About Chikaming Open Lands

Chikaming Open Lands (COL) is a 501 (c) (3) non-profit conservation organization working to preserve and protect open spaces in southern Berrien County. We are dedicated to protect and restore native plant and animal habitat in the area, improve water quality in our rivers, streams, throughout the Galien River watershed and in Lake Michigan. We permanently protect ecologically significant forests, prairies and wetlands, as well as prime farmland and other open spaces in this community. 

Chikaming Open Lands is governed by a dedicated Board of Directors, operated by professional staff, and works with a dedicated group of volunteers.

Our History

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 nonprofit land conservancy

The organization has grown from an all-volunteer organization to now employ multiple dedicated full-time staff and has over 500 household donors whose contributions support our mission of local land protection. To date we have over 2,000 acres protected and growing in our services area. 

COL is an accredited land conservancy, we work to earn the mark of distinction and we meet the high standards for land conservation. Our seal of accreditation offers the assurance that as a land conservancy we can keep the promise of perpetuity that is worthy of the public trust. in 2014, COL became the first land conservancy in the State of Michigan to be granted renewal of accreditation by the Land Trust Accreditation Commission.


Our Work

COL works with land-owners, local municipalities, state and federal organizations, partners with local businesses and other non-profit organizations to provide direction and input in local conservation protection. Our work and collaboration with other organizations and community members has a positive impact of our protected properties and systematically ensures long term sustainability for COL.

Our Vision.

COL envisions a southwest Michigan that is environmentally healthy, economically vibrant, and naturally beautiful.