Annual report highlight: Connecting to conservation

June 27, 2023

Land Conservancy of West Michigan

Conservation is future-focused work. It requires deliberate, ongoing action. Habitats don’t improve overnight, and forests take decades to grow.

“Some restoration projects take a long time to show us the signs they are working,” said Kim Karn, executive director of Land Conservancy of West Michigan.

The Land Conservancy specializes in the long-term commitment that caring for natural areas requires. One of their newest projects is the McDuffee Creek Nature Preserve in northern Newaygo County. Multiple partners, including the Community Foundation,
supported the purchase of the property. Now, the Land Conservancy is also planning for amenities, like boardwalks and signage, and habitat restoration.

“Our goal is to manage the preserve with an eye toward creating and maintaining climate resilient and biodiverse landscapes,” said Kim. “We want to see the restored habitat thriving. We envision anglers, hikers, birders, and more using the preserve as a destination for nature exploration.”

While work like restoring the preserve’s oak savanna will take time, the Land Conservancy celebrates milestones along the way, like rare birds or insects returning to a once-degraded area. “How rewarding it is to know that we helped usher those conditions back!” said Kim. “To do so alongside members of the community, who volunteer their support in all manner of ways, makes it even more special.”