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Milestones

2015
COL acquires its tenth nature preserve, Jens Jensen Preserve, 23 acres of high-quality woodland in Sawyer. COL also completes the 32-acre Tower Hill conservation easement also in Sawyer, just north of Jens Jensen, in partnership with the Deer Creek Open Space Association and Southwest Michigan Land Conservancy.

2014
COL moves into new offices, granted by The Pokagon Fund, on Red Arrow Highway in Sawyer. In March, COL is the first land conservancy in the State of Michigan to be granted renewal of accreditation by the Land Trust Accreditation Commission.

COL completes two conservation easements, its first farmland preservation project in Chikaming Township, and its largest ever land protection project, 304 acres in Berrien Township. COL also acquires its ninth preserve, Flynn Woods, and acquires additional land to extend The Woods Preserve.

2013
COL acquires additional land to extend Critter Haven Preserve and completes one conservation easement.

2012
COL acquires Critter Haven Preserve and Burns Prairie Preserve, as well as one conservation easement.

2011
COL acquires Dayton Wet Prairie Preserve as a transfer from The Nature Conservancy, as well as The Woods Preserve. Additionally, COL completes two conservation easements, and is awarded a three-year, $900,000 matching grant from The Pokagon Fund for land conservation projects in New Buffalo, Chikaming and Three Oaks Townships.

2010
COL successfully rallies support with its first Barn Benefit at the home of Stan and Ann Dudley Goldblatt.

2009
COL acquires Grand Beach Marsh Preserve and Robinson Woods Preserve through transfers from The Nature Conservancy, and completes one conservation easement.

2008
COL completes eight conservation easements, It also becomes one of the first 39 land trusts in the country to be accredited by the Land Trust Accreditation Commission, an independent program of the Land Trust Alliance.

2007
COL completes nine conservation easements.

2006
COL completes two conservation easements.

2005
COL hires its first employee, a Land Protection Specialist. COL is awarded a 3-year grant from the Michigan Department of Environmental Quality totaling $1,054,000 in an effort to improve the water quality of the Galien River watershed.

2004
COL purchases a building in Lakeside, which is rehabbed and becomes the office. Additionally, COL completes its first conservation easement.

2003
COL is awarded a $3,500 grant from the Berrien Community Foundation to hire a botanist who will create a natural features survey of the Louis J. Sima Great Lakes Marsh.

2002
As a community partner and advocate for parks, recreation and open space, COL helps raise over $230,000 for the acquisition of the 267-acre Chikaming Township Park and Preserve. Additionally and with the generosity of the Sima family of New Buffalo, COL acquires the156-acre Louis J. Sima Great Lakes Marsh Preserve.

2001
Chikaming Open Lands records its first fee-owned property, the Eleanor O'Connor Wilson Woods Preserve, a 5-acre parcel for the purpose of protecting a high quality dune forest in Chikaming Township.

2000
Peter Van Nice becomes the first president of the Board of Directors and the organization gains its 501(c)(3) status.

1999
Chikaming Open Lands is incorporated on December 11, 1999, by founding members Peter and Jeanie Van Nice and Steve and Jean Smith.