Posted on November 22, 2017

Across the country people are putting away their Thanksgiving leftovers and will #OptOutside instead of going Black Friday shopping. 

This campaign started by the outdoor gear store REI, is all about getting everyone to enjoy the great outdoors instead of the hustle and bustle that is associated with Black Friday shopping. It is a great way to start a new holiday tradition with friends and family that takes you out in nature, helps shed a few extra pounds from the Thanksgiving feast, and helps create a more active lifestyle. 

#OptOutisde has been become a new family tradition in many households so why not start a new one for yours on Friday, November 24! Join us as we #OptOutside and check out a few of our nature preserves with trails:

1) Robinson Woods Preserve

2) Flynn Woods Preserve

3) Turtle Creek Preserve

4) Grand Beach Marsh Preserve

5) Jens Jensen Preserve

Not going to be here locally for the holiday weekend? On Friday, November 24 the Michigan DNR is also going to #OptOutside by waiving the regular Recreation Passport entry fee that enable vehicle access to Michigan state parks, trails and boating access sites. Visit here for more details.

Put away the leftovers and go outside and enjoy the beauty of Michigan's best outdoor destinations. We hope to see you #OptOutside. 

Mighty Acorns Article by Harbor Country News - Check it out!

Posted on November 7, 2017

It is officially the beginning of the second Mighty Acorns season, and here at COL we could not be more excited!

The fall field study trips are complete for the 3rd, 4th, and 5th grades at both River Valley Elementary and New Buffalo Elementary. Each field study trip involves three interactive activities that directly correspond into what the students learn in the classroom. River Valley Elementary came out to Robinson Woods and participated in nature exploration, a nature game and stewardship activities by helping plant native plants along with removing invasive species on the preserve. New Buffalo Elementary has an easy walk to the adjacent Turtle Creek Preserve and also did nature exploration, a nature game and stewardship by starting to remove the invasive species, oriental bittersweet. 

Article can be found here.

Keep up the good work Mighty Acorns and see you in the winter at our next field study trips!


Posted on October 17, 2017

Chikaming Open Lands is excited to start the second year of the Mighty Acorns program. Last year COL started the environmental education program with River Valley Elementary School and was a huge success. This year COL has brought on an additional school, New Buffalo Elementary.

Mighty Acorns is an environmental education program that connects 3rd-5th grade students to multiple, meaningful and sustained interactions with their local ecosystems. During the fall, winter and spring of each year, students take a field trip to a local natural area and engage in a Field Study Activity to explore the habitat, learn about the ecosystem and participate in environmental restoration work. Before and after each trip, students complete a pre field study activity and post field study activity. These activities guide students to explore components of local ecosystems, issues that threaten the balance and biodiversity of local habitats, and actions we can take to care for nature.

“The great part of the program that it is no additional work for the teachers and that we cover all costs from classroom curriculum materials, to busing and the field study equipment.” Says Ryan Postema “The kids really enjoy being outside you can see it in how hard they work during the stewardship part of the field study.”

The Fall Field Study dates have been set and next week is the start for River Valley 4th and 5th grade at Robinson Woods Preserve on Wednesday, October 18. New Buffalo Elementary will start their fall field study trips in the first week of November at Turtle Creek Preserve which is conveniently located a few steps away from the elementary school.

If you want to learn more about the Mighty Acorns program contact Casey Struecker the Education and Outreach Coordinator for Chikaming Open Lands at (269) 405-1006 or at

Take-A-Hike! Nocturnal Animals at Jens Jensen

Posted on October 9, 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.

October 15, 2017 from 3:00pm to 4:00pm

When: Sunday, October 15

WhereJens Jensen Preserve

Hike Theme: Nocturnal Animals

Bring the family on a hike through Jens Jensen Preserve as we learn about the creatures of the night! Join Casey Struecker from COL as we explore the nocturnal animals that call the preserve home. Through interactive nature activities and games this is a perfect hike for the family to get in the Halloween mood!

RSVP: Even though this is a free event, RSVPs are always nice and it’s helpful for us to know that you’re coming. Please call our office (269) 405-1006 or email Casey at

COL is Accepting Bids for Invasive Control

Posted on September 25, 2017

Chikaming Open Lands is accepting bids for invasive control as outlined in the Invitation to Bid. Please contact Ryan Postema by phone or email to receive bid package. Bids are due via email by 5 PM, Friday September 29. The bid will be awarded the week of October 1, immediately upon approval by MDNR. 

There will be no formal pre-bid meeting or site visits, but visits can be arranged this week if desired. Please contact Ryan Postema, Executive Director, with any questions by 5 PM, Wednesday, September 27. Questions and responses will be sent to all bidders Thursday morning. 


Ryan J. Postema

Executive Director

(269) 405-1006