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The Partners in Conservation Program

The Partners in Conservation Program was a collaboration between Chikaming Open Lands and The Pokagon Fund to provide funding for land preservation projects.  Chikaming Open Lands completed a fundraising challenge grant program for land preservation over a three year period from 2011 – 2014. Under the grant, The Pokagon Fund matched contributions (in cash or land value) to Chikaming Open Lands 2:1.  Chikaming Open Lands met the maximum grant award in each year, receiving $900,000 in total from The Pokagon Fund. In addition, during the grant period nearly $350,000 in matching funds (including individual donations and other grants) was raised and Chikaming Open Lands received land donations valued at over $1,000,000. The program funds are being used by Chikaming Open Lands to protect natural areas and farmland through the acquisition of nature preserves and conservation easements.

To date, with funding through the Partners in Conservation Program, Chikaming Open Lands has protected 493 acres of forest, wetlands, and farmland. The grant program has assisted in the acquisition and creation of seven nature preserves:  Chris Thompson Memorial Preserve, Critter Haven Preserve, Edward and Elizabeth Leonard Wildlife Preserve, Flynn Woods Preserve, Jens Jensen Preserve, The Woods Preserve, and Turtle Creek Preserve. Chikaming Open Lands has also acquired four conservation easements, with funding in part from the program.

Since its inception, The Pokagon Fund has been dedicated to supporting the conservation of land in the New Buffalo region. The Fund understands that by providing private landowners with the right incentives, these individuals are able to become partners in the fight to safeguard our land and achieve local conservation goals.  Recovering uncommon species, improving the quality of water in our rivers, streams and lakes, and restoring habitats are just a few of the goals that have been accomplished with the help of private landowners.  For this reason, The Pokagon Fund supported the Partners in Conservation Program with a generous grant of $900,000. 

The partnership with The Pokagon Fund through the Partners in Conservation Program has significantly contributed to Chikaming Open Lands growth over the past several years. The grant has not only made it possible for us to protect land, it has also helped us increase our overall support from other members of the community. 

We are proud of our continuing partnership with The Pokagon Fund. The foundation’s support provides an immediate and sustainable benefit for Chikaming Open Lands as an organization, but also for the entire community, ensuring our corner of Southwest Michigan retains the beautiful natural character that makes it a great place to live, work and play.