Encore Magazine May 2021

Page 11

ENCORE FIVE FAVES

Wolf Tree Nature Trails 8000 block of West KL Avenue, Kalamazoo

Here you can wander through a tallgrass prairie dotted with

Wau-Ke-Na, William Erby Smith Preserve South and North Tracts 1500-1900 block of Lakeshore Drive, Fennville

You know summer is here when you stand in an ocean of grass and flowers at Wau-Ke-Na, William Erby Smith Preserve’s South Tract with your face to the sky and green scents on the soft breeze. All around, birds sing love songs and throw insults at one another. The season’s first dragonflies go zigzagging by on urgent insect errands. You can stretch your legs on the preserve’s long trails, but eventually the hot sun may send you back to your car for a short drive up the road to the North Tract. Here, a shady path through the woods leads to a small Lake Michigan beach. The waves are a whisper on an early summer day and, for the moment, all is right with the world. — Amelia Hansen, Communications Specialist About the Authors

the yellow, purple and white blossoms of native wildflowers and fluttering with visiting butterflies, dragonflies, and gently buzzing bees. You can duck under a cool canopy of towering oak trees that rise from the ancient depressions, or “kettles,” left by retreating glaciers tens of thousands of years ago. Wolf Tree’s rare black oak savanna offers glimpses of many native species of plants and insects as well as native and migratory birds like indigo buntings and blue-winged warblers. Located just west of Kalamazoo in Oshtemo Township with approximately two miles of trails, Wolf Tree is the perfect place for a fun and relaxing summer walk for you, for kids and even for dogs (on leash, of course). — C. Miko Dargitz, Development Associate

The Southwest Michigan Land Conservancy staff works with dedicated volunteers and willing landowners to protect endangered and threatened habitats and species, rural character and open space, agriculture and passive recreation, and extraordinary vistas in nine counties of Southwest Michigan. Since its inception in 1991, the conservancy has protected more than 15,000 acres of dunes, wetlands, forests, savannas, prairies, farms and vineyards that give our region its distinctive character. Learn more at swmlc.org.

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