The Future Portman Nature Preserve

Imagine a public nature preserve . . .

just minutes from Paw Paw, Mattawan, and Kalamazoo

that is open to everyone . . .

from dawn to dusk

with no admission fee.

A public preserve that provides protected habitat . . .

for many of southwest Michigan's rarest plants and animals.

Imagine an outdoor classroom for area students . . .

and a natural laboratory for local researchers.

A natural space for the community . . .

where people can exercise

explore

gather

and connect with nature and each other.

With your help . . .

this will become the Portman Nature Preserve.

Please consider making a gift today to help us raise the last $75,000 and help to make the Portman Nature Preserve a reality.

This is SWMLC’s largest and most ambitious project to date. Ultimately, we envision a 188-acre nature preserve that protects and provides habitat for an incredible number of southwest Michigan’s rarest species, serves as an outdoor classroom for area students and a natural laboratory for local researchers, offers a natural space for the community to explore, exercise, discover, gather . . . to connect with nature and with each other.


188 acres of rolling hills, oak forests, meandering creeks, countless springs, and three lakes . . .

for you and your family to explore and love.

Over 200 individual donors and friends of SWMLC successfully met The Carls Foundation’s $75,000 matching grant challenge issued in late autumn of 2016, effectively raising $150,000 of the last $225,000 needed for the acquisition, stewardship and public use infrastructure for the Portman Nature Preserve.

Thanks to The Carls Foundation and these generous donors, SWMLC just needs to raise the last $75,000 to complete the conservation of this exceptional natural area.

See and hear the passion behind this project.

Fringed Gentians

Read Geoffrey Cripe’s article, Close to Apogee – Creating the Portman Nature Preserve, from the Fall 2016 edition of SWMLC’s newsletter, Landscapes.

More about this wonderful property and this exciting public project . . .

Imagine a place where clear, cool water bubbles up from the ground, turtles of all shapes and sizes lumber slowly across the landscape, amazing native plants seldom seen in this region almost glow with vibrancy, the air is filled with a medley of birdsong, and a group of rare butterflies flutters its way back from extinction.

Located near Mattawan, just minutes from Kalamazoo and Paw Paw, the Portman property boasts 188 acres of high-quality prairie fen, wetland, savanna and woodland habitats, and is blessed with water from 3 lakes, a creek, and hundreds of springs. It is home to an astounding number of rare, threatened, and endangered plant and animal species, including all the species of turtles found in southwest Michigan! As a result of its rich biodiversity, this property has been identified by the conservation community as a priority for conservation for over 10 years.

In addition to its rare habitats and species, the Portman property forms part of the headwaters of the Paw Paw River, making it essential to maintaining clean, abundant water for the Paw Paw River watershed, the broader region, and Lake Michigan.

In an epic collaboration to save some of southwest Michigan’s rarest species and habitats, SWMLC partnered with a number of local, state, and federal organizations to protect this incredibly special piece of property. With assistance from Gerald and Julie Portman, The Conservation Fund, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, Enbridge Energy Limited Partnership, the U.S. Forest Service, Michigan Department of Natural Resources, the Carls Foundation and many private donors, SWMLC has raised approximately 98% of the entire $2.2 million needed to complete this project.

Indeed, over 200 individual donors and friends of SWMLC successfully met The Carls Foundation’s $75,000 matching grant challenge issued in late autumn of 2016, effectively raising $150,000 of the last $225,000 needed for the acquisition, stewardship and public use infrastructure for the Portman Nature Preserve. Thanks to The Carls Foundation and these generous donors, SWMLC just needs to raise the last $75,000 to complete the conservation of this exceptional natural area.

But, we need your help to do it.

We are excited to be so close to finally protecting this spectacular and important piece of property. With your help, the Portman property will become a SWMLC nature preserve where children, adults, and families can recreate, reflect, and grow in their knowledge and love of the natural world. And if we’re able to raise the final $75,000 to complete the public access infrastructure to build a safe parking area and entry trail system, we will hold a Saturday “Sneak Peek” event in late Spring for the public to visit the new Portman Nature Preserve for the first time.

Please consider making a gift to help us raise the last $75,000 and help to make the Portman Nature Preserve a reality.

Together we can create the Portman Nature Preserve for families, for community, for wildlife. . .  forever.

Southwest Michigan Land Conservancy will acquire the Portman Property with funding made available as mitigation for habitat loss or forest fragmentation caused by the construction and maintenance of the Enbridge Energy, Limited Partnership, 6B Pipeline. The Conservation Fund and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service have partnered to manage these voluntary mitigation funds and provide grants to implement local conservation measures in Indiana and Michigan to protect and restore critical habitat for migratory birds under the Migratory Bird Treaty Act. Additional funding was provided by the United States Department of Agriculture Forest Service through the Community Forest Program and the United States Fish and Wildlife Service through the Cooperative Endangered Species Conservation Fund Grant. The purpose of the Awards is to provide funding to acquire the Property for the conservation of critical wildlife habitat and to effect the U.S. Forest Service Community Forest Program authorized by Section 8003 of the Food, Conservation, and Energy Act of 2008 (16 U.S.C. 2103d) for the purposes of establishing community forests that provide community benefits by acquiring and protecting private forestlands.