Two-Mile Section of the Paw Paw River Protected


Earlier this week, we completed the Nelson purchased conservation easement project, consisting of two adjacent conservation easements totaling 164 acres and protecting a two-mile stretch of the lower Paw Paw River just downstream of Coloma, Berrien County. The property is a mix of high-quality forested wetland, riparian oak-hickory forest, farmland, and clay bluffs. A plant community of ferns, mosses, and lichens -- unusual in that they are usually found much farther north -- grows on a rare limestone outcropping, part of a series of steep clay bluffs populated with mature hemlock and oak. Much of the region where the Paw Paw River flows is broad and flat, with significant areas of contiguous and healthy floodplain forest. The Nelson property is one of the few sites where the river drops in elevation, and where bands of floodplain forest are narrowed by the bluffs' constraint.

The Nelson property is the second of seven conservation easements in a project that will protect about 640 acres. In December, Geoff completed a conservation easement on Sarett Nature Center's 280-acre Brown Sanctuary, the first step of the larger project. 







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

See the Wednesday Warriors' feature article on page 21 of the July issue of Southwest Michigan Spark magazine. Read all about it! 

Wednesday, July 20

The Warrior "pack" will slink into the newly named "Wolf Tree Nature Trails" (formerly KL Avenue Nature Preserve)! The grand opening of this preserve has caused us to look back and celebrate all the work that has been done by volunteers out there, and how far the preserve has come. What better reason to head back out to the preserve and continue this good work by improving habitat and opening up new views throughout the woodland and savanna areas? We'll lop and chop to our hearts' content, then take a lovely walk and admire all our past work here. Maybe Mitch will point out a wolf tree! 

WHERE: Wolf Tree Nature Trails, Oshtemo Twp., Kalamazoo Co. 

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

ACTIVITY: Brush removal/habitat improvement

BRING: Work gloves and water. 

DIRECTIONS: Wolf Tree Nature Trails is located on KL Avenue in Oshtemo Township, just east of the intersection with 4th Street on the south side of the road.

Last week's adventure:

"Last week, nine Warriors entered the shady groves of KEKA and proceeded to cut down all the shade. Huh? You really can have too much of a good thing, and the driveway, parking area, and trail were getting mighty overgrown. Then, in what corporate types call 'mission creep,' we turned our tidy trimming into an all-out assault on the encroaching autumn olive patch. We just couldn't walk past it! Mitch finally pulled us off to stroll the lovely oak woods in the back section, to admire the magic of fire in enriching the understory. A snack of wild blueberries, and we were on our way. Good job everyone!"

-- Kristi