MNA sanctuary celebrates 50th anniversary

By Annie Perry, MNA Intern

MNA’s Stephen M. Polovich Memorial Nature Sanctuary in St. Clair County turns 50 this year! Polovich Memorial was MNA’s second sanctuary and opened on May 18, 1963. This 18.5-acre sanctuary was originally known as the Pine River Nature Sanctuary, named for the river running through the preserve.

Pine River

Pine River runs through the Polovich Memorial Nature Sanctuary in St. Clair County.

Polovich Memorial is located in a deep pocket of dense woods, just off Cribbins Road in St. Clair County. The sanctuary contains a dense forest with birch, maple, hickory, aspen, and other tree species, as well as a varied terrain of hills, gullies and streams, flood plains and a river. A half-mile trail in the sanctuary gives visitors access to Pine River, a gentle river that is often lined with wildflowers. MNA connected all the trails in Polovich Memorial into a loop in 2012, making it easier to navigate the sanctuary.

More than 65 bird species call Polovich Memorial home, making the sanctuary a favorite among bird watchers. Species found in the sanctuary include the whip-poor-will, red-headed woodpecker, wood duck, ruffed goose, and great horned owl.

The Stephen M. Polovich Memorial Nature Sanctuary was renamed after Steve Polovich, the son of nature photographer Ralph Polovich. Steve—an Eagle Scout who loved nature and sponsored nature study for Campfire Girls of Port Huron—frequently visited MNA sanctuaries with his father and three sisters. Ralph often took photos of his kids at the sanctuaries, which became an important asset to MNA and were used in many MNA publications. Steve passed away at the age of 19 on December 29, 1977, but his memory is preserved and honored through the nature sanctuary.

For more information on the Stephen M. Polovich Memorial Nature Sanctuary or other MNA sanctuaries, check out the MNA website.

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