Our missionTo preserve and protect open spaces in southern Berrien County.
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Ways to help

Preserve Steward

If a monthly Workday is not enough for you, consider becoming a Preserve Steward! Each preserve has a Steward that helps monitor the property, gives input on management plans, and tracks progress toward goals. On-the-ground work involves visiting the park regularly, removing invasive plants, monitoring wildlife, and assisting at Stewardship Workdays.
  • Weekly, Monthly
  • 55+, Adults
  • Individuals
  • Outdoor
  • Formal
  • Weekdays, Weekends

Butterfly Monitoring

Become a butterfly monitoring volunteer! Help assess the population status of our state's butterfly species, evaluate the quality of Michigan ecosystems, and engage in significant community science research! Your monitoring schedule is up to you! Once you have your route, you can visit whenever it is convenient. Data will be submitted through an online portal. To become a butterfly monitoring volunteer, you must complete two training sessions on how to properly follow butterfly monitoring protocols.
  • Occasional, Weekly, Monthly
  • 55+, Adults
  • Individuals
  • Outdoor
  • Formal
  • Weekdays, Weekends

Office Help

Sometimes we need extra hands in the office. This can include office maintenance, stuffing envelopes, mailing newsletters, event and program preparation and more.
  • Weekly, Monthly
  • 55+, Adults
  • Individuals
  • Office work, Indoor
  • None, On-site
  • Weekdays

Hike/Program Leader

Share your passion! Throughout the year COL hosts a variety of guided hikes, workshops, and events with a focus on land and water conservation. Contact the COL office if you are interested in being a hike or program leader on a topic you are passionate about and would love to share your expertise knowledge with the local community.
  • Weekly, Monthly
  • 55+, Adults
  • Individuals
  • Outdoor
  • Formal
  • Weekdays, Weekends

Group Work Days

We would love to host your group for a volunteer Stewardship Day! We welcome scout troops, business employees, students, and other large groups to schedule a day to help out on our preserves.
  • One-time, Occasional
  • Teens, 55+, Adults, Child with Adult
  • Groups (2-10), Groups (10+), Corporate Teams
  • Outdoor
  • None, On-site
  • Weekdays, Weekends

Mighty Acorns

The Mighty Acorns is an environmental education program that connects students to multiple, meaningful and sustained interactions with their local ecosystems. This unique program is designed for 3rd-5th grade students and has a designed in-classroom curriculum along with an outdoor field study trip to a COL preserve during the fall, winter, and spring. COL is excited to partner with New Buffalo, Three Oaks and Bridgman Elementary schools to bring the students out to our preserves. As a Mighty Acorns volunteer you will help assist on field study trips and help support the next generation of conservation-minded people.
  • Occasional, Monthly
  • 55+, Adults
  • Individuals
  • Outdoor
  • On-site
  • Weekdays

iNaturalist and eBird Apps

We invite you to use iNaturalist and eBird, identification apps that allow you to learn and help. The apps do not require any plant or bird identification knowledge and both work with any smart phone. You can quickly upload photos from the field and receive identification help and comments from other nature enthusiasts. In addition to helping you improve your identification skills you can allow us to see all of the common, rare, or exciting species that have been recorded at a given property. This allows us to track all species and understand where our efforts need the most attention.
  • Occasional, Weekly, Monthly
  • Teens, 55+, Adults, Child with Adult
  • Individuals, Groups (2-10), Families
  • Outdoor
  • None
  • Weekdays, Weekends

Stewardship Work Days

Our work days are on the second Saturday from March through November. Our workdays are from 10:00 am to 12:00 pm EST and are open to the public. Help us with a multitude of preserve work including invasive species removal, trail maintenance, planting native species, installing trail signage, and much more. Enjoy a Saturday getting to know people who care about conservation work all while learning and helping take care of COL preserves. Information about each Stewardship Workday is found on our events page.
  • Occasional, Monthly
  • Teens, 55+, Adults, Child with Adult
  • Individuals, Groups (2-10), Families
  • Outdoor
  • None, On-site
  • Weekends
How you helpHelp us make a difference! Are you interested in volunteering for Chiming Open Lands? We offer a wide variety of volunteer opportunities.
About usWe are dedicated to protect and restore native plant and animal habitat in the area, improve water quality in our rivers, streams, throughout the Galien River watershed and in Lake Michigan. We permanently protect ecologically significant forests, prairies and wetlands, as well as prime farmland and other open spaces in this community. To date we have over 2,000 acres protected and growing in our services area.
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