2017 Year in Review

Celebrating 65 Years of Saving Our Natural Treasures

Cover photo - 2017 annual report

MNA’s accomplishments directly align with our founders’ vision of an organization that would connect people with nature and inspire the protection of rare, threatened and endangered species. Our conservation strategies have necessarily evolved with the times, but the spirit of MNA today continues to embrace the three pillars crucial to our success – people, land, and legacy.

First and foremost it is people who make the difference, our generous donors, volunteers, sanctuary stewards, interns and staff who are behind every single accomplishment described in this Year in Review. Our thanks go to all of you and this year’s standout volunteers who were honored at our Annual Recognition Dinner in October.

The land we care for is the backbone of our statewide impact – an incredible network of over 175 nature sanctuaries. This year, our volunteers logged thousands of hours on stewardship projects large and small to care for these special places. We worked to expand existing sanctuaries to provide more habitat for rare animals such as the Poweshiek skipperling and the eastern massasauga rattlesnake at Big Valley, and even a rare plant called the Virginia water horehound at Red Cedar River.

Finally, a profound sense of legacy that shapes MNA today and will do so long into the future. Our duty to the legacy to those who came before us is reflected in our commitment to being good stewards of the land. And our growing field trip program, School to Sanctuary Partnerships, and research and intern opportunities for college and university students link the importance of our work to the next generation of conservation caretakers, the people who will carry MNA’s work forward in the future.

Thank you to our members, donors, and volunteers for making 2017 a great success and a year to remember! If you would like to support MNA, you can become a member or make a tax-deductible contribution.


Ring in the New Year with a New MNA Sanctuary

Dear MNA Friends,

I can think of no better holiday gift to share than this news:  just this week MNA signed the paperwork For Proj Summ6and acquired a spectacular new nature sanctuary on the shores of Lake Huron in Presque Isle County. The 51-acre property on Albany Bay includes 1,500 feet of shoreline and was donated by a generous landowner wishing to protect this unique, lakefront habitat.

The new sanctuary is home to a significant population of the threatened dwarf lake iris. The property and surrounding shoreline earns the highest ranking for biological rarity.  Trails on the property will provide public access to the beautiful forest and shoreline, and we will get to work in 2018 to prepare the sanctuary for visitors.

Please watch for updates in the New Year!

For now, I invite you to pause in your holiday plans to take a sneak peek at this video and “fly” over this beautiful new sanctuary and the surrounding tropical-like blue waters of Lake Huron. (The Lake Huron bottom lands immediately offshore of the new sanctuary are part of the Thunder Bay National Marine Sanctuary—watch for the remains of the steamer Albany that sank in 1853.)

We extend our deep appreciation to the landowner for this incredible gift of nature.  And we also thank all of you—your generous support makes it possible for MNA to acquire and hold forever this new sanctuary and many other exceptional places throughout the state.  Together, we can—and do—protect Michigan’s rarest natural treasures.

Thank you and Happy New Year!

Garret Johnson

Garret Johnson
Executive Director


MNA’s Guide to Gifts for Nature – Part III

IRA Charitable Rollover

mna logo with red bow

You can give to nature and take advantage of a special tax treat for the year-end giving season with the IRA Charitable Rollover. But it must be done soon to count for 2017.
Here’s how it works:
  • People age 70 1/2 or older can make IRA transfer gifts tax-free to the Michigan Nature Association, a qualified charity;
  • Gifts of up to $100,000 qualify when IRA assets are transferred directly to the Charity;
  • Directly transferred gifts count towards the required minimum distributions you must take annually from your traditional IRAs, but aren’t included in your adjusted gross income and therefore are not counted as taxable income;
  • For married couples, each spouse can transfer up to $100,000 from their IRA.
A recent article in U.S. News & World Report, “How to Donate Your Required Minimum Distribution to Charity,” provides an excellent overview. But time for a qualifying gift for the 2017 tax year is running out. Transfers must be complete by December 31, 2017 for this tax year. To make a qualifying gift to MNA for the 2017 tax year we encourage you to contact your IRA administrator while there is still time.
Thanks for considering MNA in your year-end giving.
Happy Holidays!
Garret Johnson
Garret Johnson
Executive Director 
P.S. Don’t forget, transfers must be made by December 31, 2017 to qualify for this tax year.
Watch for more giving ideas throughout the month!

Donate today at michigannature.org!

MNA’s Guide to Gifts for Nature – Part II

Give the Gift of Nature

mna logo with red bow

Give to nature and know you are making a real and lasting impact for Michigan’s rare, threatened and endangered species and imperiled natural communities.
Your contribution will be put to work immediately to safeguard important natural areas, restore critical habitat, and connect young people to nature.
65th anniversary logo
An easy and convenient way to help protect our natural heritage and spread your gift out over a period of time.
good kid picture
Check with your tax advisor about potential tax savings with a gift of appreciated stocks, bond or other securities to MNA.
zKarner1.KarnerMNA.MarilynKeigley 2
If your New Year’s resolution includes estate planning and a desire to leave a lasting legacy for nature, contact Garret Johnson, (866) 223-2231 or gjohnson@michigannature.org, for a confidential conversation about becoming an MNA Guardian of the Future.
BareBluffCCRoverlook by Kelly Ramstack 2
Watch for more giving ideas throughout the month!
Donate today at michigannature.org!

MNA’s Guide to Gifts for Nature – Part I

Give the Gift of Nature to Friends & Family

mna logo with red bow

For meaningful gifts that make a real difference for Michigan’s rare plants and animals, look no further!
Lucky recipients will receive a full year of Michigan Nature magazine, opportunities for free email updates with the latest nature news, and invitations to hikes, tours and exciting events in 2018.
two magazine covers
Donate a gift of any amount to honor someone on your list or to remember a loved one.
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A great stocking stuffer for animal lovers of all ages – a beautiful certificate features one of six important Michigan species and identifies the holder as a proud sponsor of Michigan nature.
Give to Michigan Species Image
Your gift will support our environmental education programs. You can help inspire a lifelong love of nature in children – our next generation of caretakers of the natural world.
Deb Iwema's class 2
Watch for more giving ideas throughout the month!
Donate today at michigannature.org!


Give to Michigan Species this Holiday Season!

Give to Michigan Species Image

This holiday season why not Give to Turtles or other special animals found in Michigan? You can show your support with a $10 gift to the Michigan Nature Association. In return, we’ll send you a certificate identifying the holder (add your name or someone on your gift list) as a proud sponsor of Michigan nature. The certificate, 8 ½” by 11” and suitable for framing, includes a photo of an important animal found in Michigan and is accompanied by a fact sheet with great information about that species.

Order online for the holidays by December 18 at http://michigannature.iescentral.com/donations/Give-to-Michigan-Animals or pay by mail and send in this order form. Choose the animal(s) you would like on the order form or let us choose for you. Order forms can be mailed to the MNA office or emailed to Jess at jfoxen@michigannature.org.

Makes a great stocking stuffer for kids, grandkids, and nature lovers of all ages! Proceeds support MNA’s mission to protect rare, threatened and endangered species in Michigan.

Animals to choose from:

Karner blue butterfly
Karner Blue Butterfly

Monarch Butterfly

Box Turtle
Eastern Box Turtle


lake sturgeon
Lake Sturgeon

Eastern Massasauga Rattlesnake

2017 Photo Contest Winners Announced!

Congratulations to our 2017 Photo Contest winners! Thank you to everyone that submitted a photo – we had many great options to choose from! Photos were submitted in three categories: Flora & Fauna, Landscapes, and People in Nature in order to capture Michigan’s natural beauty.

Grand Prize Winner!
“Lower Tahquamenon Falls” by Deb Traxinger

Overall Winner - Traxinger, Deb - Lower Tahquamenon Falls

Flora & Fauna

First Place:
“Singing Swallows” by Margaret Weber

Second Place:
“Redbud Romance” by Dustyn Blindert

Third Place:
“Karner Blue Butterfly” at MNA’s Karner Blue Nature Sanctuary in Newaygo County by Randy Butters

Honorable Mention:
“Flower & Fungi” at MNA’s Trillium Ravine Nature Sanctuary in Berrien County by Ellen Stevens


First Place:
“Huron” by Nathan Miller

Second Place:
“Lost Lake” by Ellen Wexler

Third Place:
“Sunrise at Seney” by Todd Maertz

Honorable Mention:
“Fairyland Meadow” by Virginia McClellan

People in Nature

First Place:
“5 Star Cuisine” by Alex Maier

Second Place:
“Pictured Rocks Kayakers” by Tom Ala

Third Place:
“Best Friends” by Ellen Wexler

Honorable Mention:
“Exploring with Pop” by Susan Cobb