Volunteers wanted to help plant at Pilgrim Haven Natural Area

    SOUTH HAVEN - On Saturday, June 15, from 9 a.m. to 12 p.m., Southwest Michigan Land Conservancy (SWMLC) will be hosting a Volunteer Workday at Pilgrim Haven Natural Area.
    Volunteers of all ages are invited to join SWMLC to help improve plant diversity, wildlife habitat and the overall health of Pilgrim Haven Natural Area by planting native botanical species at this special nature preserve on the Lake Michigan shoreline.
    Used as a camp for over 70 years - first as the Camp Fire Girls’ “Camp Kiwanis Nawakwa” from 1913 until 1948, and then as the Michigan Congregational Conference of the United Church of Christ’s “Camp Pilgrim Haven” from 1948 until 1982 - the preserve has seen extensive human use over the years that has compromised its botanical diversity.
    “By planting species that are native to this Lake Michigan shoreline habitat, we can help to restore the preserve’s original natural landscape to ensure the property continues to function as essential habitat for native wildlife, as well as important migratory habitat for species such as songbirds and butterflies,” emphasized SWMLC Stewardship Specialist Mitch Lettow.
    Donated to Southwest Michigan Land Conservancy in 2010 by the estate of the late Suzanne Upjohn Delano Parish, Pilgrim Haven Natural Area strikes a balance between providing public access to the lakeshore and protecting the property’s natural habitats. Pilgrim Haven is located on the Lake Michigan shoreline, just minutes from downtown South Haven, and offers 27 acres of natural areas including a lush beech-maple forest,   Dyckman Creek, and over 750 linear feet of pebbled beach along Lake Michigan.
    Over the past couple of years, SWMLC, in collaboration with the South Haven Area Recreation Authority and with support from the Michigan Natural Resources Trust Fund, the South Haven Township Recreation Millage, and many private donors, has implemented universal access at Pilgrim Haven with a barrier-free walkway down to the beach so that people of all ages and abilities have a natural place where they can go to experience Lake Michigan first-hand.
    A new phase of improvements will begin this summer and include pit-toilets, a newly-paved parking lot with rain garden, kayak racks, and benches. With additional funding from Entergy-Palisades, SWMLC will create a universally-accessible trail from the parking lot to the bridge over Dyckman Creek, and between the graded berm and the shoreline to connect to the barrier-free walkway down to the beach. Most recently, SWMLC and Cottage Home completed construction of the trailhead kiosk thanks to a generous donation from the South Haven Rotary Club.
    Pilgrim Haven Natural Area is managed and maintained by the South Haven Area Recreation Authority (SHARA).Southwest Michigan Land Conservancy owns the property and cares for its natural areas and wildlife. To learn more about the Southwest Michigan Land Conservancy and Pilgrim Haven Natural Area, please visit the SWMLC website at www.swmlc.org or SWMLC’s Facebook page.
    The Southwest Michigan Land Conservancy serves the nine counties of southwest Michigan, and has worked with regional landowners to protect over 15,000 acres since its inception as an all-volunteer organization in 1991. The Conservancy currently has nine staff and 150 active volunteers and is supported by over 1,250 household memberships.
    SWMLC is active in maintaining 50 nature preserves, enforcing almost 100 conservation easements, and convening regional partners to create conservation plans and engage people in the natural world.  
    In Van Buren County, SWMLC has protected Portman Nature Preserve, 1,898 acres of rolling hills, upland oak forest, fen and marshland, three spring-fed lakes and nearly two miles of marked hiking trails in Almena and Antwerp townships. Portman Nature Preserve not only provides a home for an astounding number of rare, threatened, and endangered plant and animal species, it also serves as an outdoor classroom for students at Mattawan and Paw Paw Schools.

The Courier-Leader & Paw Paw Flashes

The Courier-Leader & Paw Paw Flashes
32280 E. Red Arrow Hwy. • P.O. Box 129
Paw Paw, MI 49079
(269) 657-5080

Email Us

Facebook Pinterest