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New Nature Preserve Planned in Southwestern Michigan-US NEWS

Posted on January 9, 2019

Find Article HERE.

A new 108-acre nature preserve is planned in southwestern Michigan that will be open to the public.

CHIKAMING TOWNSHIP, Mich. (AP) — A new 108-acre (44-hectare) nature preserve is planned in southwestern Michigan that will be open to the public.

The Herald-Palladium reports Elizabeth Leonard Rould recently donated the property in Berrien County's Chikaming Township to Chikaming Open Lands .

The land will be named The Edward and Elizabeth Leonard Wildlife Preserve. It consists of mature woodland, wetlands and agricultural land. Rould and her late husband, Ed Leonard, lived on the property for more than 30 years. She says she spent much of her time there walking the woods with her dogs, observing the wildlife.

She says it's "very important to me to know that other people, young and old, will be able to walk through it and really enjoy it just as I did."

The new preserve is near other protected properties.

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Information from: The Herald-Palladium, http://www.heraldpalladium.com

Copyright 2019 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

New nature preserve planned in southwestern Michigan

Posted on January 9, 2019

Find Article HERE.

CHIKAMING TOWNSHIP, Mich. (AP) — A new 108-acre (44-hectare) nature preserve is planned in southwestern Michigan that will be open to the public.

The Herald-Palladium reports Elizabeth Leonard Rould recently donated the property in Berrien County's Chikaming Township to Chikaming Open Lands .

The land will be named The Edward and Elizabeth Leonard Wildlife Preserve. It consists of mature woodland, wetlands and agricultural land. Rould and her late husband, Ed Leonard, lived on the property for more than 30 years. She says she spent much of her time there walking the woods with her dogs, observing the wildlife.

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She says it's "very important to me to know that other people, young and old, will be able to walk through it and really enjoy it just as I did."

The new preserve is near other protected properties.


Chikaming Open Lands acquires 108 acres for nature preserve

Posted on January 9, 2019

Find Article HERE.

UNION PIER — An 108-acre nature preserve will soon sit along Lakeside and Warren Woods Roads in Chikaming Township. 

In December, Elizabeth Leonard Rould donated the property to Chikaming Open Lands (COL) which will own and manage it as a nature preserve

“We were very excited to accept such an expansive tract of high-quality forest, particularly in such a desirable location,” said COL Executive Director Ryan Postema. “There aren’t many undeveloped forested properties of this size remaining in Chikaming Township, so we feel really fortunate to be able to protect it in its natural state.”

The land, which will be named  The Edward and Elizabeth Leonard Wildlife Preserve, consists of mature woodland, wetlands and agricultural land that COL will open to the public in the future. 

The new preserve, the organization’s 14th in the area, is in close proximity to other protected properties like Chikaming Township Park and Preserve and COL’s Merritt Family Preserve.

Postema said that connecting natural areas like this creates greenways that are beneficial to protecting natural habitat for wildlife.

Rould and her late husband, Ed Leonard, lived on the property for 30 plus years. She said she spent much of her time there walking the woods with her dogs, observing the wildlife.

“It’s very important to me to know that other people, young and old, will be able to walk through it and really enjoy it just as I did,” said Rould. “Living there was a gift to me. I wanted to make a gift back to the community, for the enjoyment of everyone.”

COL serves nine townships in southwest Berrien County.

In November last year, COL acquired a 49-acre property with frontage on the Galien River. It’s dedicated in memory of late director Chris Thompson, who died in 2016. The property is along Warren Woods Road between Warren Woods State Park and Chikaming Township Park and Preserve.

In August 2017, the COL got another 34 acres of land along Mydra Road, next to Chikaming Township Park.

In all, COL has been instrumental in preserving more than 1,900 acres of open space since its founding in 1999.

Conservancy adds 49 acres along Galien River

Posted on November 16, 2018

Find article HERE.

SAWYER — Chikaming Open Lands has acquired a new nature preserve in Chikaming Township and named it for its late executive director, COL reported.

The 49-acre property includes open fields, high-quality woodlands and frontage on the Galien River. It will be dedicated in memory of Chris Thompson, who died in 2016. The property is along Warren Woods Road between Warren Woods State Park and Chikaming Township Park and Preserve. 

The Chris Thompson Memorial Preserve will be open to the public for outdoor recreation.

COL reported that more than 125 individuals and organizations participated in a campaign to raise $226,000 to complete the purchase of the property and protect the open space into perpetuity. The deal was wrapped up Oct. 30.

COL’s plans include developing a system of hiking trails, improving public access and restoring the open fields to native prairie. The organization will explore the possibility of offering access to the Galien River.

“Chris’s vision was to connect the people of our community to the land, by providing the kinds of outdoor experiences that are proven to make people healthier and happier,” Executive Director Ryan Postema said. “Our goal for this new preserve is to create a welcoming space for local residents and visitors alike to enjoy the natural beauty of the area.”

Chikaming Open Lands is a land conservancy dedicated to preserving the open spaces and natural rural character of southern Berrien County. It has secured more than 1,800 acres of open space since its founding in 1999.


Chikaming Open Lands acquires land for Chris Thompson memorial preserve

Posted on November 16, 2018

Find article HERE.

THREE OAKS — Chikaming Open Lands (COL) acquired a new nature preserve in Chikaming Township on October 30, 2018. The 49-acre property, consisting of swaths of open fields, high-quality woodland, and frontage on the Galien River, will be dedicated in memory of the organization’s late executive director, Chris Thompson.

More than 125 individuals and organizations participated in a campaign to raise the funds needed to complete the purchase of the property and protect the open space in perpetuity. Local members of the community and other of Thompson’s friends, family and colleagues in the conservation community raised more than $226,000 to acquire the property in his memory. COL was also awarded a $100,000 grant from The Carls Foundation, and George Lucas of RE/MAX Harbor Country, the real estate agent who represented COL in the transaction, donated his commission to the project. The remainder of the purchase price was provided by COL, using grant funds previously received from The Pokagon Fund. In addition, COL received a commitment from the neighboring Owners at Lakeside Cabins Resort (LCR) and Ted and Tim O’Neil, the managers of LCR, to assist in funding future stewardship costs.

Located on Warren Woods Road between Warren Woods State Park and Chikaming Township Park and Preserve, the Chris Thompson Memorial Preserve will be open to the public for outdoor recreation. COL’s plans for the property include developing a system of hiking trails, improving public access, and restoring the open fields to native prairie. The organization will also explore the possibility of offering access to the Galien River in the future. “Chris’s vision was to connect the people of our community to the land, by providing the kinds of outdoor experiences that are proven to make people healthier and happier,” said current Executive Director Ryan Postema. “Our goal for this new preserve is to create a welcoming space for local residents and visitors alike to enjoy the natural beauty of the area.”

Thompson passed away suddenly on June 3, 2016. Shortly thereafter, COL’s Board of Directors resolved to proactively seek out a property that the organization would acquire and protect as a nature preserve in his memory. “We are so pleased to have had the opportunity to acquire this

property in Chris’ memory,” said Postema. “It was exactly what we were looking for—the kind of place Chris would have loved; and moreover, that our entire community can enjoy.”

Chikaming Open Lands is the local land conservancy dedicated to preserving the open spaces and natural rural character of southern Berrien County. COL works to protect and restore native plant and animal habitat, improve water quality, and permanently preserve ecologically significant forests, prairies and wetlands, as well as prime farmland and other open spaces in this area. COL serves nine townships in southwest Berrien County, and has been instrumental in preserving more than 1,800 acres of open space since its founding in 1999.