Currently, MNA protects land in 58 of Michigan’s 83 counties. As the first land trust, and the only state-focused one in Michigan, MNA is proud to have a strong presence in the protection of special natural areas. From our first property in 1960, MNA has grown to protect land, habitat and species at 170 nature sanctuaries throughout both peninsulas, now and forever.
Boosting MNA’s land ownership into the 10,000 acre range is the recent acquisition of an easement on a 600-acre property in Oscoda County, resulting from a partnership among the J.A. Woollam Foundation, The Nature Conservancy (TNC) and MNA.
Although the number of sanctuaries has multiplied over the years, former President and Trustee Dick Holzman says MNA still has the same strong focus that it had during his time on the Board in the 1970s.
“Our goal has always been to acquire and protect exceptional habitats,” Dick says, “but at that time, we were talking about 20- to 40-acre parcels of land. We never thought 10,000 acres would happen. It’s amazing!”
Nearly sixty years after MNA began as a small birding group, the organization still values its roots while looking to the future. Executive Director Jeremy Emmi says the organization is looking toward acquiring more, and someday doubling the amount of, protected special natural areas.
“We’ve built the capacity of MNA to where we could protect more land each year, and we’re still headed in that direction,” he says. “It takes a lot of resources, a lot of time, and a lot of hard work, but through our incredible volunteers and donors, we’ve spent the time, done the work, and raised millions of dollars to protect land in Michigan.”
When it comes to why MNA continues to protect land throughout the state, the reasons are endless.
“We do it for nature itself, and we do it for humanitarian reasons so that future generations can enjoy it,” Jeremy says. “We do it because it helps protect species and habitat diversity and promotes all of the other functions that natural habitat provides.”
“Most of all, we do it for Michigan.”
For more information about MNA and our 10,000 acres, see the special section in the April newsletter and our website.