How We Work

A Whole Systems Approach

The Great Lakes ecosystem defines the natural communities and species of Michigan, and is critical to maintaining the function, health, and resiliency of our natural resources. It also drives the regional economy and provides endless opportunities for human recreation. However, the ecological health of the Great Lakes is at risk. Habitat loss, incompatible land use, changes in hydrology, and invasive species all present unprecedented challenges across Michigan and the Great Lakes Basin.

Successfully combating these challenges requires strategic plans of action, cooperative and committed partnerships across geo-political boundaries, and an ability to adapt according to changing conditions. The Nature Conservancy in Michigan, in conjunction with the Great Lakes Project, is applying these principles across six strategic conservation areas:

In these areas and in other priority locations across Michigan, the Conservancy is employing a full suite of tools—including Science, Protection, Natural Areas Restoration, and Policy and Outreach—to help restore and maintain a Great Lakes ecosystem that will sustain a wide diversity of plant and animal life and support the needs of people for generations to come.


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This Land is your Land, Michigan

The Conservancy has purchased and transferred more than 52,000 acres to public lands in Michigan.

Published Scientific Reports

From inventorying Great Lakes islands to studying the effectiveness of land protection for aquatic systems, research conducted and communicated by Conservancy scientists help inform others working on conservation issues.

Do you want to partner with the Conservancy to do research on our preserves? If you are a professor or student at an academic institution and would like to help The Nature Conservancy discover answers to Conservation Science research questions, please fill out a research application. Download

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Volunteer Are you a student looking to gain experience and college credit at the same time? Apply to be an intern at The Nature Conservancy! Contact Melissa Molenda at

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