Southeast Michigan Land Conservancy
The Southeast Michigan Land Conservancy conserves natural land and open
space -- including forests, wetlands, meadows, agricultural lands, and places of
scenic beauty -- to provide habitat for wildlife and to enrich the lives of people.

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Good News

Sibley Prairie Saved!

A view of lakeplain prairie in Brownstown Township.
Photo by Charles Scott.

Michigan’s lakeplain prairie used to cover 16,000 acres most of which were located in Monroe and Wayne counties.  The rich soil was coveted, first for agricultural use and later for development.  Now less than 1% of Michigan prairie remains.

The largest prairie remnant is located in Brownstown Township, Wayne County and conservationists and scientists agree – it needs to be saved.  The Nature Conservancy has categorized the Sibley Prairie as globally imperiled and critically imperiled in Michigan.  If we want to save what is left we need to act now.

Thanks to you! SMLC successfully reached our Sibley Prairie Land Protection Project goal of $150,000.  We are deeply grateful to The Carls Foundation and the John A. Woollam Foundation for their matching gifts.  SMLC will use the funds to help with public access and stewardship management for our Sibley Preserve Nature Preserve sites.

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Lost Lake Nature Preserve Saved!

Lost Lake Nature Preserve Photo by wendy Pellerito
A view of Lost Lake Nature Preserve from a hot air ballon. Photo by Wendy Pellerito.

SMLC received word in February that the ET Rover Pipeline is no longer planned to route through SMLC’s Lost Lake Nature Preserve.  This beautiful regional natural treasure is located in northern Oakland and southern Genesee counties.  The pipeline had been slated to run the entire length of the extensive southern boundary including passage through sensitive natural areas.  ET Rover publicized that they reached a deal with the Vector pipeline owned by DTE and will not create a new pipeline the last 110 miles of their multistate line.  Instead they will link up with an existing Vector pipeline.

SMLC and our partner, Six Rivers Land Conservancy, who holds the conservation easement on the property, advocated against the pipeline being placed at Lost Lake or any other conservation area.  SMLC is very grateful to everyone who worked on this issue and helped bring it to a successful conclusion.

SMLC in the News

538-acre Lost Lake Nature Preserve - Opening to the Public

Public Dedication Event October 18, 2015

Superior Township, MI – Celebrate Trails, Lakes and Prairies with Southeast Michigan Land Conservancy (SMLC) at the Dedication of their Lost Lake Nature Preserve. The grand opening event will be held on Sunday, October 18th from 2:00-4:30 p.m. and will feature a short program, the guided Fall Frolic Nature Hike, and other outdoor educational activities.

The 538-acre preserve is located in Holly Township, Oakland County and Grand Blanc Township, Genesee County. It was acquired by SMLC in August 2013 thanks to the generosity of an anonymous donor who donated the purchase funds to the organization. Six Rivers Land Conservancy acquired a conservation easement on the property at the same time the property was purchased by SMLC. This arrangement provides two layers of land protection and ensures that the property will always remain a natural area open to the public. Click here to read more of the Lost Lake Nature Preserve Dedication press release...

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Prairie remnant found in the West Prairie Site addition to the Sibley Prairie Nature Preserve. Photo by Jill Lewis.

Acquisition Success!!

SMLC recently acquired the newest addition to our Sibley Prairie Nature Preserve. The 39-acre West Prairie Site was acquired in July after a year's worth of effort, and now this beautiful property will forever be protected. To read more about the project and the property's unique characteristics, click here.

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Slack Lake (shown here) is one of two lakes in the newly acquired Lost Lake Nature Preserve. Photo by Jill Lewis.

$1.1 Million Acquisition: Lost Lake Nature Preserve

Partnership protects 538 acres in Genesee and Oakland Counties!

In August 2013, Southeast Michigan Land Conservancy purchased our 16th nature preserve with help from an angel donor who provided the $1.1 million purchase funds. SMLC partnered with Six Rivers Land Conservancy, who now holds a conservation easement on the property. The new Lost Lake Nature Preserve is a beautiful place and protects two pristine lakes, unique wetlands and natural areas. To read more about the acquisition success, click here to view the Press Release.

Map of Lost Lake Nature Preserve


To view articles about the new Nature Preserve, click a link below.

Oakland Press on Lost Lake Nature Preserve

SMLC's next step is to create a Management Plan that will guide the stewardship of the Preserve's natural resources while incorporating future public access.

If you are excited about this Nature Preserve and would like to get involved with SMLC call 734.484.6565 or email us at .

Land Protection Success -- Thanks to YOU!

Many thanks to our donors for supporting SMLC in a big way in 2012. 

Thanks to those donors and funders who supported the Superior Greenway Expansion Project, SMLC successfully achieved The Carls Foundation challenge and received their $75,000 matching grant award.  Our goal was to raise half of our $300,000 project goal in 2012.  Thanks to you and The Carls Foundation, we raised more than $168,000!

Jack R. Smiley Nature Preserve Southeast Michigan Land Conservancy
Winter in the Superior Greenway, Washtenaw County.
Photo by Charles Scott

This means that SMLC was able to pay for our 2012 project costs and repay purchase loans for the Jack R. Smiley Nature Preserve.  2013 contributions for the Superior Greenway Expansion Project will pay for our 2013 project costs and fund stewardship needs for this preserve and other recent acquisitions. 

SMLC also thanks Detroit Audubon Society, the Speckhard-Knight Charitable Foundation and the St. Francis Foundation for their generous support of the Superior Greenway Expansion Project in 2012.

In addition to our huge success with the Superior Greenway Expansion Project, SMLC also thanks our many donors, members and funders for supporting SMLC in 2012.  Unrestricted gifts are much appreciated as are gifts to our General Fund, Land Protection Fund, Monroe County Fund, and Superior Township Fund.  These gifts fund our work day-in and day-out.  We are very grateful for your support!

Many thanks to the James A. and Faith Knight Foundation, the Heart of the Lakes Center for Land Policy and Land Trust Alliance ACE programThe Zonta Club of Northwest Wayne County, the DTE Energy Foundation, and the JP Morgan Chase Foundation for your generous support of SMLC in 2012.

Superior Greenway's newest preserve named after SMLC's founder

Southeast Michigan Land Conservancy is proud to announce that our recently acquired 100-acre nature preserve in the heart of the Superior Greenway has now been named:


This wonderful Greenway and this nature preserve, in particular, would not have happened without the tireless efforts of our founder, Jack Smiley.  Jack saw the vision of a greenbelt between Detroit and Ann Arbor and the countless benefits to the southeast Michigan region.  Today the Greenway includes more than 2,000 protected acres including 1,200 contiguous acres in the heart of the Greenway where the preserve is located.  Future plans include a Greenway nature trail that will connect protected lands from Geddes to Cherry Hill roads.

"I was pleased and honored to have a small part in the decision to name SMLC's recent addition to the Superior Greenway, the "Jack R. Smiley Nature Preserve".  Jack Smiley founded SMLC over 24 years ago and he has worked tirelessly since then to acquire the diverse property interests (both fee interests and conservation easements) that the Superior Greenway now enjoys.  It is indeed fitting that the Jack R. Smiley Nature Preserve is located almost in the center of the Superior Greenway immediately south of the Superior Township Hall.  When the Superior Greenway Nature Trail is finally established, the midpoint of the trail network will be in Jack's namesake preserve for all of us to enjoy – which will remind us what dedicated individuals can accomplish over a few short years."  – James T. Weiner, SMLC Board President

Many thanks to the Greenway partners:  Washtenaw County Parks and Recreation Commission, City of Ann Arbor Greenbelt program, and Superior Township for helping SMLC make the Superior Greenway a reality and this acquisition possible.

The Jack R. Smiley Nature Preserve's outstanding feature is that it is adjacent to the County's Meyer Preserve and SMLC's Conservancy Farm and connects to SMLC's popular LeFurge Woods Nature Preserve.  This connectivity creates a wildlife corridor and expands existing wildlife habitat.

In addition, the preserve is located in the Rouge River Watershed, which has been declared an Area of Concern by the EPA.  Protecting lands within an AOC helps improve the health of the watershed, which in turn, improves the health of the people who live there.

If you would like to help SMLC complete the purchase of this preserve, please make a donation to Southeast Michigan Land Conservancy for the "Superior Greenway Expansion Project" (formerly the "Pellerito Project").  Your funds will help SMLC pay back short-term financing we obtained to make a timely purchase, reimburse project costs, and help SMLC steward this property and other recently acquired preserves and conservation easements.

If you send in your donation prior to December 31, 2012, The Carls Foundation will match that up to $75,000!  Please make your gift count double :>) and help SMLC complete the purchase of this wonderful property.

Donate to SMLC

  To make a donation to the "Superior Greenway Expansion Project" (formerly the "Pellerito Project") please click here

Superior Greenway adds 100.33 acres - Pellerito Land Project Successful!

In April 2012, Lakeside Oakland Development, LLC owned by Frank Pellerito, sold 100.33 acres located in Superior Township to SMLC.  This purchase was made possible by our project partners:  the City of Ann Arbor Greenbelt Program and the Washtenaw County Parks and Recreation Commission (WCPARC).  The County purchased the conservation easement on the property.  The property is a special place due to its location in the Superior Greenway, a 2,007 acre wildlife and public recreation corridor.  The Greenway is a partnership project of the organizations listed above and Superior Township. SMLC garnered short-term financing so that we could meet the purchase timeframe. We need your help to raise the funds to complete this purchase.

Click here to see the news media release that went out in April: Press Release (PDF).


In honor of Earth Day, public television stations recently re-ran a documentary program called "Michigan Land Conservation". The documentary was produced in 2009 by Central Michigan University Public Television (WCMU). You can watch very interesting interviews with people involved in land protection and conservancies (including SMLC!) from around the state. Click here to view the video.

Note that you will need the Quicktime Viewer Plugin which you can get here. Enjoy!

Superior Greenway Deal Adds 100 Acres

Ann Arbor Chronicle Article, April 13, 2012
The Southeast Michigan Land Conservancy, Washtenaw County’s natural areas preservation program, and the city of Ann Arbor greenbelt program have partnered in a deal to preserve 100.33 acres of land that will become part of the Superior Greenway, a corridor of read more...

2012 Bug-A-ThonEating bugs for SMLC

In March, Berkley High School Wilderness Survival Club students held a Bug-A-Thon, eating live and cooked bugs to raise money for SMLC and land conservation. The bug menu included everything from beetle larvae, to meal worms and crickets. Students voluntarily ate the type and number of bugs they wish. Eating bugs was a personal challenge they would need to meet if they had to survive in the wild! Thank you Club members - SMLC appreciates you and this unique way of supporting land conservation.

You can read a newpaper article and watch a video of the event here.

Photo: SMLC Vice President Maura Jung (right) accepts a donation from Peter Hoch, BHS Wilderness Survival Club president, of funds that the student's collected after eating bugs. Photo by Shawn Grose

SMLC Land Protection Success in 2011

SMLC is proud to announce that we protected an additional 240 acres in 2011 through the receipt of two generous conservation easement donations.

Harold Henry Farm:
In February 2011, Mr. Harold Henry donated a conservation easement over 152 acres on his Livingston County farm. This donation was the culmination of 10 years of work on this project. Mr. Henry's Unadilla Township farm is adjacent to the SMLC 242-acre Morris-Reichert Nature Preserve and the State of Michigan's Lakelands Trail State Park. The farm contains rolling topography with a combination of interesting natural features including a woods, wetlands, meadows and working agricultural lands. Mr. Henry's family has farmed the property since the 1940s, raising beef and dairy cattle and crops for the animals.

Edna S. Newnan Nature Sanctuary:
In October 2011, Mr. Henry Newnan donated a conservation easement over 88 acres in St. Clair County. This former farm contains a forested wetland area and fallow farm fields that belonged to his mother, Mrs. Edna S. Newnan, a long-time supporter of the Michigan Nature Association. MNA received a land donation from the estate at the same time. SMLC and MNA will work in partnership on this new nature preserve, a wonderful legacy to all the work that Mrs. Newnan did through the years for Michigan land conservation.

These successfully completed land donation projects were made possible by SMLC's generous supporters. Thank You!!

SMLC On The Radio

Listen to this May 2011 episode of the WEMU radio program "Issues of the Environment". Host Clark Smith interviews land protection consultant Barry Lonik who discusses the success of land preservation efforts in Washtenaw County.

Click the link below to read the June, 2011 Ann Arbor Observer article written by Barry Lonik:



Southeast Michigan Land Conservancy  |  8383 Vreeland Road, Superior Township, MI 48198  |  (734) 484-6565
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