About Chikaming Open Lands
Chikaming Open Lands (COL) is the local land conservancy dedicated to preserving the open spaces and natural rural character of southern Berrien County. We protect and restore native plant and animal habitat, improve water quality in our lakes, streams, and rivers, and permanently preserve ecologically significant forests, prairies, and wetlands, as well as farmland and other open spaces in our community.
Chikaming Open Lands is governed by a volunteer Board of Directors, managed by a professional staff, and works with a dedicated group of volunteers.
In 1999, a small group of concerned community members saw the drastically changing area and decided to become more involved in community planning by incorporating Chikaming Open Lands as a 501(c)(3) nonprofit land conservancy.
The organization has grown from an all-volunteer organization to employing a full-time staff with hundreds of donors and supporters. To date, we have protected over 2,000 acres of natural areas, farmland, and open space in Berrien County.
COL is an accredited member of the Land Trust Alliance, the national association of land trusts. First awarded in 2008, accreditation ensures the organization meets the highest national standards for excellence, strong ethical practices, and conservation permanence.
Working with landowners, conservation partners, local municipalities, state and federal agencies, and other nonprofit organizations, we seek to have a positive impact on conservation and protection of land and natural resources in our region. Through the support of and collaboration with our local communities, we protect native plants and animals, promote public health, support the local economy, and preserve these unique spaces for generations to come.