Expanding Protection at Carlton Lake Wetlands

Last year MNA added 120 acres to Carlton Lake Wetlands Nature Sanctuary in Chippewa County. This addition solved MNA’s most serious and longstanding sanctuary access issue! Previously, access to this sanctuary was a long and cumbersome trek starting with a rugged drive, followed by a lengthy canoe ride to finally reach the entrance of the sanctuary. Now guests can access the sanctuary year-round on foot. Thanks to this land acquisition, Carlton Lake Wetlands Nature Sanctuary expanded to 520 acres!
S. Laier
While valuable as an access acquisition in its own right, the parcel is significant as part of the overall wetland complex. The wetlands are largely comprised of emergent and submergent marsh, northern shrub thicket, and rich conifer swamp. Some of the uplands include boreal forest and mesic northern forest. Northern wet meadow and northern fen is also found on the Carlton Lake Wetlands addition. The property is very promising to see Calypso orchids and other unique plants.

Due to the large scale of this wetland complex and its location within the migratory flyway between the Straits of Mackinac and mainland Canada, a great diversity of birds have been seen using this sanctuary. This addition provides significant wetland habitat utilized by secretive marsh birds and flocks of migratory waterfowl, including black tern, sedge wren, blackburnian warbler, and spotted sandpiper. The Carlton Lake Wetlands Nature Sanctuary addition also hosts beaver, bear, large canids, deer, and grouse populations.

This property was purchased using the MNA Revolving Fund, established to allow MNA to respond quickly when a new piece of land like this appears on the market. Donate now to replenish the Fund and protect this valuable wetland!
20170322_104238

MNA turns 65!

This year the Michigan Nature Association celebrates its 65th year of operation. What was started by Bertha Daubendiek as a bird study group in 1951 has grown to now over 170 nature sanctuaries throughout Michigan.

The bird study group was incorporated in 1952 as the St. Clair Metropolitan Beach Sanctuary Association. Two years later, the name became Macomb Nature Association, as volunteers joined and the focus of the group shifted. The Junior Nature Patrol, a club for school children, was established in 1955, and its ranks swelled to 5,000 by 1957. However, we soon realized that educational study of natural habitats was not enough; we then sought to actually purchase natural areas to protect them for future generations to enjoy. Red Wing Acres (now Louis G. Senghas Memorial) became MNA’s first sanctuary in 1960, beginning a long tradition of preservation. In 1962, we celebrated 10 years by helping bring about the banning of any drilling in all state game areas.

Red Wing Acres

Red Wing Acres

MNA continued to grow as we acquired more sanctuaries, including the first outside of St. Clair County in 1963. MNA morphed into the Eastern Michigan Nature Association in 1965. The name finally settled on what it is today in 1970, the same year we proposed and campaigned for the Natural Beauty Roads Act in Michigan, which was enacted by the Michigan Legislature. The Act, which now goes by Michigan’s Natural Beauty Roads Act of 1970, allows citizens to request protection of stretches of roads or streets that are examples of rural and community character. A four-mile stretch of Hamilton Road, near the entrance of MNA’s Julius C. and Marie Moran Peter Memorial Sanctuary, became the first Natural Beauty Road in 1971.

Peter Memorial

Julius C. and Marie Moran Peter Memorial Nature Sanctuary

The three-year-long “Save the Pines” campaign celebrated success in 1973 by purchasing the first 160 acres of what would become Estivant Pines Nature Sanctuary. Fueled by volunteers’ indignation at Universal Oil cutting down acres of this old growth white pine forest, the campaign furiously began fundraising and letter-writing in 1970 to save the forest. Also in 1973, Detroit Edison Co. proposed building two nuclear plants near Red Wings Acres, including 765,000-volt transmission lines that would run through Red Wings; after MNA objected, DTE chose to locate their plants elsewhere. Accolades for our organization came in, with Bertha receiving Michigan’s 1974 Volunteer of the Year and Detroit News’s 1979 Michiganian of the Year for her work with MNA, and the organization receiving an achievement award from the US Department of the Interior in 1980. We reached our personal goal of 50 sanctuaries in 1979. We closed out the decade by acquiring our largest property, Roach Point Nature Sanctuary, a peninsula which now boasts a whopping 763 acres of forest and Munuscong Lake shoreline. It was renamed the Schafer Family Nature Sanctuary at Roach Point in 2011 to honor the donation of time and land by the Schafer brothers, Melvin and Mason.

Roach Point

Roach Point. Photo: Jeff Ganley.

1984 saw an exciting goal achieved – every type of Michigan native tree species was now included on MNA preserves. Our 100th project, Twin Waterfalls, was initiated in 1986, and the following year, Bertha received an honorary Doctorate of Science from Adrian College.

Twin Waterfalls

Twin Waterfalls Memorial. Photo: Charles Eshbach

Big changes came in our next decade. Bertha was inducted into the Michigan Women’s Hall of Fame in 1994 and received an honorary degree from Grinnell College in 1997. Pat Grogan Orchid Bog (now Pat Grogan Shelldrake Nature Sanctuary) became our 150th sanctuary in 2000. The next year, Bertha retired from her 49-year position as a volunteer Executive Secretary, and an executive director position was created. Jeremy Emmi was hired in late 2001 and oversaw MNA for the next ten years, until Garret Johnson came in 2011. In 2002, Bertha received a lifetime achievement award from the Wildlife Habitat Council.

Bertha

Bertha receiving her honorary Grinnell degree

As our organization and the number of sanctuaries we maintained grew, we discovered we needed more help. Sherri Laier was hired in 2004 as our first stewardship director, fueled by this new level of commitment to land preservation and giving local volunteer stewards the resources needed to better protect land. One of Sherri’s most important contributions was her management of Goose Creek Nature Sanctuary, which had been overrun by invasive species. Sherri coordinated a 5 year plan to burn and spray the glossy buckthorn growing in Goose Creek, allowing endangered and rare species to grow in place of it.

Sadly, 2005 saw Bertha’s passing, marking the end of an era. We still think of her when we visit our favorite sanctuaries. On a happier note, we hit a special milestone in 2011, as we surpassed a total of 10,000 protected acres.

Bertha

MNA Founder, Bertha Daubendiek

2014 marked a big year as we received national recognition by meeting the highest standards in land conservation when we were accredited by the Land Trust Accreditation Commission, a mark of distinction that only a select group of land trusts has achieved. In 2015, the support of MNA’s members and donors allowed MNA to acquire additional land on Brockway Mountain on the Keweenaw Peninsula. It’s one of Michigan’s most iconic landscapes, and many vacationing families from across the state (and beyond) pause at the summit and gaze in wonder at the breathtaking view of Lake Superior – the largest freshwater lake on earth. Working together, MNA and the local township have now protected roughly 600 acres of contiguous land around the summit of Brockway Mountain.

Brockway Mountain

Brockway Mountain. Photo: J. Haara

Coming full circle in 2016, MNA created additional initiatives to focus on education and connecting children with nature, just like our early leaders in 1952. MNA worked with school teachers across the state to inspire children to become Michigan’s next generation of conservation leaders. Our exciting schools-to-sanctuaries initiative is one where we connect our conservation work at specific nature sanctuaries with nearby schools. MNA also launched the Environmental Education Fund to provide financial assistance to teachers across the state to help them provide school kids with first-hand opportunities to experience nature. To continue our conservation education, MNA hosted the Race for Michigan Nature, a statewide series of Family Fun Runs & 5Ks stretching from Belle Isle in Detroit to Marquette in the U.P. Each race spotlights one of Michigan’s rarest species and helps promote the importance of protecting Michigan’s remaining natural areas.

Kids Day

Kids Day in Newaygo

February 21st, 2017, was our official 65th birthday, but we are extending the party throughout the rest of the year. Join MNA at upcoming volunteer workdays, nature hikes, the Race for Michigan Nature Series, Members’ Meetings, and other events to celebrate our 65th anniversary!

Double Your Impact

Double the Impact of Your Donation!

Hurry before the 2016 tax year is over!

There is still time to make your tax-deductible gift for 2016 and have your donation matched dollar-for-dollar for the protection of Michigan’s natural heritage.

Thanks to a generous Trustee challenge grant, all gifts to MNA of $100 or more will be matched, dollar-for-dollar, up to $10,000.

All donations will provide sustainable support to help MNA acquire, protect, and maintain critical habitat for rare, threatened and endangered species throughout the year.

Double Your Impact by December 31.

Send your year-end gift in the mail today, make a secure donation online, or give us a call at (866) 223-2231.

Thank you for all that you do to help MNA build a brighter future for Michigan!

2016 Year-End Tax Treat

IRA Rollover Deadline is December 31

The IRA Charitable Rollover was made permanent last year but must be done soon to count for 2016. Take advantage of this special tax treat for the year-end giving season!

Here’s how it works:

  • People age 70 1/2 or older can make IRA transfer gifts tax-free if they are to a qualified charity like the Michigan Nature Association;
  • Gifts of up to $100,000 qualify when IRA assets are transferred directly to the charity;
  • Gifts count towards the required minimum distributions you must take annually from your traditional IRAs, but aren’t included in your adjusted gross income;
  • For married couples, each spouse can transfer up to $100,000 from their IRA.

But time for a qualifying gift for the 2016 tax year is running out. Transfers must be completed by Dec. 31, 2016 for this tax year. To make a qualifying gift to MNA for the 2016 tax year we encourage you to contact your IRA administrator while there is still time.

The IRA Charitable Rollover is permanent, so you can begin planning your 2017 tax-free gift to MNA!

Happy Holidays!

Garret Johnson

Garret Johnson
Executive Director

P.S. You can double your impact with a tax-deductible gift to protect Michigan’s rare, threatened and endangered species of $100 or more, up to $10,000, through a generous dollar-for-dollar matching challenge grant!

Donate today by visiting michigannature.org.

2016 Photo Contest Winners Announced!

Congratulations to our 2016 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!
“In Flight” at MNA’s Karner Blue Nature Sanctuary in Newaygo County by Randy Butters.

grand-winner-butters-randy-in-flight

Flora & Fauna

First Place:
“White-lined Sphinx moth” by Mary Rasmussen.

Second Place:
“Northern saw-whet owl” by Patrick Wright.

Third Place:
“Virginia Bluebells” at MNA’s Coldwater River Nature Sanctuary in Kent County by Marilyn Keigley.

Honorable Mention:
“Egret in the mist” by Deb Traxinger.

Landscapes

First Place:
“Late autumn snowstorm” at MNA’s Wilcox Warnes Memorial Nature Sanctuary in Macomb County by Jason Steel.

Second Place:
“Tannery Falls” at MNA’s Twin Waterfalls Memorial Nature Sanctuary in Alger County by Shannon Hart.

Third Place:
“Menomonee River Sunrise” by Joy Ziemnick.

Honorable Mention:
“Heron and Deer in the Fog” by Byron Drachman.

People in Nature

First Place:
“Chance Encounter” at MNA’s Newaygo Prairie by Randy Butters.

Second Place:
“Kayaking at the Sloughs” by Nathan Miller.

Third Place:
“Hiking” by Patricia Pennell.

Honorable Mention:
“Bioblitz on Lake Perrault” by Nathan Miller.

2016 Volunteer & Donor Recognition Dinner and Silent Auction

The Michigan Nature Association

cordially invites you to the:

2016 Volunteer & Donor Recognition Dinner
and Silent Auction

Friday, October 28 at 6:30 p.m.
Kellogg Hotel and Conference Center
Big Ten Room C (Lobby Level)
Michigan State University, East Lansing
219 South Harrison Road

Please join the Board of Trustees and staff for a night to honor dedicated volunteers and generous donors. Guests will have the opportunity to enjoy a delicious meal and a chance to catch up with other MNA members and supporters.

Special Guest Speaker
Dr. John Hartig
Edward G. Voss Conservation Science Award recipient
John is the Refuge Manager for the Detroit River International Wildlife Refuge. He is a highly regarded Great Lakes scientist and author of Bringing Conservation to Cities.

Silent Auction
The dinner will feature a special silent auction to benefit MNA’s Environmental Fund!

RSVP by October 21
Contact Jess Foxen at (866) 223-2231 or email jfoxen@michigannature.org.

Tickets: $30 per person
Cash bar with dinner provided by MNA.

Enter in MNA’s 2016 Photo Contest!

Do you love nature photography? Then the Michigan Nature Association is looking to showcase your photos in the sixth annual MNA Photo Contest!

2016 Photo Contest

Winners will be featured in an upcoming issue of Michigan Nature magazine and will appear in a special gallery on the MNA website. Visit the Photo Contest Gallery to see last year’s winners.

Photos can be taken anywhere in the state of Michigan, and can highlight Michigan’s natural beauty in any way. Photos will be judged in three categories: Flora & Fauna, Landscapes, and People in Nature.

To enter, download and fill out the entry form. Photos and completed forms can be emailed to michigannature@michigannature.org or mailed on a CD or flashdrive to the MNA office.

Entries must be received by September 1, 2016. 

All photos must be:
• taken in the state of Michigan.
• in one of the three categories.
• submitted with a filled-out entry form.
• submitted as a jpg, tif or gif file (photo quality of 300 dpi is preferred).
• received no later than September 1, 2016.

We look forward to seeing your favorite parts of nature and some of Michigan’s best flora, fauna and landscapes through your lens!