Have you ever been driving down a road and come to a place where the trees enclose the road? They are tall, fully leafed and feel as though they are welcoming you along your journey, possibly even causing you to slow your pace a little. 

Then, you come to a place along that same road where the trees have been cleared, possibly in the distant past, or even recently. Have you ever noticed how you feel when you encounter this space where the forest once lived?

Next time you are out driving, walking, cycling or riding along a roadway, just notice what is the nature of the nature around you, is it lush and full? Has it been cleared, trimmed, maintained or cut? Notice how this feels as you observe these spaces, the wild spaces, the tamed spaces. 

There is a 28 acre forest next to my little homestead. It is bordered by the I-94 corridor on the West and us with our neighbors to the East. I always said I should buy it and work to preserve it, as soon as I moved into this place, I knew how important it was. It offers a wild place for the variety of animals living here, there are hawks nesting, deer, woodchuck, countless small creatures, crawdads in the Ox Creek that runs through it. There are trees in this place that I cannot know the age of, but I know that my 6-foot arm span can only reach about 1/3 of the way around. 

This parcel has gone on the market. It is being offered as an income property for the value of the timber on the land. My heart aches because I do not have the funds to purchase and protect it. There must be a way to protect these woods. This forest is a piece of all of us. 

I have reached out to The Nature Conservancy, our family (my parents) has contributed thousands over the years, and they said it was too small and not in an area they are actively working in. It’s in Benton Harbor, Michigan. They pointed me to SW Michigan Land Conservancy, but they do not purchase properties, they only support donations of land and conservation easements. I am now reaching out to Chikaming Open Lands, though it is north of their working area, I am hopeful that we can find a way. 

So here I am, late on writing my June blog post with a heavy, hopeful heart. It is heavy because I am feeling so alone and not sure where to turn to find the help needed to protect and preserve this place. It is hopeful because I have not given up and will continue to ask for help to purchase the parcel, to protect the forest, to preserve this small plot of wilderness. 

I am open and asking, if you feel called to help, let’s find a way. 

The best way to reach me is by text or phone at 269 363 9721 

Much love, Karen Joy

nature around you
nature around you