Nature is ever at work building and pulling down, creating and destroying, keeping everything whirling and flowing, allowing no rest but in rhythmical motion, chasing everything in endless song out of one beautiful form or another.
-John Muir (Papers)
Does this passage from the great naturalist John Muir resonate with you as we approach spring, the season of rebuilding? It reflects not only nature’s rhythmical motion, but perhaps your own as well. We have all had a profound brush with nature this winter, in the form of wild weather. It has been rough, but correspondingly splendid too, if we allow ourselves a moment to take in the wonders that surround us. Just the other night I found myself outside, before dawn, and I looked up at the most astounding illuminated crescent moon with a glimmering Venus at her side.
We often find ourselves, here at Legacy, focusing on the tasks at hand. But, for this spring letter, we have an opportunity to take a breath and look back this past year with immense appreciation. How fortunate we are to be so blessed with the volunteers and supporters that help make our engine run. We are thriving because of people like you.
Over the past year we have continued to add more farms, forests, and fields to the list of conservation lands that will define our community for generations. By June 30, we expect to cross the 6,000 acre mark! We are steadily moving toward the 25,000 acres we have promised to conserve; and we—Legacy and our many supporters in the community—are all making this journey together.
One recent Legacy project that has particularly captured the public’s imagination is our 92-acre Reichert Preserve, which includes two kettle lakes, ponds, parts of Portage Creek and Little Portage Lake, wetlands, and dry oak forests. The preserve was a gift from Dr. Rudy Reichert and his family. It is not just a slice of natural beauty; it is also a property of remarkable historical significance. It was home to Native peoples, who left a treasure trove of artifacts discovered by the Reichert children over the years. As part of the Huron River watershed, it was the site of exploration into the territory. In 1790, British trader Hugh Heward and seven French-Canadian engagés crossed the lower peninsula in two birch-bark canoes, camping at what is today the Reichert Preserve (you can find a fascinating account of this journey by Jim Woodruff in Across Lower Michigan by Canoe, 1790, in the U-M Library collection). It is marvelous to realize that these early inhabitants and explorers would still recognize many of the same natural features today, because succeeding generations of Michiganders have cherished the land enough to protect it. It’s a special place.
The Reichert Preserve provides us with rare and wondrous opportunities. We are creating a vision for this preserve that we hope will honor the Reichert family. We are working with partner organizations to develop educational programming for children and adults. We will add new parking and bring in solar power to serve the rustic buildings. We want to show our strong commitment to this community by creating opportunities for all to learn from and enjoy this beautiful property.
Please take a moment to consider supporting the Reichert Preserve Project. The work we begin today will provide an extraordinary asset to our community for many years to come.
Every year we engage our supporters with a spring appeal. This year, you may choose to support a specific project, such as the Reichert Preserve. You may also wish to consider contributing to:
- The Waterloo Fund, which supports Legacy’s work in southern Michigan’s largest public park
- The Farmland Fund, which supports Legacy’s efforts to sustain working farms in our community
- The Legacy General Fund, which gives us the flexibility to conserve fresh waters, working farms, and recreational lands when the opportunity presents itself
- The Stewardship Fund, which provides for on-going preserve upkeep and public accessibility
We invite you to join with us this spring and, in the spirit of the season, we ask you to help us build and rebuild, to begin anew those efforts that will keep this corner of Michigan a healthy and beautiful place to live. Thank you so much for your continued support. Our promise to you in return is that we will continue to work towards protecting and preserving our community, now and forever.
Please click here to donate to Legacy today.