Quick backstory on me...my parents were hippies. Like attended Woodstock and lived on a hippie commune hippies. They would tell me stories about how they would protest for hours to preserve local natural habitats, locking arms and refusing to back down until their voices were heard. My father was also a draft resister during the Vietnam War...but that's a story for another day. Thanks to them, when I'm looking for things to do,  I gravitate towards visiting nature preserves and nature trails. And it looks like some nature loving locals just secured even more options right here in Kalamazoo.

Recently, Mlive.com reported that a 12 acre piece of land will remain open to the public thanks to efforts by the Kalamazoo community. Unfortunately, it's subscriber only so I wasn't able to read the story but it led me to research exactly what they're talking about.

It turns out, this story started in 2019 when a 12 acre piece of wooded property next door to Kleinstuck Preserve was listed for sale for commercial development. You can see the diagram below.

Image may contain: text that says 'INDIANA KAZOO SCHOOL CHERRY ST HUDSON STEARNS YMCA PEELER + X ZION CHURCH KLEINSTUCK PRESERVE FOREST GLEN 2000 HUDSON PROPERTY SUNSET X DR SPRINGHILL INKSTER x WESTCHESTER BLVD BRONSON NEIGHBORHOOD EDGEMOOR WILSHIRE BLVD EDGEMOOR BRONSON BLVD NEIGHBORHOOD ACCESS POINT WILL BE LOST IF PROPERTY IS SOLD'

That's when the Stewards of Kleinstuck Preserve come in. Starting in 2007, the Stewards of Kleinstuck formed with a group of neighbors and community members that wanted to preserve local ecosystems to benefit not just the wildlife but the community too. You can read their full origin story here.

Fundraising efforts began with a goal of $250,000 that would allow the Stewards of Kleinstuck to "Keep Kalamazoo Wild" and to purchase and preserve this 12 acre piece of property. I'm happy to say that it looks like those fundraising efforts paid off.

According to a recent Facebook post, enough funds were raised to allow the Stewards of Kleinstuck to buy that property and prevent it from being turned into...what? Condos? Another strip mall? Were they going to pave paradise to put up a parking lot? Whatever the plan was, I'm thrilled to have another area where I can get out of my house, safely, and appreciate this beauty of a place I now call home. And that's thanks to YOU. *virtual high five*

While the purchase of the land is complete, they still haven't hit their goal of $250,000 which will help them continue to preserve the land. If you'd like to donate there are a few different ways to do so. You can donate monetarily here or purchase some merch like a "Keep Kalamazoo Wild" hoodie, vinyl sticker, t-shirt, canvas bag, or beanie (just to name a few) here

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