The Partners in Conservation Program

The Partners in Conservation Program is 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 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 grant 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 the Partners in Conservation Program grant from The Pokagon Fund, Chikaming Open Lands has protected seven parcels of land for a total of 242 acres of woodlands, wetlands, and farmland. The grant has contributed to the creation of four nature preserves, which are open to the public for passive recreation: Critter Haven Preserve, Flynn Woods Preserve, Jens Jensen Preserve, and The Woods Preserve. The grant has also funded acquisition of two conservation easements which protect 32 acres of forested dune and 144 acres of prime farmland, respectively.

Since its inception, The Pokagon Fund has been dedicated to supporting the conservation of land in the New Buffalo, Three Oaks and Chikaming Townships. 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. Protecting threatened 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 generously supported Chikaming Open Lands through the Partners in Conservation Program.  

Chikaming Open Lands owes much of its incredible growth and achievements over the past five years to The Pokagon Fund grant that funded the Partners in Conservation Program. The grant has not only made it possible for us to protect significantly more 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.