Sun shines through the tree canopy.
Tree Canopy Migratory songbirds nest in the forest at the Nan Weston Preserve. © Jason Whalen

Stories in Michigan

Enhance Your Preserve Experience

Find new ways to explore our preserves—from a tour guide in your pocket to at-home learning opportunities.

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Nan Weston Preserve Branding Sign Nan Weston Nature Preserve at Sharon Hollow © Michael D-L Jordan/dlp

See Our Preserves Through New Eyes (or at Home)

Take a guided tour through floodplain forests, wetlands, bluffs and marshes right from the palm of your hand. These audio tours includes stories, fun facts and natural sounds to deepen your connection to the preserve.

No wireless or cellular service is needed to take the audio tour at the preserve. Meaning you can also access these virtual tours from the comfort of your own home!

*Coming soon!

Before you visit the preserve...

  1. Download the free TravelStorys app to your smartphone or tablet from the App Store (iPhones) or through Google Play (Android).
  2. Open the TravelStorys app on your device and search for the preserve you want to tour.
  3. Click on the tour when it pops up, then click on the blue circle with the white arrow to download this tour to your device.

At the preserve...

  1. In the preserve's parking area, open the the TravelStorys app and your downloaded tour will be triggered by GPS to begin.
  2. No need to click play—just throw on some headphones (or play it out loud for your hiking buddy) and the audio will play at selected points along the route. It’s like a personal tour guide that you can carry in your pocket!
Fritillary butterfly enjoying wildflowers at Ross Coastal Plain Marsh Preserve.
Fritillary Butterfly at Ross Preserve Fritillary butterfly enjoying wildflowers at Ross Coastal Plain Marsh Preserve. © Jason Whalen/Big Foot Media

To access from home..

  1. Download the free TravelStorys app to your smartphone or tablet from the App Store (iPhones) or through Google Play (Android), or access on your computer via this link (*insert travelstorys link)
  2. Open the TravelStorys app on your device and search for the preserve you want to tour.
  3. Click on the tour when it pops up, then click on the blue circle with the white arrow to download this tour to your device.
  4. Once the tour is downloaded, click the green play button to open the trail map
  5. Click the green chat bubbles to view pictures and hear the guided tour from home!

Tips for a successful tour:

  • Turn on GPS
  • Downloading via WIFI is faster than with cellular data
  • Charge your device before you go!

Geocaching in Michigan

You can use geocaching as an exciting way to explore the landscape, to discover someplace new and share special places with other outdoor enthusiasts. Players try to locate hidden containers, called geocaches or earthcaches, using a smartphone or GPS, and can then share their experiences online.

Geocaching can be done on any kind of outing, whether that’s a day hiking at Ross Coastal Plain Marsh Preserve, or an afternoon stroll at the Nan Weston Preserve at Sharon Hollow

What is Geocaching (1:16) Watch this video to learn more about what geocaching is, how it works and how you can become a part of it.

Geocaching Information

Download Guidelines and Permit

Geocaching is a great activity for kids. It gets the whole family outside to explore the natural world, and teaches kids about navigation with the fun reward of finding real hidden treasure. Once back home, you can share your stories and photos of the adventure online.

Log on to geocaching.com to set up a free account and start the hunt! Then visit the following TNC preserves in Michigan to find geocaches and earthcaches.

What's Coming Up?

Step up for nature at Ives Road Fen Preserve.

Join a group of dedicated volunteers at this unique preserve in southeast Michigan. In the spring, enjoy the butterflies, birds, wildflowers, and herptiles as we pull garlic mustard in the floodplain forest next to the River Raisin. In fall, we cut honeysuckle in the upland area near the prairie and enjoy the fall colors and fruits. Workdays include cold drinks and fresh chocolate chip cookies. 

Email Chuck Pearson at ivesroadfen@gmail.com or call 615-500-8229 if you are interested in volunteering.

Youth are welcome, but must be accompanied by a guardian. Suitable for youth 10+.