We save nature & you can too
Safeguarding Michigan's natural beauty and the conservation values of our most important lands since 1972
Land conservancies, also known as land trusts, are community-based, nonprofit organizations dedicated to the permanent protection and stewardship of natural and working lands for the public good.
Find links to environmental education within our community, news and DIY section.
Director of Donor Engagement--
A new position
Blue Heron Headwaters Conservancy, located in Clarkston, Michigan, seeks a full-time dedicated fundraiser to join the committed staff.
Director of Donor Engagement
Stewardship Employee --
Cut and treat woody invasive brush and trees on conservancy property trail maintenance; sign construction and placement; boundary marking; and other maintenance activities on properties in a six-township area.
How Do I Get Involved?
“How wonderful it is that nobody need wait a single moment before starting to improve the world.” –Anne Frank
Become part of our growing team-
Restore protected property
Repair & maintenance of public spaces
Seed collection and distribution
Office work/home work
50 Years of Conservation - So Many Stories to Tell
development and agricultural spraying took away the habitat and acted as a neurotoxin. The
population plummeted until there were only two places left in the world where they could be
found by scientists sweeping the landscape with butterfly nets. The conservancy has purchased
appropriate fen (wetland) habitat where zoo-reared butterflies can be reintroduced to keep the
species from going extinct. Our job is to make sure the plant life and hydrology stays the same
and continues to provide what the skipperling and other rare species need.
power. Water power is not greatly needed now and old dams remain and slowly decay.
Removal is one option. Protecting the downstream area is another option. The Village of Holly
has taken that option and preserved the water absorbing wetlands downstream with a
conservation easement to our conservancy. Should the dam rupture, there is enough
preserved floodplain to hold the increased water level without damage to man-made
structures. The conservation easement prevents building on this sensitive area.
wetland fill by preserving 20 times that amount of high quality wetland elsewhere within the
watershed. Our conservancy entered an agreement to protect the marshy area near Buckhorn
Creek in perpetuity upon receiving the EGLE-brokered purchase of this land. That portion of
Rose Township was under threat of fragmented development, so the possibility of preserving
the area using the fines imposed on the big-box retailer was a great opportunity. Since
acquiring the land, the conservancy has completed a species inventory, removed invasive
bushes and vines in the upland portion and replanted with native trees and flowers.
form the river’s beginnings in several places. In 1985, forty acres located at the furthest
northwest extent of the watershed was donated to the conservancy. Every year the Clinton
River Watershed Council tests the stream within this preserve. Consistently it rates as the
highest quality site in the entire watershed. The conservancy helps maintain stream quality by
preserving the woods which cool the water. It also maintains a wide buffer which prevents
nearby homes from introducing pollutants such as septage, lawn fertilizer, insecticides and de- icing products.
homeowner who had survived the horrors of the Holocaust. He negotiated a life estate
agreement in which the land was given to the conservancy, but he and his wife were allowed to
live out their life there undisturbed. A further benefit was that he was relieved of property
taxation as the conservancy was the actual owner and it was excused from taxation by law.
Upon his death, the conservancy retained an easement on the land and sold the house to a
young buyer who also valued the private woodland setting.
their acreage to builders. When Camp Wathana was teetering the edge of closing, the
conservancy negotiated to buy a conservation easement over all 250 acres. Neighbors and
donors raised $150,000 which helped keep the camp afloat. Renovation of the camp buildings
was allowed, a portion of the forest was set aside for income producing timbering, and normal
operation of the camping program for boys and girls was allowed to continue in the terms of
the easement. The conservancy retained a bog, a lake, a watershed outlet, open fields, acres of
trees and a permanently open space in the heart of Rose Township, not to mention natural lake
frontage and significant wetlands.
right to build condos, provided 8 acres was donated to the local conservancy. We accepted the
land despite its poor condition and set about restoring it to the type of prairie that existed
there before the settlement era. Little blue stem grass has begun resprouting from the “seed
bank.” A walking trail has been laid out and volunteers have cleared trash and re-seeded with
native prairie plants. It a few years it will flourish with pollinator plants and insect loving birds,
all part of the food web typical of the prairies that dotted southern Michigan in the early
1800’s. A few rarities will also be encouraged and visible from busy I-75 as cars whiz by.
purchased 20 acres of the highest area, built a home and began donating easements to the
conservancy bit by bit. As a pilot, Tom Hall knew that the summit—a kame created in glacial
times—was the highest point north of Detroit. Before the forest grew in height, Detroit’s
buildings were visible on a clear day. The Halls have always welcomed neighbors to walk the
trails on this remarkable property.
Township at Shiawassee Lake. The conservancy had the opportunity to preserve part of this
lake as well as 60 acres of mature forest when Springfield Township negotiated with the
developer to retain open space in return for higher density of housing. In fall, the lake is a stop-
over for migrating waterfowl. In winter it remains open due to the surrounding wetlands. In
spring and summer it feeds the river with clear water nourishing valuable wetlands downstream.
stormwater collection was a less expensive way of managing excess water. He was also a
member of our conservancy and so negotiated a joint easement on Liberty Golf Course to
collect, infiltrate and direct rainwater from Spring Lake south to the wetland surrounding the
Waterford Sportsman's Club and thence into Woodhull Lake, part of the Clinton River.
Augmenting this tributary to the Clinton River saved the township money while preserving a
natural hydrologic feature of the landscape.
bulldozing trees, trucking in sand for traps and terraforming the landscape into tees and
bunkers. The wetland surrounding Sashabaw Creek was not touched, however. When
permission was granted to build homes instead, EGLE insisted on restoration of 20 of the acres.
The new owner worked with the conservancy to take steps to transform the land. We conducted controlled burns, re-seeded open areas, removed the buckthorn invasion and routed
the waterflow from across the street through a wetland to filter out sedimentation and
pollutants before it entered the creek. A rich variety of plant life returned and attracted insects and birds to take up residence.
and the needs of human residents. The conservancy had held an easement on a development
built around wetlands when beavers took up residence. For a while, homeowners enjoyed the
wildlife and had no complaints. As the beavers increased the height of their dam, basement
flooding looked imminent. The conservancy installed a “beaver deceiver” through the dam and
below the water’s surface which partially drained the beaver’s lake and lowered the lake level.
The beavers were “deceived” because they could not hear the trickle of running water, a sound
which triggers beavers to greater dam-building activity. The conservancy continues to watch
over the tenuous balance, while homeowners look out on a wetland with eagles, otters and
Wedneday May 24
Join Blue Heron Headwaters, an unique opportunity to tour the Voorheis-Beardsley Nature Trail under a night sky. We will be observing and identifying nocturnal insects using a moth attractor.
More than 50 species available
10am - 4pm
Neiman's Family Market Parking Lot