DIY Garlic mustard Pulling Instructions
DIY Garlic mustard Pulling Instructions

Sponsor SWMLC’s Land Larks

in the 2024 Southwest Michigan Team Birdathon!

Tap to make a flat donation or per-bird pledge.

This spring . . .

1 county.

4 birders.

18 types of snacks.

5 forms of caffeine.

And LOTS of birds, that don’t care whether we see them or not!

It’s time for the annual Southwest Michigan Team Birdathon to play out on May 18. This year Southwest Michigan Land Conservancy’s (SWMLC) team, the “Land Larks”, are freshly molted and ready to chase birds: Dave Brown (SWMLC Stewardship Specialist), Ashley Cole-Wick (Michigan Natural Features Inventory – Conservation Associate), Mitch Lettow (SWMLC Stewardship Director), and Kaleigh Winkler (SWMLC Land Protection Specialist).

The rules are simple: teams have all day (12:01 a.m. to 7 p.m.) to see as many bird species as they can in Berrien County. On the honor system. Teams collect pledges and raise money for conservation.

More birds = more money = more conservation! (Plus glory and the general joy of being alive.)

Proceeds from this year’s SWMLC Team Birdathon will go toward trail improvements at Wolf Tree Nature Trails in west Kalamazoo county – which happens to also be a great place for birding! SWMLC staff and volunteers have worked on restoring Wolf Tree’s oak-based woodland and open savanna habitats for about a decade now – and the birds have noticed. Local birders have reported finding 123 species at Wolf Tree on eBird, the online database for bird observations, including some that will surely perk up the ears of bird enthusiasts like broad-winged hawk, hooded warbler, and blue-winged warbler.

This popular preserve sees lots of visitors and, with all the love and use it receives, its trails are now in need of some repair. SWMLC Stewardship staff have identified 0.6 miles out of the approximately 2-mile long trail system that need redesign. A generous donor has committed $5,000 to this effort – and raising another $5,000 through Birdathon would allow us to fix the quarter-mile of trail that’s most in need of TLC.

If you would be so kind as to donate to this fun and worthwhile cause, you can either make a flat donation (e.g. “I’ll give the Larks $50”) or pledge at a per bird species rate of your choice (e.g. “I’ll give $1 for every bird species spotted”). To give a feel for how much a per bird donation might result in, the Larks have seen 115-135 species in past Birdathons. Of course, all donations are tax-deductible, and SWMLC will follow up after Birdathon to report on how many species we saw. You can make donations and pledges right up until the day of the competition, Saturday, May 18th.

Speaking of reporting . . .

If you’re a Birdathon Superfan, make sure to keep up with the SWMLC Land Larks on Instagram @swmlc on May 18, where we’ll be live reporting our play-by-play birding adventures so you can see the excitement unfold! These “stories” will also be archived so you can read them later.

We hope you’ll chip in to this 35-year-old fundraiser and support birds and birders in southwest Michigan!

As always, thank you for your support and your love of nature (and birds) in southwest Michigan!