January 15, 9 am – 12 pm
Bow in the Clouds Preserve

Bundle up and head outdoors to see a corner of Kalamazoo you’ve almost certainly never seen!
Help to restore rare habitats at Bow in the Clouds Preserve.

Bow in the Clouds Preserve is a 60 acre nature preserve located within the city limits of Kalamazoo. There are a special set of wetlands that make up the heart of the preserve, where several clear streams meander through. In addition to providing terrific habitat for unique plants and wildlife, this wetland helps to cleanse water in a “wellhead protection area” for Kalamazoo, designated to protect drinking water for city residents. Although this high quality wetland is a great resource for the public and for water quality, it needs help. In the past, the hydrology of the wetland has been altered and this disturbance has encouraged invasive plant species to colonize the area. In addition to blocking the view, these invasive plants decrease the value of wildlife habitat, change nutrient cycling, and further impact the hydrology of the site.

But volunteers can help!

We will be conducting a workday to remove and treat “glossy buckthorn,” the primary invader at Bow in the Clouds. By cutting and sawing these aggressive shrubs with loppers and saws, we can open up sight lines and increase sunlight to the native plants that have shrunken back since the buckthorn’s takeover. Due to the “squishy” nature of the wetlands themselves, wintertime (when the ground is usually frozen) is the easiest time to get into the wetland.

While walking through and working at the site, volunteers will learn about the plants and animals that call it home, as well as ecology and history of the property. At the end of the day, the piles of invasive plants left behind to naturally decay in the wetland will be a measure of the positive impact we have made to the site. We might even be able to get a small outdoor fire going to burn invasive brush and keep ourselves warm during the workday!

WHEN: Monday, January 15, 9 am – 12 pm

WHERE: Bow in the Clouds Preserve, Kalamazoo

BRING: Wear warm, waterproof boots and layered, cold weather work-wear that you don’t mind getting snowy and dirty. SWMLC will provide hot drinks, snacks, and tools.

DIRECTIONS: Keeping conservation and the modest-sized parking lot in mind, please carpool where possible. The preserve is on Nazareth Road (about one mile west of Sprinkle Road), behind Nazareth Campus (home of the Sisters of St. Joseph, 3427 Gull Rd.). From Gull Road, turn north onto Nazareth Road. The preserve entrance is about half a mile ahead on the left side of the road. Look for our old gray barn up off the road. It’s a steep drive along a sharp curve, so be careful coming and leaving. Pull in through the gate and park in the nice new parking lot.

REGISTER: Register by clicking here to go to Volunteer Kalamazoo’s website.

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.

SWMLC Saturday Workdays in the Preserves . . . show us your muscles!