Check out this great article about COL in the Harbor Country News!

Posted on September 20, 2017

Hikers Explore New Trails through Robinson Woods Preserve

Check out the great article in the Harbor Country News about the newly finished trails at Robinson Woods Preserve!

Chikaming Open Lands Executive Director Ryan Postema and Harbor Country Hikers President Pat Fischer led a hike and talked about the process of choosing the right path, clearing the way and marking a new trail.

Check out the article here.

Don't forget to check out the new trails for yourself on Sunday, September 24 during the family friendly program Take-A-Hike!

Take-A-Hike! Program to start Sunday, September 24

Posted on September 18, 2017


Get on your comfy shoes and gather the family for this hiking program! With a different hiking theme each month we will explore the natural world around us through hiking, nature games and activities. A great way to spend time with the family in every season.

Join Casey Struecker from COL at Robinson Woods Preserve on our once-a-month family friendly hiking program, Take-A-Hike! On Sunday, September 24 at 3:00 p.m.we will explore the beautiful colors of fall at Robinson Woods Preserve.

Casey will lead this nice and easy hike through the preserve and will help explore why leaves change colors, what happens to the trees and plants of the forest during fall, and explore what animals live on the preserve.

Program is free and no registration is required. If you have any questions contact Casey at 269-405-1006 or

Bat Night Hike at Robinson Woods Preserve

Posted on August 28, 2017

Dive into the mesmerizing world of bats with Jeremy Sheets, Senior Wildlife Biologist from Orbis! We'll learn interesting facts about our resident bats and see how Jeremy conducts bat surveys in the field. This will be a great opportunity to learn about these amazing flying mammals from a local expert.

Jeremy will then take us on a hike through Robinson Woods and look for our furry flying friends using tracking equipment, a bat detector and spot light. 

This hike is free but space is limited!

Please contact Casey Struecker at (269) 405-1006 or to reserve your space on the hike and for any questions you may have.

Ryan Postema named new Executive Director

Posted on November 4, 2016

We are pleased to announce that Ryan Postema has been appointed Executive Director of Chikaming Open Lands.

Following the sudden passing of Chris Thompson in June of this year, a Search Committee was appointed by the Board to conduct a nationwide search to fill the position.  After a comprehensive process that spanned three months and resulted in applications from around the country, the Committee recommended, and the Board of Directors unanimously approved, the selection of Ryan.

As many of you know, Ryan Postema has been the Land Protection Specialist at Chikaming Open Lands for the past three years. In that capacity he has had primary responsibility for land protection and stewardship projects. He has also participated in a variety of other aspects of the organization, from education projects to development and marketing activities. Prior to joining Chikaming Open Lands, Ryan spent eight years working for Cardno, an international environmental consulting firm, where he managed and implemented large-scale ecosystem restoration and native landscaping projects. 

I hope you will join us in welcoming Ryan to his new position as Executive Director. His transition into this leadership role is extremely positive for Chikaming Open Lands and for the community as a whole. 

With Ryan's leadership and the support of our dedicated members and friends, we look forward to continuing our conservation work in Southwest Michigan.

Village of Michiana and Chikaming Open Lands partner to protect 11 acres of critical dune and beach

Posted on November 4, 2016

On August 15, 2016 Chikaming Open Lands and the Village of Michiana completed a project which placed a conservation easement on approximately 11 acres of Village-owned property on the Lake Michigan shore. The easement, which was donated to Chikaming Open Lands by the Village, protects this very valuable beach and critical dune area in its natural state forever. 

This project marks the first lakefront property that we have protected, and it is also the first conservation easement agreement between the conservancy and a municipality in the area. The easement extinguishes the residential development rights on the 11 acres, while ensuring the dunes and beach remain Village-owned and open to the community for recreational use.

“The easement area includes a nice stretch of critical dune and beach”, said Land Protection Specialist Ryan Postema. “The lakefront in our area has become highly developed with a large portion of the land privately-owned, so not only are we protecting a unique dune ecosystem and important wildlife habitat, we are also helping to preserve the scenic view and public access to Lake Michigan, one of our greatest natural resources.”  While the conservation easement was a full donation by the Village of Michiana, project costs like surveys, an environmental assessment, legal fees and closing costs were funded in part by The Pokagon Fund through a $17,000 grant to the Village, as well as 14 donors residing in the Village who contributed $6,200 to the project.  The project came to the attention of Chikaming Open Lands' late executive director Chris Thompson three years ago. While attending a Pokagon Fund service event, Village of Michiana Council President Tim Iverson met Thompson, who introduced him to the concept of what a conservation easement could mean for the Village of Michiana. “With the strong support from our Village residents, we were able to complete this ambitious project to place conservation easements on more than 40 parcels of open land along the lakefront”, said Iverson. “By partnering with COL to protect its lakefront, the Village has created a living legacy to the Village of Michiana and its residents while preserving the natural beauty of Lake Michigan's shores for generations to come.”