$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.


Winter Tike Hikes!

Join us for a new activity — family hikes on our nature preserves!

Hikes will last about 1 hour at typical toddler pace:  lots of stops, wandering in the wrong direction, pausing to eat snow, etc.

All hikes are on Sunday mornings at 10:30 a.m.  Click on the preserve name below for directions and additional preserve information.

December 28, at Chipman Preserve in Galesburg

January 4, at Chipman Preserve in Galesburg

January 11, at Bow in the Clouds Preserve in Kalamazoo

If you have any questions, call our office at (269) 324-1600.

Have a Swale Time January 10

Start the new year off by getting cozy with Mother Nature!  

Chipman Preserve typically has dry sandy soil, but in the low swale that runs through the middle of the preserve where more moisture collects, the invasive shrubs are particularly “enthusiastic.”  This is where we’ll focus our efforts on cutting back invasive shrub species.

We’ll walk to our site alongside old nursery plantings containing crabapples, serviceberries, and sumacs where fruit-eating songbirds like bluebirds, cedar waxwings, and robins are often seen in winter.

Saturday, January 10, 1 p.m. to 4 p.m., in Galesburg.  Click here for directions.

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!