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, October 5
We will help put the finishing touches on Black River Preserve before the Grand Opening & Picnic-Paddle-Palooza on Oct. 15.

WHERE: Black River Preserve, Geneva Twp., Van Buren Co.

WHEN: 12:15 pm (note the afternoon start time!)

BRING: Mitch will come up with our to-do list, so bring work gloves, water, and attitude!

Carpool leaves the Meijer on West Main at 12:15 pm. 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 Black River Preserve
From Kalamazoo: Go west on M-43 approximately 31.5 miles (almost to South Haven). At the traffic circle at Maple Grove Corners, take 72nd Street (aka CR-689) north to the T-stop at 8th Ave. Turn right (east) on 8th Ave, and look for the preserve on the south side. If you get to 68th St, you’ve gone too far.


Recap of last week's adventure . . .

Another fine workday with an impressive turnout. Devin and newbie Lotte dropped our median age by a decade or two, as the Kalamazoo contingent joined forces with the SoHa contingent at Pilgrim Haven. We did indeed finish the job from last week, and the re-located butterfly garden is nicely settled in. Willing hands and backs made short work of the task and  talk about timing  in strolled Connie just as we were wrapping up! What a wily Warrior. We then of course had to take a walk on the beach and weigh down our pockets with pretty stones and admire the waves and take in the powerful beauty of Lake Michigan. We then adjourned to the Mexican restaurant where Mitch dusted off his Spanish and was sure one of the menu items was Slippery Beans! eeww. Then Jeff shared his passion for heirloom seed savers and passed around samples of four of his thirty varieties of tomatoes. What a dazzling experience! I continually marvel at the many facets of this diverse and self-actualized group!

— Kristi