Why Preserve Land?
The landscape in southern Berrien County has changed drastically over the last two centuries. Nonetheless, it retains a unique and beautiful flavor: white-sand beaches as far as the eye can see, tall sand dunes overlooking Lake Michigan, forests harboring songbirds and wildflowers, and peaceful streams stretching many miles. We at Chikaming Open Lands cherish these natural features.
Many stressors threaten our natural areas, chief among them being land development, invasive species, and climate change. Thus, Chikaming Open Lands actively works to minimize these threats and preserve natural areas in their present state by protecting the land from development, removing invasives, and restoring the habitat in a climate-resilient manner.
Our land preservation is motivated by several factors including a desire to protect native plants and animals, promote public health, support the local economy, and share these unique spaces with future generations. Aldo Leopold, an American conservationist, once wrote "When we see land as a community to which we belong, we may begin to use it with love and respect." We preserve the land because we know that our lives and livelihoods are dependent on healthy land and water. To date, Chikaming Open Lands has preserved land throughout southern Berrien County.