Get to Know A Sanctuary- Kope Kon and Adaline Kershaw Woods


Near the banks of Lake George in Branch County, MNA is proud to protect the Kope Kon and Adaline Kershaw Woods Nature Sanctuaries.


Photo by Richard Holzman


The Kershaw Woods Nature Sanctuary is an oak forest that has never been logged, and serves as a remnant of Michigan’s former wilderness. More than three dozen species of trees grow in this area, including elm, dogwood, basswood and cherry, along with beautiful wildflowers and rare, native plants. This is truly an opportunity to see what Michigan’s land looked like 150 years ago.


MNA file photo

 The Kope Kon Nature Sanctuary protects the last piece of natural shoreline along Lake George. Kope Kon was chief of the Potawatomi Indians. He and his tribe settled along the shores of Lake George because of the wonderful hunting and fishing and the fertile farmland. This sanctuary is home to the pawpaw tree from which beautiful flowers bloom in the spring and fruit grows in the fall.


MNA file photo

 Together these two sanctuaries protect 56 acres of land and are wonderful places to visit for the day!


Directions: Take 69 south to Lake George Exit (Indiana #3) Turn right off exit, Turn right at the stop sign. Go 1 to 2 miles and turn left onto Kope Kon Road.  Sanctuary is on the right at the end of the road.

Environmental News- Great Lakes Compact

There’s a new agreement that says the Great Lakes water has to stay in the Great Lakes. It’s been approved now by all eight of the states and the two Canadian provinces that border the Lakes.

The Great Lakes region was worried that drier parts of the country and the world might be eyeing the largest supply of freshwater on Earth.

Ten years ago, a Canadian company got permission from Ontario to send millions of gallons of water to Asia via tankers. Fierce opposition from around the Great Lakes region put an end to that project, but regions neighboring the Great Lakes basin still see them as a possible cure for their water shortages.

Michigan Governor Jennifer Granholm says the Great Lakes compact offers an answer to anyone outside the region who wants to get their hands on that water.

“Can’t touch this. That’s what we say. They need to look at their own way of preserving and managing their resources.”

When Granholm signed new laws in a ceremony on the Lake Michigan shoreline Michigan became the last of the eight Great Lakes states to formally join the compact.

The compact was put together by leaders of the US states and two Canadian provinces that border the lakes. Granholm says, once it’s adopted by Congress and signed by the president, it will give the Great Lakes states new authority to protect their water.

“This allows me as governor to veto any large diversion of water, so we can put a stop to it ourselves. It really allows us the autonomy to protect our Great Lakes overall.”

It took 10 years for the Great Lakes states to get the compact through their legislatures and signed by their governors. Members of Congress from the region are hoping it won’t take quite so long to get it to the president’s desk.

Chicago Congressman Rahm Emanuel is expected to lead the effort to get the compact through the US House. He says congressional hearings will begin this year and the compact should be approved in time for it to be sent to the new president in early 2009. Emanuel says he’s not expecting any problems.

“Because people understand and know, this is our Yellowstone Park, this is our Grand Canyon. This is a national treasure. There’s been a lot of work and years of effort to get this done. The good news is a lot of the chairmen of the committees that are relevant are from the Midwest, and know how important the Great Lakes are and will act with due speed in getting it done.”

Both the Republican presidential candidate John McCain and Democratic candidate Barak Obama have said they would sign the compact.

Environmental groups are among those backing the compact. But many of them say it still comes up short because it does not stop bottled water from leaving the Great Lakes region.

Cyndi Roper is with Clean Water Action.

“Water is water. You can’t fill a tanker with water and take it out of the Great Lakes, but you can fill that same tanker with bottles of water and ship them to other parts of the country and other parts of the world, and we think as we move forward, that’s a very dangerous precedent to set.”

She says that’s because many millions of gallons can still trickle out of the lakes – even if it’s 12 ounces at a time.

Story courtesey of The Environment Report

from the University of Michigan and Michigan Public Radio

Get To Know A Sanctuary- Saginaw Wetlands

We are ready to share one of our best kept secrets: The Saginaw Wetlands Nature Sanctuary


Photo by Meghan Good

This 156-acre sanctuary is home to the rarest plant community in Michigan – the lake plain prairie. Saginaw Wetlands, protected since 1984 by Michigan Nature Association and located in Huron County, is considered one of the highest quality examples of this special type of prairie. Home to unique and rare plants, the landscape provides important breeding habitat for grassland birds, waterfowl and other migratory birds, and a diverse array of mammals, reptiles and rare insects. Of the nearly 160,000 acres of lake plain prairie estimated in the 1800’s in Michigan, less than 0.5% remain today. In fact, according to the Michigan Natural Features Inventory (MNFI), only 15 such prairies exist in Michigan, ranging in size from 8 to 265 acres. The culprits: conversion to agriculture, residential and industrial development, alterations of ground water hydrology and fire suppression. In the Saginaw Bay area, extensive drainage networks have been built lowering the water table. The combination of suppression of natural and cultural fires and the lower water table allows for the invasion of shrubs and trees. 

Photo by Keith Saylor

 This sanctuary can only be visited with a MNA guide because of the importance of protecting this precious habitat, however several volunteer opportunities are available in the upcoming months that would allow you to experience the wetland and help maintain it. Please visit and click on How You Can Help for more information.




Sanctuary Dedication

The Vernon and Velma Radebaugh Memorial Plant Preserve was dedicated on June 22nd. This 3-acre preserve in Cass County has very unique plant life and can easily be visited. 


The Vernon and Velma Radebaugh preserve is the last remaining natural area around Eagle Lake. The lake is about 1.5 miles long and 0.8 miles wide. The generous Radebaugh family donated this land to the Michigan Nature Association in 2006 in memory of their late parents. Their parents, Vernon and Velma, purchased this wetland along with 50 acres of adjacent farm and woodland in 1937. The Radebaughs were not farmers, but they purchased the property because of their desire to live next to pristine land containing a wide variety of plants and animals.


The land in this preserve has been in its original state from the earliest recorded deed in 1836. The wishes of Vernon and Velma, along with their sons Vee and Ray, and daughters Veda and Rada, are that future generations will learn from, and enjoy, this unique preserve.