on the ground.
  2. Begin restoration of a seven-acre patch of remnant black oak barrens (savanna) through a controlled burn and removal of aggressive woody plants.
  3. Monitor changes in vegetation before and after initial restoration activities. 


In addition, we will team up with volunteers, partner organizations Kalamazoo Wild Ones and Southwestern Michigan Botanical Club, and Hidden Savanna native plant nursery (~ 3 miles west of KL Avenue Nature Preserve).  We will remove seeds from less than ideal conditions for germination and give them to Chad Hughson of Hidden Savanna Nursery.  Chad will place the seeds in an ideal growing environment.  By collecting and placing seed-laden soil samples under greenhouse conditions, the hope is that moisture, nutrients, warmth, and light will no longer be limiting factors to germination, and plants can emerge from dormant seed.  At this point, we hope to identify emergent plants and create seed bank plant lists.

SWMLC’s upcoming study should shed some light on the seed bank component of adaptive management for KL Avenue Nature Preserve and for future restoration endeavors at other preserves. Tapping into the seed bank — a hidden plant community under our feet — could be a powerful economical and ecological tool for the restoration community, while giving us a small window into a mysterious and fascinating natural phenomenon at one of our own preserves.


Wetlands Do the Dirty Work

Wetlands have long been one of Nature's most misunderstood natural resources.  Come to this informational forum for landowners, local officials, and tribal members.

When:   Tuesday, April 22 - Earth Day

Time:     6:30 p.m. to 8:00 p.m.

Where:  Pine Creek Reservation Community Center

              1488 Mno-Bmadzewen Way

              Fulton, MI  49052

Click here for more information.  

Click here to open a pdf of the event flyer.

Click here for directions.

To RSVP, call our office:  (269) 324-1600.


Get Wet with the Wednesday Workday Warriors

Bust out your best creek stompin' boots, because we're going shin deep in Tyden Creek!  Tyden Creek runs through the heart of Hidden Pond Preserve, and we plan to assess the water quality and critters who call this creek home.  

Denny Stelzer, aquatic entomologist and SWMLC volunteer extraordinaire, will educate us on how to sample water bodies for insects, snails, amphipods, etc.   

Carpool from Tractor Supply on Gull Rd. at 12:15 p.m. on Wednesday, April 16.  

Bring hip waders if you have them, rubber boots if you don't, and extra "D" nets if you have any.

Help us get the restoration "flowing"!

- Mitch

Celebrate Earth Day April 22

Earth Day is all about connecting people to nature, and one of the best ways to do that is to get people out tromping around in nature!  So what better way to do that than to improve our trail system to give people a great experience at our beloved KL Avenue Nature Preserve in Oshtemo Township!

The trails could really use a once-over.  In the morning, we'll focus on clearing debris, widening and lining, and marking.  In the afternoon, we'll broadcast some seed.

We'll be joining Pfizer "Day of Caring" volunteers, who have dedicated an entire day to giving some TLC to this preserve.

We'll start at 9 a.m. on Tuesday, April 22, and stop at 3 p.m. — you can work all or any part of the day.   Bring sturdy shoes and grubby clothes.  There is poison ivy in various locations, so wear long pants and long sleeves.  (We'll have Tecnu available to help with any encounters.)  If you're staying all day, bring a sack lunch.  

Email lettow@swmlc.org if you plan to come.

- Mitch

Warblers and Trillium . . . and Weeds

Spend a Saturday morning at Kesling Nature Preserve in Three Oaks, Berrien, County, on April 26. We'll be there from 9 a.m. to Noon.

One of the greatest challenges of spring can be deciding where to focus your attention — up at the birds or down at the flowers! You will be particularly challenged if you join us at Kesling Nature Preserve, where state-threatened Yellow-throated warblers will be setting up territories in the tops of the sycamores while we pull up the garlic mustard amongst the state-threatened prairie trillium.

Let us know you're coming, so we can have enough tools and refreshments for everyone.

[Photo of prairie trillium by Kristin Schinske]