Coastline at Whitefish Point.
Whitefish Point (ALL RIGHTS GRANTED TNC, CREDIT MANDATORY) Whitefish Point. © Jason Whalen/Big Foot Media © Jason Whalen/Big Foot Media

Michigan

Michigan - It's in Our Nature

Our Campaign For Conservation

Photo of Director of Development Jeremy Wittrock
Jeremy Wittrock Director of Development © Matthew Mitchell

A Big Win For Conservation

Here at The Nature Conservancy in Michigan, we want to take a moment to celebrate the successes of the past six years—successes that happened because of you. While 2020 has brought new challenges that each of us is learning to navigate and adapt to, I’m both heartened and humbled by the depth of the commitment that TNC’s supporters have show...

Here at The Nature Conservancy in Michigan, we want to take a moment to celebrate the successes of the past six years—successes that happened because of you. While 2020 has brought new challenges that each of us is learning to navigate and adapt to, I’m both heartened and humbled by the depth of the commitment that TNC’s supporters have shown to conserving Michigan’s lands and waters.  

That’s why gratitude is at the forefront of my thoughts as we close this incredibly successful campaign. I’m grateful for all of you—everyone who’s made a gift to see nature and people thrive in Michigan, from kids sending saved-up coins, to folks joining or renewing their membership, to long-time supporters making larger campaign commitments. Every one of you has taken action for nature and conservation, and made great things happen as a result.

The work we do at TNC in Michigan, we do for all, together. Michigan: It’s in Our Nature.

In the future I hope to look back on this year, despite its challenges, as a beginning—a new decade, a great new chapter for conservation in Michigan. Thanks to you, it’s possible. 

In Gratitude,

Jeremy Wittrock
Director of Development 

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Michigan: It's In Our Nature By The Numbers

  • Icon of a dollar note

    $100M

    Together we raised over $100M for conservation

  • Icon of a globe

    28,000

    We grew the TNC community to over 28,000 members

  • Icon of a pine tree

    252

    We welcomed 252 new Legacy Club Members

  • Icon of present in gift wrap

    80

    80 donors made transformational contributions

The Impact of Your Giving

Michigan, in the heart of the Great Lakes, has an incredible natural legacy. The Nature Conservancy in Michigan is hard at work to preserve that legacy, taking on the tough issues facing conservation today—from water quality to species loss—to achieve a sustainable future for people and nature. Among those who have been most important to making that legacy possible are generous supporters like the Herbert H. and Grace A. Dow Foundation and Stephen and Bobbi Polk: donors whose unrestricted gifts allowed TNC to easily direct funding to the areas of greatest need.

The depth and breadth of TNC’s impact highlight the importance and extraordinary reach of unrestricted funding. TNC advances our conservation mission globally through the efforts of a dedicated staff that includes more than 4,000 people working in 79 countries and territories and all 50 United States. Our work is strengthened by the support of more than 1 million members, a far-reaching network of conservation leaders and our many partners. This substantial expertise backs all our work here in Michigan and the Great Lakes. 

Over nearly 40 years in Michigan, TNC has protected more than 389,000 acres of lands, hundreds of inland lakes and many miles of rivers; transformed how Michigan’s lands and waters are used; and inspired the change needed to safeguard our home’s natural abundance in perpetuity. Here, we put our science-based, inclusive and solution-oriented approach to work—and unrestricted gifts play a fundamental role in our success. Donors trust us with unrestricted gifts because we make careful use of our resources, consistently receiving high charity ratings from charity watchdog organizations, including the Better Business Bureau (BBB) Wise Giving Alliance and the American Institute of Philanthropy. TNC has also been recognized for our commitment to integrity and ethical practices by the Ethisphere Institute, a global leader in defining and advancing the standards of ethical business practices.We seek to make good use of every single dollar donated to TNC, with careful attention to impact and efficiency.

When our supporters give to TNC, it is a valued sign of your confidence in our work. Thanks to the faith that all of our donors put in TNC, we are empowered to address the most urgent crises facing nature in Michigan and ensure its health and vitality for generations to come.

A forest tree line in autumn.
Wilderness Lakes in Autumn Autumn at Wilderness Lakes Reserve in Baraga County, Upper Peninsula of Michigan. © Dietrich Ludwig
Sun shines through a tree line.
McMahon Lake Preserve Forest Forest at McMahon Lake Preserve. © Jason Whalen/Big Foot Media
Red leaves on white bark trees
Two Hearted River Forest Reserve The purchase of 23,338 acres in the Two-Hearted watershed is part of TNC's larger Northern Great Lakes Forest Project. © Ron Leonetti
A wooded path
Two Hearted River Forest Two Hearted River Forest Reserve in Michigan's Upper Peninsula. © Richard Baumer
Wilderness Lakes
Wilderness Lakes Reserve One of more than 20 lakes at Wilderness Lakes Reserve in the Michigamme Highlands region of Michigan's Upper Peninsula. © Dietrich Ludwig
Wilderness lakes
Echo Lake Preserve View of Echo Lake Preserve in Michigan's Upper Peninsula near Marquette. © Dick Huey
Outdoor recreators enjoy kayaking and a bike bridge
Chris Cantway of TNC kneels and poses with a fallen log
Two Hearted Forest Restoration TNC staff measure and record vegetation information as part of restoration efforts in the Two Hearted River Forest Reserve. © TNC
A forest scientist surveying land
A man stands ready with a team a pack mules
Mule Pack-String Two U..S. Forest Service pack-strings were utilized to assist with a boardwalk project in Michigan's remote McCormick Wilderness Area. © TNC/Kim Steinberger
Sun shines through a tree line.
McMahon Lake Preserve Forest Forest at McMahon Lake Preserve. © Jason Whalen/Big Foot Media

We all know our forests in Michigan provide multiple benefits, from wildlife habitat and clean water to recreation and the raw materials to build our homes. Forests also store massive amounts of carbon. Science shows that as the climate changes, forestlands offer a natural climate solution that can offset significant amounts of the carbon that humans put into the atmosphere. TNC is helping forestland owners and managers improve their forestry practices to make Michigan’s forests healthier, which in turn makes them more efficient carbon “sinks.”

Red leaves on white bark trees
Two Hearted River Forest Reserve The purchase of 23,338 acres in the Two-Hearted watershed is part of TNC's larger Northern Great Lakes Forest Project. © Ron Leonetti

This allows all of us to benefit from what our forests provide, while helping these vital lands become more resilient in the face of diseases, pests and a rapidly changing climate. Nothing illustrates this work better than TNC’s first forest reserve in Michigan—the Two Hearted River Forest Reserve—which was designated a “Model Forest” by the Forest Stewards Guild in 2016.

A wooded path
Two Hearted River Forest Two Hearted River Forest Reserve in Michigan's Upper Peninsula. © Richard Baumer

Here, we are demonstrating forest management practices that support biodiversity and forest health as well as the local economy, while increasing the amount of carbon storage in the forest. Timber harvested from this reserve was even used for the NCAA basketball championship court floors in 2017, highlighting the importance of sustainable forestry to an audience of millions!

Wilderness Lakes
Wilderness Lakes Reserve One of more than 20 lakes at Wilderness Lakes Reserve in the Michigamme Highlands region of Michigan's Upper Peninsula. © Dietrich Ludwig

In 2017, TNC also acquired Wilderness Lakes Reserve: over 6,000 acres of spectacular Upper Peninsula forests interspersed with beautiful wetlands and 26 glacial lakes, a stunning example of the region’s vast and wild landscapes. This achievement was made possible by the generosity of over a dozen individuals and foundations, including contributions by the John Arthur Woollam Foundation and Karen and Don Stearns, that ultimately met a fundraising need of over $15,000,000.

Wilderness lakes
Echo Lake Preserve View of Echo Lake Preserve in Michigan's Upper Peninsula near Marquette. © Dick Huey

TNC is protecting places like this, and nearby preserves like the Barbara L. Piper Preserve and Echo Lake Preserve, to help create a network of resilient and connected forests across the U.P.’s Michigamme Highlands. But TNC’s goals extend beyond our network of preserves and reserves to keeping all of Michigan’s forests healthy and productive.

Outdoor recreators enjoy kayaking and a bike bridge

One important tool we are helping forestland owners take advantage of is carbon markets. A sustainably managed forest stores more carbon than is removed through traditional timber harvests. “Carbon credits” representing this additional stored carbon can be sold to offset carbon emissions elsewhere, generating funds that can be reinvested in keeping that forest intact and thriving while ultimately slowing the rate of climate change caused by greenhouse gases.

Chris Cantway of TNC kneels and poses with a fallen log
Two Hearted Forest Restoration TNC staff measure and record vegetation information as part of restoration efforts in the Two Hearted River Forest Reserve. © TNC

We are demonstrating the potential of U.P. forests to sequester more carbon across our working forest reserves. An estimated 219,000 additional metric tons of carbon will be stored at Wilderness Lakes Reserve due to the changes we have made in forest management practices there. And, in 2019, we initiated the process of enrolling our Two Hearted River Forest and Mulligan Highlands Reserves in carbon markets as well.

A forest scientist surveying land

Sustainable forest management on these reserves will allow an additional 800,000 metric tons of carbon to be sequestered and stored across 30,000 acres. We are using what we learn from this effort to help other forestland owners, including the State of Michigan, shift their forest management strategies to better protect forests while sustainably producing the raw materials society needs and combating climate change.

A man stands ready with a team a pack mules
Mule Pack-String Two U..S. Forest Service pack-strings were utilized to assist with a boardwalk project in Michigan's remote McCormick Wilderness Area. © TNC/Kim Steinberger

The acquisition of Wilderness Lakes Reserve and expansion of “climate-smart” forestry practices are therefore significant conservation wins during this campaign—achievements that capture TNC’s focus on multilateral benefits for biodiversity, local economies, cleaner air and water and a brighter future, as we grow more resilient, together.

Photo of Barbara Piper standing against a tree

Barbara Piper

Barbara Piper, a longstanding supporter, donated her beloved cabin and acreage of old growth trees at Deer Lake in the U.P. to TNC in 2019. This 234-acre property will now provide a haven for migratory songbirds and other wildlife among its beech and hemlock forests, as a TNC nature preserve in perpetuity. 

Why? “Becau...

Barbara Piper, a longstanding supporter, donated her beloved cabin and acreage of old growth trees at Deer Lake in the U.P. to TNC in 2019. This 234-acre property will now provide a haven for migratory songbirds and other wildlife among its beech and hemlock forests, as a TNC nature preserve in perpetuity. 

Why? “Because nature is green! Green is peaceful, green is a calming color, green is restful and agreeable, green is being able to sit in the woods and let the world disappear for a while. The world needs more ‘green!’ And maybe others will find the same solace that I did: marvel at the old growth trees, listen to the birds, hear the barred owls calling, sit by the little waterfalls and think of nothing. We are here but a brief time, but nature endures.” — Barbara Piper

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Photo of Karen and Don Stearns on a trail
Wagner Lake is one of 26 lakes within the Wilderness Lakes Reserve. © Jason Whalen/Big Foot Media

Karen & Don Stearns

Karen and Don Stearns have generously supported many U.P. projects over the years, including helping to ensure that TNC was able to act on the opportunity to protect Wilderness Lakes Reserve. They have also demonstrated their commitment to conservation through several types of planned gift intentions.

“Properties we've helped save in...

Karen and Don Stearns have generously supported many U.P. projects over the years, including helping to ensure that TNC was able to act on the opportunity to protect Wilderness Lakes Reserve. They have also demonstrated their commitment to conservation through several types of planned gift intentions.

“Properties we've helped save in the U.P. are still undeveloped and wild. That, for us, is a very comforting thought. We hope to preserve some of Michigan's wild places for present and future generations, and we’re glad that conservation groups like TNC are working to make that happen.” — Karen and Don Stearns

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Photo of John Woollam in a field

The John Arthur Woollam Foundation

The J.A. Woollam Foundation has played one of the most impactful roles in TNC’s land protection efforts in Michigan to date, providing incredibly important support to TNC during this campaign and beyond. In fact, the J.A. Woollam Foundation has been helping to conserve lands throughout Michigan and beyond for decades, thanks to Dr. John Wool...

The J.A. Woollam Foundation has played one of the most impactful roles in TNC’s land protection efforts in Michigan to date, providing incredibly important support to TNC during this campaign and beyond. In fact, the J.A. Woollam Foundation has been helping to conserve lands throughout Michigan and beyond for decades, thanks to Dr. John Woollam. Dr. Woollam was born and raised in Michigan where his love for its lakes, dunes, forests and streams began.

“Michigan is blessed with large, undeveloped landscapes. These special places need to be preserved—we have an obligation to protect them. TNC is really good at large-scale conservation, and I enjoy working with TNC on projects like Wilderness Lakes.” — Dr. John A. Woollam

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A man kneels in a agriculture plot to tend to his crops
Saginaw Valley Soil JASON WHALEN | Fauna Creative © Jason Whalen/Fauna Creative
Sunrise over farm fields.
Saginaw Valley sunrise The sun rises over a sugar beet field in the Saginaw Valley. © Jason Whalen/Fauna Creative
A farmer walking through thigh-deep plants in a field.
Steve Tait in Saginaw Bay Steve Tait of Caseville, winner of the first-ever Conservation Impact Award from The Nature Conservancy. © Fauna Creative
Aerial view of plots of farmland in Saginaw Bay, MI
Saginaw Bay aerial farmland Aerial view of farmland around Saginaw Bay, Michigan, where TNC is working with farmers and companies to reduce runoff in the Great Lakes. © Adam Stoltman
Two brothers stand with their grain feeder in the back
MIFO180424_D012.jpg (ALL RIGHTS GRANTED TNC, CREDIT MANDATORY) Chad Dzurka of Dzurka Brothers Farms received the Conservation Newcomer Award at the 2018 Ag Awards. Photo Credit: © Michael D-L Jordan/dlp © © Michael D-L Jordan/dlp
A small inlet on the Saginaw River shore. A rocky shore
Saginaw River Access Access to the shoreline of the Saginaw River provides a wonderful amount of recreation opportunities. © Michigan DNR
Sunrise over farm fields.
Saginaw Valley sunrise The sun rises over a sugar beet field in the Saginaw Valley. © Jason Whalen/Fauna Creative

In Michigan, 10 million acres of farmland and the $13-billion agricultural economy they support are directly tied to the health of our waterways and the health of our soils. In the Saginaw Bay watershed, which holds some of the most fertile cropland in Michigan, TNC is collaborating with the farming community to protect water quality alongside soil health. On-farm conservation practices help maintain healthy soil to nourish crops and keep soil and nutrients like phosphorus on the land, protecting clean water for people & nature.

A farmer walking through thigh-deep plants in a field.
Steve Tait in Saginaw Bay Steve Tait of Caseville, winner of the first-ever Conservation Impact Award from The Nature Conservancy. © Fauna Creative

Throughout the Michigan: It’s in Our Nature campaign, TNC led several programs that connected farmers with funding for implementing conservation practices, including the Saginaw Bay Regional Conservation Partnership Program (RCPP), and “Pay-for-Performance” conservation incentive projects. Thanks to an innovative modeling tool that TNC helped develop, these programs were set up to compensate farmers based on actual environmental benefits, including reduced sediment and nutrient loads in waterways and increased groundwater replenishment.

Aerial view of plots of farmland in Saginaw Bay, MI
Saginaw Bay aerial farmland Aerial view of farmland around Saginaw Bay, Michigan, where TNC is working with farmers and companies to reduce runoff in the Great Lakes. © Adam Stoltman

With your support, including the notable contributions of the Charles Stewart Mott Foundation, the Cook Family Foundation and more, TNC has achieved the following results through these programs (as of June 2020): • 145 individual farmers engaged • 75,000+ acres of new soil health practices • 24,000+ pounds of reduced phosphorus runoff • 5,500+ tons of sediment reduced • 70 million+ gallons of groundwater replenished

Two brothers stand with their grain feeder in the back
MIFO180424_D012.jpg (ALL RIGHTS GRANTED TNC, CREDIT MANDATORY) Chad Dzurka of Dzurka Brothers Farms received the Conservation Newcomer Award at the 2018 Ag Awards. Photo Credit: © Michael D-L Jordan/dlp © © Michael D-L Jordan/dlp

A strong engagement and outreach program led to these results, including the biennial awards and recognition program we launched to honor the efforts of our “Soil Health Heroes.” We are incredibly proud of this work, the partnerships we have developed and each individual farmer who has implemented changes on their farm that have positive benefits for water quality in the Saginaw Bay watershed.

A small inlet on the Saginaw River shore. A rocky shore
Saginaw River Access Access to the shoreline of the Saginaw River provides a wonderful amount of recreation opportunities. © Michigan DNR

Our accomplishments over the last five years provide an ideal foundation as we look toward the long-term, and permanent practice changes. TNC is working to create a self-perpetuating cycle of reinvestment and renewal, anchored in a widespread recognition among farmers and others that we must act now to conserve healthy soils and clean water for the benefit of all.

Aerial view of the Saginaw Bay with farmland and river
The Saginaw Bay Lying within Lake Huron, the Saginaw Bay is located on the eastern side of Michigan. It is between Michigan's Thumb region and the rest of the Lower Peninsula. © Fauna Creative

The Charles Stewart Mott Foundation

“An avid outdoorsman, C.S. Mott believed deeply in the power of people connecting to their communities and environment,” shares Mott Foundation trustee Ridgeway White. “Michigan has incredible natural resources — the Great Lakes, world-class trout streams, vast forests and towering sand dunes, to name just a few. But these are more than nice...

“An avid outdoorsman, C.S. Mott believed deeply in the power of people connecting to their communities and environment,” shares Mott Foundation trustee Ridgeway White. “Michigan has incredible natural resources — the Great Lakes, world-class trout streams, vast forests and towering sand dunes, to name just a few. But these are more than nice places to visit. They also are critically important to our economy and quality of life, and the Mott Foundation is doing what it can to help protect them for future generations.” The Mott Foundation has supported TNC’s work in Saginaw Bay for many years, enabling system-wide impact for both people and nature in their own backyard. 

“We are pleased to see The Nature Conservancy working with farmers in the Saginaw River basin to reduce soil erosion and polluted runoff. The result is a new way of spending federal conservation dollars for greater impact – it’s a win-win for the environment and farming.” —Ridgway White, President and CEO

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A sandy coast line with shrubs and small trees in view.
Michigan Coastline (ALL RIGHTS GRANTED TNC, CREDIT MANDATORY) Zetterberg Preserve at Point Betsie. © Jason Whalen/Big Foot Media © Jason Whalen/Big Foot Media
Chairs on the coast of Lake Michigan during a sunset
A rocky shoreline with trees in the background
North Point Peninsula Thunder Bay shoreline, Lake Huron © The Nature Conservancy
A blue heron in flight
Great Blue Heron In addition to capturing excess rainwater, wetlands and retention ponds provide habitat for birds and other animals. © Michael D-L Jordan/dlp
An underwater photo of a shipwreck in Lake Huron
Thunder Bay Marine Sanctuary ROV investigates the boiler and condenser of the wooden steam barge Montana, which sank in 1914 in Lake Huron. © Tane Casserley/NOAA
A water-level view across a pond covered in lily pads,
Sunrise at Erie Marsh Preserve Erie Marsh Preserve sunrise. © Jason Whalen
A man taking photos with a camera at Erie Marsh
Bob the Birder Birding at Erie Marsh Preserve © Deb Allen
View of the Lake Michigan shoreline at Zetterberg
Zetterberg Preserve Overlooking the shore of Lake Michigan at Zetterberg Preserve at Point Betsie. © Sue DeVries
View of Lake Michigan sunset at top of a sand dune
Sunset at Lucia Tower Preserve The sun setting over Lake Michigan at the Lucia K. Tower Preserve at Portage Point Dunes. © Jason Whalen/Big Foot Media
Chairs on the coast of Lake Michigan during a sunset

Michigan’s shorelines have long been a focus of conservation—after all, at 3,200 miles, Michigan has the longest freshwater coastline in the country! Here, where land and water intersect, so do the needs of people and nature. That’s why we work to support system-wide benefits for Great Lakes coastlines integrates social, economic and environmental strategies. Thanks to your support, TNC has achieved lasting benefits for Michigan’s coasts in the last five years, and these achievements show coastal restoration and protection can benefit us all.

A rocky shoreline with trees in the background
North Point Peninsula Thunder Bay shoreline, Lake Huron © The Nature Conservancy

The new North Point Preserve, near Alpena, highlights the many values a place can hold for people and nature. In 2018, thanks to an overwhelming show of support from TNC’s members and supporters—including the Carls Foundation, the Elizabeth Allan and Warren Shelden Fund, Dave Kepler and Carol and Peter Walters—we were able to meet the $6.6 million project budget and acquire 1,400 acres on North Point Peninsula.

A blue heron in flight
Great Blue Heron In addition to capturing excess rainwater, wetlands and retention ponds provide habitat for birds and other animals. © Michael D-L Jordan/dlp

This unique property features over four miles of pristine Lake Huron shoreline on a peninsula in the middle of the Thunder Bay National Marine Sanctuary, providing habitat for rare species like the Hine’s emerald dragonfly, and over 200 species of migratory birds that visit every year.

An underwater photo of a shipwreck in Lake Huron
Thunder Bay Marine Sanctuary ROV investigates the boiler and condenser of the wooden steam barge Montana, which sank in 1914 in Lake Huron. © Tane Casserley/NOAA

TNC will transfer the property to the Friends of Thunder Bay National Marine Sanctuary, with a conservation easement held by Huron Pines. Plans for the conservation and management of this property include outdoor education and research, low-impact hiking and kayaking. This will help sustain the North Point Preserve’s remarkable ecological, maritime and cultural heritage, including over 200 historical shipwrecks offshore!

A water-level view across a pond covered in lily pads,
Sunrise at Erie Marsh Preserve Erie Marsh Preserve sunrise. © Jason Whalen

Coastal wetlands play a vital role in safeguarding the quality of our drinking water, protecting against floods and controlling erosion, not to mention that they providing unique and productive fish and wildlife habitat. However, only 5% of Western Lake Erie’s once extensive wetlands remain. That’s part of what makes TNC’s Erie Marsh Preserve so important: Located on North Maumee Bay, where one river and several streams flow into western Lake Erie, more than 10% of southeast Michigan’s remaining coastal wetlands are found here.

A man taking photos with a camera at Erie Marsh
Bob the Birder Birding at Erie Marsh Preserve © Deb Allen

Since 2011, TNC has been conducting an extensive, multi-year restoration of Erie Marsh wetland habitat, re-engineering the entire hydrologic management of the wetland system to improve habitat quality and support biodiversity. This massive project is now approaching its finish line, thanks to this campaign and your support—nearly 1,000 acres of wetlands restored! The impact doesn’t end there, for this project is demonstrating methods that can be replicated across the Great Lakes.

View of the Lake Michigan shoreline at Zetterberg
Zetterberg Preserve Overlooking the shore of Lake Michigan at Zetterberg Preserve at Point Betsie. © Sue DeVries

Eastern Lake Michigan’s globally rare freshwater dune systems are popular with people and important to nature, making their protection both challenging and essential. Invasive plants are one of many challenges this system faces. They outcompete native plants and change the ecosystem, threatening its natural diversity.

View of Lake Michigan sunset at top of a sand dune
Sunset at Lucia Tower Preserve The sun setting over Lake Michigan at the Lucia K. Tower Preserve at Portage Point Dunes. © Jason Whalen/Big Foot Media

In 2017, TNC completed a three-year project with multiple partners through the Michigan Dune Alliance to remove high-threat invasive plants that destabilize natural systems from dunes across the region. Invasive species such as baby’s-breath, spotted knapweed, blue lyme grass and more were eradicated on approximately 50 priority coastal sites across a total of 11,000 acres. This provides a basis for managing healthier ecosystems throughout this iconic landscape.

Dave Kepler
Dave Kepler Supporting TNC initiatives that address food and water sustainability © Midland Brewing

Dave Kepler

Dave Kepler, whose business is based in the Saginaw Bay area, has supported TNC for many years. Many of his contributions recognize and celebrate the importance of water, from agricultural conservation work in the Saginaw Bay to the protection of North Point on the shores of Lake Huron. 

“Living in Michigan, I admire the beauty ...

Dave Kepler, whose business is based in the Saginaw Bay area, has supported TNC for many years. Many of his contributions recognize and celebrate the importance of water, from agricultural conservation work in the Saginaw Bay to the protection of North Point on the shores of Lake Huron. 

“Living in Michigan, I admire the beauty and diversity of nature in our state and the uniqueness of its water—which is everywhere. When I give to The Nature Conservancy, I am helping to protect another piece of our world.” —Dave Kepler

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Wagner Lake at Wilderness Lakes Reserve
Wagner Lake is one of 26 lakes within the Wilderness Lakes Reserve. © Jason Whalen/Big Foot Media

The Carls Foundation

When it comes to transformational giving during this campaign, the Carls Foundation stands out among our most generous supporters, with a gift to the protection of both North Point Peninsula and Wilderness Lakes Reserve that was vital to making these achievements a reality. 

“These two special places are everything we look for in our...

When it comes to transformational giving during this campaign, the Carls Foundation stands out among our most generous supporters, with a gift to the protection of both North Point Peninsula and Wilderness Lakes Reserve that was vital to making these achievements a reality. 

“These two special places are everything we look for in our giving to protect nature in Michigan—beautiful forests, clear lakes, important wetland habitats, and a rich cultural and natural legacy. These places capture both ecological and human benefits, and I am proud that we’ve been able to work with TNC to protect them for Michigan.” — Elizabeth Stieg, Executive Director

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North Point Peninsula Thunder Bay shoreline, Lake Huron © The Nature Conservancy

The Elizabeth, Allan, And Warren Sheleden Fund

The Elizabeth, Allan and Warren Shelden Fund has been a consistent and impactful supporter of TNC for well over a decade, but went above and beyond to support the acquisition on North Point Peninsula with a large gift that helped close out the remaining need for the protection of this unique place. 

“There are such special place...

The Elizabeth, Allan and Warren Shelden Fund has been a consistent and impactful supporter of TNC for well over a decade, but went above and beyond to support the acquisition on North Point Peninsula with a large gift that helped close out the remaining need for the protection of this unique place. 

“There are such special places in Michigan...Route 2 in the U.P., a couple of bends in the Black River, a stretch of dirt road in the Pigeon River State Forest that is simply glorious—a tunnel of yellow in the fall. Keeping another special place—North Point—wild, keeping that side of Michigan wild, is just a great thing. Visitors can be revived by being in such a beautiful and peaceful setting.” — Bill Shelden, President and Treasurer

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Carol and Peter Walters standing in front of rock wall
Peter Walters was formerly the chair of the board of TNC in Michigan

Carol & Peter Walters

Peter Walters, former chair and current member of TNC’s board of trustees in Michigan, has often been known to lend a hand with on-the-ground conservation, working alongside our stewardship staff to help maintain and restore Michigan’s habitats. This commitment is also demonstrated through the gifts he and his wife Carol have made to TNC to ...

Peter Walters, former chair and current member of TNC’s board of trustees in Michigan, has often been known to lend a hand with on-the-ground conservation, working alongside our stewardship staff to help maintain and restore Michigan’s habitats. This commitment is also demonstrated through the gifts he and his wife Carol have made to TNC to support rare conservation opportunities, including a 0% interest loan to help protect the North Point Peninsula when TNC had just a narrow window to act. This loan was later forgiven, turning it into a gift.

We can think of no higher conservation priority than restoring and preserving Michigan’s shoreline wetlands. The Great Lakes need these essential wetlands for both wildlife preservation as well as the improved water quality of the lakes themselves. Surrounded by so much of the world’s surface freshwater, with a true four-season climate, Michigan maintains a unique stature in our globe’s natural landscape.” — Carol and Peter Walters

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Sacred Heart Church renovated parking lot with green space for draining stormwater. Church is in the background with light poles through out the parking lot.
Sacred Heart Church Renovated Jason Whalen | Fauna Creative © © Fauna Creative
View from the waterline of the Detroit River Skyline
Detroit Skyline The sun sets behind the Detroit skyline. © Michael D-L Jordan/dlp
A group of bikers riding down a street in Detroit
CITY NATURE Green infrastructure helps people to enjoy their neighborhoods by providing recreational opportunities and beautification. © Michael D-L Jordan/dlp
Rendering of green infrastructure parking lot
Sacred Heart Church Incorporating green stormwater infrastructure into Sacred Heart's parking lot will help capture and slow rainwater runoff and reduce the church's stormwater utility bill. © TNC
A view of the steeple at Sacred Heart Church in Detroit
Sacred Heart Church Sacred Heart Church hosted a Bazaar in August, 2019. TNC was a sponsor. © Khal Malik/TNC
Detroit's Eastern Market open-air market
Eastern Market Pavilion Eastern Market Pavilion, downtown Detroit. © Michael D-L Jordan/dlp
A handshake
Saginaw Bay Agriculture Saginaw Bay Watershed Agriculture, farmer and watershed technician shake hands. © Michael D-L Jordan/dlp
A cast iron and wood park bench along a sidewalk
Detroit Park Bench Park Bench on Belle Isle, Detroit, Michigan. © Michael D-L Jordan/dlp
View from the waterline of the Detroit River Skyline
Detroit Skyline The sun sets behind the Detroit skyline. © Michael D-L Jordan/dlp

As Detroit works toward a strong and resilient future, The Nature Conservancy is working to incorporate green stormwater infrastructure (GSI) into that future, to ensure that nature is part of the city’s redevelopment. GSI—an engineered design that puts nature to work—contributes a piece of the solution to Detroit’s stormwater infrastructure challenges by absorbing and slowing runoff and helping to prevent the combined sewer system from overflowing into the Detroit and Rouge rivers.

A group of bikers riding down a street in Detroit
CITY NATURE Green infrastructure helps people to enjoy their neighborhoods by providing recreational opportunities and beautification. © Michael D-L Jordan/dlp

It also integrates green spaces into the city landscape, bringing the many benefits of nature to those who live and work here.

Rendering of green infrastructure parking lot
Sacred Heart Church Incorporating green stormwater infrastructure into Sacred Heart's parking lot will help capture and slow rainwater runoff and reduce the church's stormwater utility bill. © TNC

In 2019, we worked hand-in-hand with the community of the historic Sacred Heart Church to retrofit their parking lot, adding an attractive natural green space that collects stormwater runoff from the rooftop and parking lot—managing up to 3.5 million gallons of stormwater a year and keeping an estimated 1.5 million gallons out of the combined sewer system! It is one of the largest GSI bioretention projects in Detroit, and provides a compelling demonstration of what nature—and the power of partnerships—can do for the city.

A view of the steeple at Sacred Heart Church in Detroit
Sacred Heart Church Sacred Heart Church hosted a Bazaar in August, 2019. TNC was a sponsor. © Khal Malik/TNC

This project is especially important as TNC helps to implement new large-scale GSI efforts in the historic Eastern Market neighborhood where Sacred Heart Church is located.

Detroit's Eastern Market open-air market
Eastern Market Pavilion Eastern Market Pavilion, downtown Detroit. © Michael D-L Jordan/dlp

Eastern Market, a focal point for redevelopment in Detroit, is home to a number of food-based industries and a bustling market center. In partnership with the City of Detroit, the Detroit Economic Growth Corporation and Eastern Market Corporation, TNC helped develop a first-of-its-kind neighborhood framework plan for Greater Eastern Market—one that integrates a vision for nature-based stormwater management in the form of publicly accessible, tree-planted greenways.

A handshake
Saginaw Bay Agriculture Saginaw Bay Watershed Agriculture, farmer and watershed technician shake hands. © Michael D-L Jordan/dlp

These efforts have been supported by an impactful group of committed, engaged foundations and organizations, including the DTE Energy Foundation, Fred A. and Barbara M. Erb Family Foundation, JPB Foundation, JPMorgan Chase, Karen and Drew Peslar Foundation, Kresge Foundation, Pisces Foundation, Ralph C. Wilson, Jr. Foundation and more.

A cast iron and wood park bench along a sidewalk
Detroit Park Bench Park Bench on Belle Isle, Detroit, Michigan. © Michael D-L Jordan/dlp

As this community-inspired, collaborative effort takes shape, it will help set a new standard for integrating stormwater management into city planning and growth, providing equitable access to green space and making it easier for residents and business-owners to sustainably meet city stormwater management requirements, all while helping to keep our waterways clean.

Detroit river and skyline
MIFO160823_D063.tif (ALL RIGHTS GRANTED TNC, CREDIT MANDATORY) Detroit, Michigan © Michael David-Lorne Jordan/David-Lorne Photographic © © Michael D-L Jordan/dlp

The Ralph C. Wilson, Jr. Foundation

The Ralph C. Wilson, Jr. Foundation has been supporting TNC’s work in Detroit since 2017, not only as funders but as collaborators as well, helping us connect with partners and develop innovative, impactful solutions to support our shared goal of healthy, livable communities.

“We are thrilled that The Nature Conservancy’s work in Det...

The Ralph C. Wilson, Jr. Foundation has been supporting TNC’s work in Detroit since 2017, not only as funders but as collaborators as well, helping us connect with partners and develop innovative, impactful solutions to support our shared goal of healthy, livable communities.

“We are thrilled that The Nature Conservancy’s work in Detroit has resulted in the adoption of a landmark plan for equitable development in Eastern Market. It’s a great example of true partnership between the public and private sectors with non-profits and residents.” — David Egner, President and CEO

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Tree in Detroit
Trees and Detroit Skyline Detroit, Michigan © Michael D-L Jordan/dlp

The Fred A. And Barbara M. Erb Family Foundation

When TNC set out to begin our green stormwater infrastructure work in Detroit, we turned to the Fred A. and Barbara M. Erb Family Foundation, a leader in this effort. Their vision and support have been critical as we collaborate with the Detroit community to determine equitable, effective and economical solutions for protecting Michigan’s vi...

When TNC set out to begin our green stormwater infrastructure work in Detroit, we turned to the Fred A. and Barbara M. Erb Family Foundation, a leader in this effort. Their vision and support have been critical as we collaborate with the Detroit community to determine equitable, effective and economical solutions for protecting Michigan’s vital freshwater resources. 

“Michigan means ‘great water’ and that is what truly makes nature here so special. We are beautifully surrounded by water and some of the most biodiverse ecosystems in the world, and Michiganders cherish it.” — Dr. Neil Hawkins, President

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Drew and Karen Peslar in fishing gear
Drew and Karen Peslar © Drew and Karen Peslar

Karen & Drew Peslar Foundation

Karen and Drew Peslar run a family foundation, through which they support many nonprofits in southeastern Michigan. Over the past decade they have invested in TNC’s efforts to protect Michigan’s waters for future generations. This long-term alignment accelerated when TNC began our work in Eastern Market, for which they have made a generous m...

Karen and Drew Peslar run a family foundation, through which they support many nonprofits in southeastern Michigan. Over the past decade they have invested in TNC’s efforts to protect Michigan’s waters for future generations. This long-term alignment accelerated when TNC began our work in Eastern Market, for which they have made a generous multi-year pledge.

 “All of my life, one of the major ecological struggles in southeastern Michigan has been pollution caused when rainwater overwhelms our local sewage treatment capability. When TNC offered an alternative approach for Detroit, I was mindful of their often demonstrated vision and tenacity. We made our pledge to help TNC continue to provide science-based leadership and passion while the project moves forward.” — Drew Pesla

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A mural at Eastern Market pavillion
JASON WHALEN | Fauna Creative © © Fauna Creative

The Kresge Foundation

The Kresge Foundation has been a key supporter of TNC’s work in Eastern Market as an integral part of the revival that the foundation has been working toward in Detroit. By incorporating nature’s benefits into the redevelopment of Eastern Market, TNC can help further the equity that is a core part of The Kresge Foundation’s vision.

 ...

The Kresge Foundation has been a key supporter of TNC’s work in Eastern Market as an integral part of the revival that the foundation has been working toward in Detroit. By incorporating nature’s benefits into the redevelopment of Eastern Market, TNC can help further the equity that is a core part of The Kresge Foundation’s vision.

 “We should all have the opportunity to be connected to nature and be grounded in nature, but our access is inequitable; that’s no surprise given our legacy of racism and our decades of devaluing the very community assets that we should be celebrating in common. I’m reminded of James Baldwin’s words: ‘Not everything that is faced can be changed, but nothing can be changed until it is faced.’ This is the time to face these issues.” — Wendy Lewis Jackson, Detroit Program Managing Director

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An underwater photo of a school of lake herring
School of lake herring, a native freshwater fish. © Paul Vecsei
Scientists test new control methods for invasives
AIS Control Experiment Scientists test new control methods for aquatic invasive species in Grand Traverse Bay, Lake Michigan © Matthew Dae Smith/Big Foot Media
A reef restoration project in Grand Traverse Bay
GTB Reef Restoration Grand Traverse Bay freshwater reef restoration project. © Matthew Dae Smith/Big Foot Media
Underwater photo of a school of lake herring fish
School of lake herring, a native freshwater fish. © Paul Vecsei
Men on a boat restoring a reef in Grand Traverse Bay
MIFO160906_D024.tif (ALL RIGHTS GRANTED TNC, CREDIT MANDATORY) Grand Traverse Bay reef restoration project. © Matthew Dae Smith/Big Foot Media © © Matthew Dae Smith/Big Foot Media
Scientists test new control methods for invasives
AIS Control Experiment Scientists test new control methods for aquatic invasive species in Grand Traverse Bay, Lake Michigan © Matthew Dae Smith/Big Foot Media

The Nature Conservancy has made it a priority during the Michigan: It’s in Our Nature campaign to help protect and restore our Great Lakes fisheries, overcoming historic and continuing impacts—such as invasive species and habitat degradation—that have taken a toll on fisheries health. TNC is collaborating with state and tribal partners to protect and manage Great Lakes fisheries, advancing a strong scientific basis for our shared fisheries goals.

A reef restoration project in Grand Traverse Bay
GTB Reef Restoration Grand Traverse Bay freshwater reef restoration project. © Matthew Dae Smith/Big Foot Media

Our successes in the last five years are bookended by a landmark project—a reef restoration in Grand Traverse Bay that is already being replicated by partners elsewhere in the Great Lakes. In 2015, TNC, the Michigan Department of Natural Resources and Central Michigan University restored a degraded spawning reef near Elk Rapids, in the only area in Lake Michigan where three important species—lake herring, lake whitefish and lake trout—were all known to spawn.

Underwater photo of a school of lake herring fish
School of lake herring, a native freshwater fish. © Paul Vecsei

Now, five years later, our monitoring data shows consistently improved egg survival within the restored reef—demonstrating the potential of this new approach to habitat restoration. We are grateful to the many, many people who supported this momentous project and our other fisheries efforts over the years.

Men on a boat restoring a reef in Grand Traverse Bay
MIFO160906_D024.tif (ALL RIGHTS GRANTED TNC, CREDIT MANDATORY) Grand Traverse Bay reef restoration project. © Matthew Dae Smith/Big Foot Media © © Matthew Dae Smith/Big Foot Media

TNC has also been working with partners on innovative mapping of the historic and current spawning and nursery habitat of key fish species across the entire Great Lakes, using 19th century navigation maps that provide an unmatched level of detail about the lake floor even today. Our new digital map enables us to identify potential fish habitat by cross-referencing it with current environmental data, to inform restoration efforts.

Rocky coastline of Lake Michigan. Waves are crashing
The Meijer Foundation has supported TNC in Michigan for years. © Richard Thompson

The Meijer Foundation

For years, the Meijer Foundation has been a consistent supporter of TNC’s work to address aquatic invasive species and ensure sustainable fisheries. This represents a truly impactful collaboration to address the critical environmental challenges faced by a system vital to Michigan’s future.

“You can be anywhere in Michigan, and you’r...

For years, the Meijer Foundation has been a consistent supporter of TNC’s work to address aquatic invasive species and ensure sustainable fisheries. This represents a truly impactful collaboration to address the critical environmental challenges faced by a system vital to Michigan’s future.

“You can be anywhere in Michigan, and you’re close to a Great Lake. This is a wonderful gift we should all cherish! The Great Lakes fisheries are a tremendous asset that we need to protect. If fisheries are threatened, then so is the entire ecosystem of the Great Lakes. Keeping fisheries in balance by supporting TNC’s sustainable fisheries work is our way of preserving and protecting the waters of the Great Lakes.” — Hank Meijer, Trustee

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A person holding a cube that says "Blue Accounting"
Blue Accounting is an online platform that provides cutting-edge information services about the Great Lakes. © Michael D-L Jordan/dlp

The Joyce Foundation

The Joyce Foundation generously supported sustainable fisheries through TNC’s launch of Blue Accounting (see page 26) to give Michigan and other Great Lakes states the tools they need to keep invasive species from spreading in the region’s waterways, sharing TNC’s commitment to protecting the Great Lakes for all.

“The Joyce Foundatio...

The Joyce Foundation generously supported sustainable fisheries through TNC’s launch of Blue Accounting (see page 26) to give Michigan and other Great Lakes states the tools they need to keep invasive species from spreading in the region’s waterways, sharing TNC’s commitment to protecting the Great Lakes for all.

“The Joyce Foundation is committed to helping organizations like The Nature Conservancy ensure that the Great Lakes can provide for future generations as they have provided for us. Michigan, the traditional land of the Three Fires Confederacy of Ojibwe, Odawa and Potawatomi peoples, plays a central role in that vision. And Michigan’s location in the heart of the Great Lakes makes it a leader in protecting a resource so special to all of us.” — Elizabeth Cisar, Co-Director, Environment

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Randy Baidas & William Reevds pose for a photo on boat
Randy Baidas Randy Baidas is one of TNC in Michigan's long standing donors. © Randy Baidas

Randy Baidas & William Reeves

As an annual supporter of TNC for over 20 years, Randy Baidas epitomizes the commitment to Michigan’s lands and waters that TNC’s donors share. Inspired to push back against the loss of the natural world that he’s seen in his lifetime, his generosity and that of others like him gives TNC the ability to take concrete action for habitat protec...

As an annual supporter of TNC for over 20 years, Randy Baidas epitomizes the commitment to Michigan’s lands and waters that TNC’s donors share. Inspired to push back against the loss of the natural world that he’s seen in his lifetime, his generosity and that of others like him gives TNC the ability to take concrete action for habitat protection and restoration.

“The Nature Conservancy has consistently pushed forward to address the social and political missteps of the past with a focus on ecological systems—the mechanism of our planet Earth. Gathering various groups of people, from farmers to corporate boards, to achieve tangible results is a wonderful thing. We support The Nature Conservancy, as a champion of the Great Lakes waters: its mission, its accomplishments and those who work so diligently.” — Randy Baidas and William Reeves

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Aerial view of a large autumn forest
View from Brockway Mountain View from the summit of Brockway Mountain of Michigan's Upper Peninsula forests in peak fall colors. © Jason Whalen/Big Foot Media
Man walking through a forest in autumn in Michigan
An aerial view of a forest in Michigan. Water in view
Michigan, USA The sky reflects on Houghton Lake in Prudenville, Michigan. © Aaron Burden
Mike Milligan looking at a row of corn crops
Mike Milligan, Michigan Farmer Mike looks at his corn crop on his farm in the Saginaw Bay Watershed in Michigan. © Fauna Creative
A view of the Capitol Building and trees in Washington
Washington, DC, USA. The United States Capitol in Washington, DC, USA. © Devan King/The Nature Conservancy
A large beech tree is surrounded by fallen leaves
Moraine Nature Preserve A large beech tree is surrounded by fallen leaves in early fall at Moraine Nature Preserve. © Christopher Jordan
Man walking through a forest in autumn in Michigan

A changing climate impacts nearly every aspect of our conservation work. Recognizing this, The Nature Conservancy has used this campaign period to expand and amplify our climate-related policy and conservation efforts, harnessing our expertise and relationships to promote clean energy and generate bipartisan support for the reduction of carbon emissions in Michigan and beyond.

An aerial view of a forest in Michigan. Water in view
Michigan, USA The sky reflects on Houghton Lake in Prudenville, Michigan. © Aaron Burden

Thanks to our supporters, including early gifts from Stephen and Bobbi Polk and Tom Cook and Anna Owens, TNC has emerged as a leader in climate action in Michigan. At the national 2020 Climate Leadership Conference held in Detroit, a convening of industry leaders, policymakers and experts, TNC had the opportunity to spotlight our natural climate solutions research and global thought-leadership around climate for an audience of influential public & private leaders. We also led a strategy session on carbon capture, utilization and storage (CCUS).

Mike Milligan looking at a row of corn crops
Mike Milligan, Michigan Farmer Mike looks at his corn crop on his farm in the Saginaw Bay Watershed in Michigan. © Fauna Creative

We are working closely with foresters, farmers and other landowners to develop strategies that help our working lands adapt to climatic shifts. We collaborate with coastal communities to adapt to the impacts of a changing climate, such as rising lake levels and an increase in storms.

A view of the Capitol Building and trees in Washington
Washington, DC, USA. The United States Capitol in Washington, DC, USA. © Devan King/The Nature Conservancy

We have initiated constructive dialogue with federal and state policymakers on climate adaptation and mitigation measures that can protect Michigan’s natural assets, economy and residents. And, we continue to brief state agency and legislative staff on strategies to boost climate resiliency.

A large beech tree is surrounded by fallen leaves
Moraine Nature Preserve A large beech tree is surrounded by fallen leaves in early fall at Moraine Nature Preserve. © Christopher Jordan

Additionally, as part of our commitment to tackling climate change in the U.S., TNC in Michigan works closely with our counterparts in other states, aligning TNC’s climate and energy work across the Midwest with national and global priorities. The strong partnerships and cross-cutting strategies we are developing across the region open the door to impactful solutions for the reduction of greenhouse gas emissions.

Tom Cook and Anna Owens pose for a selfie on beach
Natural climate solutions are why Tom and Anna give.

Tom Cook & Anna Owens

It’s because of people like Tom Cook and Anna Owens, who have spent many years thoughtfully working to support and protect Michigan’s special places and all its natural systems, that TNC is able to accomplish so much for conservation. Thanks to their support, and those of others like them, we will continue to lead the way on important issues...

It’s because of people like Tom Cook and Anna Owens, who have spent many years thoughtfully working to support and protect Michigan’s special places and all its natural systems, that TNC is able to accomplish so much for conservation. Thanks to their support, and those of others like them, we will continue to lead the way on important issues like climate change. 

“We became supporters of The Nature Conservancy because of their efforts to preserve special places. Now we see that protecting natural areas like forests and wetlands also helps reduce climate impacts. We believe TNC’s ability to connect a diverse group of people around a common, and common-sense, set of policies and practices will help lead the way for impactful natural climate solutions." — Tom Cook and Anna Owens

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A coastal marsh with a small creek running through the center of the image. Shrubs and grass and both sides of the creek
Giving to Michigan Science (ALL RIGHTS GRANTED TNC, CREDIT MANDATORY) Grass Bay Preserve. © Jason Whalen/Big Foot Media © Jason Whalen/Big Foot Media
Sunset and clouds over the Saginaw Bay
Sunset on the Saginaw Bay Saginaw Bay is one of the world's largest contiguous coastal wetland systems, supporting a robust wildlife fishery, habitat for migratory birds, and water-based recreation. © Fauna Creative
A family of ducks swims in Grand Traverse Bay.
Duck Family at Sunrise A family of ducks swims during sunrise over Grand Traverse Bay, Lake Michigan. © Jason Whalen/Fauna Creative
Waves hitting the rocky coast of Pictured Rocks, MI
Pictured Rocks Lake Michigan Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore on Lake Superior, Michigan © Richard Thompson
A photo of TNC in Michigan Director Helen Taylor
Helen Taylor MI Staff Photo Michigan Chapter Director © Matthew Mitchell
View from top of Mt. Baldy overlooking vast trees
Summit of Mt. Baldy View from top of the Helmut and Candis Stern Preserve at Mt. Baldy. © Jason Whalen/Big Foot Media
Three people sit at a picnic table by a campfire
Sunset by the Lake TNC Roving Crew watching the sunset on Drummond Island. © Kim Steinberger/TNC
Sunset and clouds over the Saginaw Bay
Sunset on the Saginaw Bay Saginaw Bay is one of the world's largest contiguous coastal wetland systems, supporting a robust wildlife fishery, habitat for migratory birds, and water-based recreation. © Fauna Creative

Science is the foundation of successful conservation. The Nature Conservancy works to ensure that science is embedded in policy and practice across the globe and in Michigan, so that all who work and live here can protect our state’s natural legacy together.

A family of ducks swims in Grand Traverse Bay.
Duck Family at Sunrise A family of ducks swims during sunrise over Grand Traverse Bay, Lake Michigan. © Jason Whalen/Fauna Creative

Nothing illustrates this union of science and policy better than Blue Accounting. Launched in 2016, this unprecedented initiative is advancing regional collaboration and accountability around Great Lakes conservation and management issues, supplying decisionmakers and resource managers with data and tools to help them assess and improve the ecological and socioeconomic condition of the Great Lakes region.

Waves hitting the rocky coast of Pictured Rocks, MI
Pictured Rocks Lake Michigan Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore on Lake Superior, Michigan © Richard Thompson

Supporters like the Charles Stewart Mott Foundation, the Fred A. and Barbara M. Erb Foundation and the Joyce Foundation have been critical to helping TNC make this initiative a success. We have now completed the transfer of Blue Accounting to its co-founder, the Great Lakes Commission, which will continue to lead the endeavor to bring the right information to the right people at the right time to support the future of Great Lakes resources.

A photo of TNC in Michigan Director Helen Taylor
Helen Taylor MI Staff Photo Michigan Chapter Director © Matthew Mitchell

This is just one example of how TNC ensures science provides the basis of impactful policy and practices. From state director Helen Taylor’s appointment to Governor Snyder’s 21st Century Infrastructure Commission—charged with identifying best practices to modernize Michigan’s infrastructure—to completing the “Safe and Affordable Water for All” report to capture the recommendations of a TNC-led group of expert Water Fellows, we have continued to work during this campaign to advance conservation progress where the needs of people and nature meet.

View from top of Mt. Baldy overlooking vast trees
Summit of Mt. Baldy View from top of the Helmut and Candis Stern Preserve at Mt. Baldy. © Jason Whalen/Big Foot Media

Many of our policy accomplishments continue to help advance the protection of lands and waters at both the state and national level, including the recent awareness campaign to support the Michigan Natural Resources Trust Fund and its benefits for public lands in Michigan, and our state-level support for the permanent reauthorization and funding of the federal Land and Water Conservation Fund, which has provided essential support for conservation over the past five decades.

Three people sit at a picnic table by a campfire
Sunset by the Lake TNC Roving Crew watching the sunset on Drummond Island. © Kim Steinberger/TNC

The policy successes and relationships we have built during the Michigan: It’s in Our Nature campaign will provide the basis for even greater achievements in the years to come.

Lynette Dowler
A fellowship position sponspored by DTE will allow a recent grad to gain vital conservation experience. © Lynette Dowler

The DTE Energy Foundation

The DTE Foundation looks for ways to align their giving with impactful and credible environmental partners like TNC, to help lead the people of Michigan, and the natural resources we depend on, to a sustainable future. The new Conservation Fellowship Program that the DTE Foundation has facilitated is a great example of what collaborating aro...

The DTE Foundation looks for ways to align their giving with impactful and credible environmental partners like TNC, to help lead the people of Michigan, and the natural resources we depend on, to a sustainable future. The new Conservation Fellowship Program that the DTE Foundation has facilitated is a great example of what collaborating around these values can achieve. 

“We’re very excited about the new fellowship. Diversity, equity and inclusion have been a focus of the DTE Foundation for a very long time. We wanted to provide an opportunity for talented individuals to work with a great organization to gain conservation experience and build a valuable network, and to provide a springboard for their future success.” — Lynette Dowler, President

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Jeffery and Cynthia Littmann
The Littmanns have focused their support on stewardship of the Upper Peninsula. © Jeffery and Cynthia Littmann

Jeff & Cynthia Littmann

For the past fifteen years, Jeffrey and Cynthia Littmann have consistently supported conservation through TNC, with a special focus on the Upper Peninsula and the stewardship of TNC’s protected lands there. Recently, they collaborated with TNC to support two generous programs that enable graduate students to gain unique experience in their f...

For the past fifteen years, Jeffrey and Cynthia Littmann have consistently supported conservation through TNC, with a special focus on the Upper Peninsula and the stewardship of TNC’s protected lands there. Recently, they collaborated with TNC to support two generous programs that enable graduate students to gain unique experience in their fields, including an AmeriCorps VISTA position and a joint TNC/Michigan State University conservation law internship. 

“Michigan is blessed to be surrounded by some of the world’s largest bodies of freshwater, to have so much public land, to have funding and programs that promote responsible stewardship and conservation of private lands and to have the rich diversity in ecosystems that comes with the different climate zones represented here. We believe that access to nature, be it on a lake, in a river or forest, or in an urban center is critical to human comfort and fulfilment.” — Jeff and Cynthia Littmann

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Essel & Menakka Bailey pose for photo with Dr. Liberati
The Bailey's have provided gifts for mulitple projects, including the endowment for the Bailey Conservation Fellowship. © Khal Malik/TNC

Essel and Menakka Bailey

Essel and Menakka Bailey provided a generous and creative multi-stage gift, including real estate and stock gifts, to endow the Bailey Conservation Fellowship. Not only does this create a lasting career opportunity for emerging leaders, it also provides TNC with valuable capacity and expertise to augment our science and resources. 

“...

Essel and Menakka Bailey provided a generous and creative multi-stage gift, including real estate and stock gifts, to endow the Bailey Conservation Fellowship. Not only does this create a lasting career opportunity for emerging leaders, it also provides TNC with valuable capacity and expertise to augment our science and resources. 

“We are committed to scientific research to promote protection of our natural resources, the education of the next generation on the importance of preserving our environment and encouraging others to support the work of TNC.” — Essel and Menakka Bailey

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Ways to Give

There are many ways to give to The Nature Conservancy that aren’t a cash gift or pledge. Many of TNC’s supporters give in other ways that better suit their individual situations. Four of the most common are reflected on these pages. Like other charitable gifts, they can provide significant tax advantages. If you are interested in having a conversation with a member of our Development Team about these or other options for giving to TNC, please reach out to Jeremy Wittrock, Director of Development, at jeremy.wittrock@tnc.org or (517) 230-3663.

  • Seedlings grow at a large, state-owned, tree nursery near the city of Guarapuava, Parana state, Brazil.

    The Legacy Club

    The Legacy Club was founded in 1993. Since then, over 700 Michigan residents have chosen to make legacy gifts to support TNC’s work. Membership in The Legacy Club is voluntary and without obligation. Learn more about Legacy Club

  • Laura Crane and a Fuller Star employee walking through the array of solar panels at the Fuller Star plant in Lancaster, California.

    Donor Advised Fund

    A cost-effective and efficient alternative to establishing a private foundation, this flexible fund represents a commitment to TNC that also preserves the donor’s ability to choose how and when distributions are made, at their own pace. Learn more about Donor Advised Funds

  • Brooklyn Bridge Park looking towards Manhattan.

    Charitable Ira Rollover

    Some donors are surprised to find that they can put their IRAs to work for nature! Direct distributions from one’s IRA to The Nature Conservancy can made without incurring income tax on the withdrawal, while also protecting Michigan’s lands and water Learn about Charitable IRA donations

  • The Nature Conservancy's deforestation initiatives in East Kalimantan, Indonesia.

    Endowments

    An endowment is a gift that keeps on giving. As funds that keep the principal amount intact while using the investment income for expenses, endowments provide ongoing funding for conservation, year after year. See all ways to donate

Terry Barclay
Terry Barclay has supported TNC to honor and preserve her long time home. © Terry Barclay

Terry Barclay

Terry Barclay, who also serves on TNC’s Michigan Board of Trustees, established a living trust with TNC as a lasting commitment to preserving Michigan’s natural beauty and resources. We are honored to have our Legacy Club supporters like Terry journeying with us on a path to a sustainable future.

“Michigan has been my home for 40 yea...

Terry Barclay, who also serves on TNC’s Michigan Board of Trustees, established a living trust with TNC as a lasting commitment to preserving Michigan’s natural beauty and resources. We are honored to have our Legacy Club supporters like Terry journeying with us on a path to a sustainable future.

“Michigan has been my home for 40 years. The Great Lakes are breathtaking and initially were hard to comprehend for someone who grew up in the desert and mountains. The lakeshore, rivers, waterfalls, farmlands and boreal forest in the Upper Peninsula are stunning and important ecosystems. The city of Detroit and other urban areas are so important to Michigan’s economy, and it’s exciting to see the work being done to ensure livable communities and a sustainable future. Michigan is simply a stunningly beautiful state that has captured my heart and imagination.” — Terry Barclay

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Photo of John Woollam in a field
Barbara Van Dusen has been a part of the TNC family for decades. She was the first ever life trustee at the chapter. © Barb Van Dusen

Barbara Van Dusen

Barbara Van Dusen has served the Michigan chapter as an active board member for decades, and was honored as the chapter’s first-ever life trustee in 2001 for her dedication to saving the state's last great places. She continues to demonstrate leadership by example, and generously supports many campaigns and calls to action on the most critic...

Barbara Van Dusen has served the Michigan chapter as an active board member for decades, and was honored as the chapter’s first-ever life trustee in 2001 for her dedication to saving the state's last great places. She continues to demonstrate leadership by example, and generously supports many campaigns and calls to action on the most critical conservation issues. 

"Climate change is the biggest issue we’re facing today, and the most imminent threat. We need to do all we can to make a difference. We need to let people know the little things we can do to help the environment—the things we can each do to shape our future, one step at a time.” — Barbara Van Dusen

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Photo of John Woollam in a field
A charitable IRA rollover allows large swaths of land to be protected while also providing tax benefits to the land owner. © Richard Hoeger

Richard Hoeger

A resident of the Keweenaw Peninsula, Richard Hoeger knows the value of the Upper Peninsula’s vast, wild forestlands. He found a creative way to support the conservation of this place so near and dear to him through a charitable IRA rollover. 

“Giving to TNC by means of the required IRA minimum distribution is a win-win proposition, ...

A resident of the Keweenaw Peninsula, Richard Hoeger knows the value of the Upper Peninsula’s vast, wild forestlands. He found a creative way to support the conservation of this place so near and dear to him through a charitable IRA rollover. 

“Giving to TNC by means of the required IRA minimum distribution is a win-win proposition, helping to advance wilderness preservation while reducing my federal income taxes. Funds going to TNC are applied to specific and measurable projects, while funds going to the federal government are spread over a plethora of projects. My IRA distribution to TNC gives the biggest bang to my conservation buck.” — Richard Hoeger

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Tadd and Nancy Seitz pose for photo

Nancy & Tadd Seitz

In 2020, Nancy and Tadd Seitz established an endowment that will provide long-term support for TNC’s conservation work on land and water protection, sustainable forestry and restoring critical habitats for wildlife, particularly in western Michigan. Tadd and Nancy were both born and raised in Grand Rapids, and desired to make a difference so...

In 2020, Nancy and Tadd Seitz established an endowment that will provide long-term support for TNC’s conservation work on land and water protection, sustainable forestry and restoring critical habitats for wildlife, particularly in western Michigan. Tadd and Nancy were both born and raised in Grand Rapids, and desired to make a difference so that other people could enjoy the beautiful places they loved for years to come. 

“Michigan and especially western Michigan have been a formative influence on our lives, from when we were kids playing in the sand to retirement on the shore of Lake Michigan, that we want to help preserve and improve for the future.” — Nancy and Tadd Seitz

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Every Gift Matters

Every dollar moves conservation forward. Every contribution, no matter the size, makes a future where people and nature can thrive together in Michigan more tangible and more achievable. Every one of our supporters, whether named on these pages or not, has played a vital role in The Nature Conservancy’s success. To each and every one of you: thank you.

Photo of TNC in Michigan Director Helen Taylor
Helen Taylor Michigan State Director © Matthew Mitchell

Looking to the Future

So, what’s on the horizon for The Nature Conservancy in Michigan?

Of course, TNC’s work during the Michigan: It’s in Our Nature campaign will continue, as strong as ever, thanks to the continued commitment and support of our staff, our partners and donors like you. Here are just a few of the exciting things to come:

• We’ll b...

So, what’s on the horizon for The Nature Conservancy in Michigan?

Of course, TNC’s work during the Michigan: It’s in Our Nature campaign will continue, as strong as ever, thanks to the continued commitment and support of our staff, our partners and donors like you. Here are just a few of the exciting things to come:

• We’ll be scaling up the way we work with partners around the state to protect an interconnected network of resilient lands and waters, based on TNC-led science and research.

• Our preserves have always been an important way for people to engage with TNC and conservation. We will continue updating our preserve infrastructure and expanding our resources and events so that all Michigan residents can connect with nature.

• We will drive an ambitious set of policy priorities forward, working with Michigan leaders to see measurable—and critical—progress made for Michigan’s lands and waters and the wildlife and people who depend on them.

• Our work to address climate change will be bigger and more comprehensive than ever, advancing nature-based solutions such as our Working Woodlands program, coastal resilience and carbon capture opportunities—just to name a few!

• We will work to realize a future of providing food sustainably in Michigan—looking beyond the short-term to provide a strong scientific basis for the lasting resiliency of our state’s agricultural lands and fisheries.

• We will deepen our collaboration with people who live and work in Michigan’s cities by bringing neighborhood scale- GSI to Detroit—demonstrating a new way to integrate the benefits of nature into our lives.

• And, of course, we will fight for what is perhaps Michigan’s most precious resource—water. We will work from the halls of government to the heart of Detroit to each of our Great Lakes to ensure access to clean and plentiful water for people and nature, now and in the future.

I couldn’t possibly fit all our plans onto this page, but know that there are great things ahead for TNC’s Michigan chapter—backed by science, by our strength as a global organization and by our supporters.

TNC could not do what we do in Michigan without you, and you have our deepest thanks for your support and your trust. We pledge to honor that trust, and work every day for the future of our world.

In Nature,

Helen Taylor

TNC Michigan State Director

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Giving to Michigan 2020

Giving to Michigan 2020

Download the full Giving to Michigan 2020 magazine.

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