West Michigan Cluster (WMC) of the Stewardship Network was formed in 2006 by The Nature Conservancy and the Land Conservancy of West Michigan. Representatives from environmental groups, municipalities, conservation districts, county parks, state and federal government agencies and private landowners comprise the WMC. This diverse group is successful because we partner together to carry out our common mission, as we share responsibilities, and resources.
The WMC’s goal is to teach people how to be better stewards of the land and water. We work in partnership with nature to preserve and restore original landscapes so future generations may enjoy the beauty of our natural heritage.
Our main focus in WMC is invasive plant species; specifically, our development of Early Detection Rapid Response (EDRR) program. Our emphasis is on oriental bittersweet, pale or black swallow-wort and Japanese knotweed. Our next step is the formation of a Cooperative Weed Management Area (CWMA) with the US Forest Service to provide expanded services and programs for invasive species.
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Citizen Scientist Tool Box Workshop
Thursday, February 6th 6:30 to 8:30 pm
Cost: Suggested donation of $5 at the door.
Location: Calvin College Ecosystem Preserve, Bunker Interpretive Center. Address: 1750 E. Beltline Ave SE Grand Rapids, MI 49546
Registration Closed | **Registration recommended to secure your spot, walk-ins are welcome too**
Come discover how your observations of nature can help scientists expand scientific knowledge by learning about a variety of citizen science programs you can participate in. From Ebird to Michigan HerpWatch to the Great Lakes Worm Watch Project, we will highlight a variety of flora and fauna projects that need your help.
Additionally, bring your smart devices to discover how these technology tools and other online resources can help you enjoy your outdoor exploration, identify species, learn more, and provide scientists with valuable data at the same time.
This workshop is also great for teachers, scout leaders, and homeschool parents looking to incorporate real world data collection into their teaching.
Newaygo County Wildlands Educational Hikes
Times: 12:00 pm to 3:00 pm
Wildflower Hike: May 3, 2014 - Loda Lake National Wildflower Sanctuary, White Cloud, MI
Click here to register!
Remnant Oak Savanna Tromp: June 18, 2014 - Coolbough Nature Sanctuary, Brooks Twp.
Glacial Features Fall Color Hike: October 18, 2014 - North Country Trail, Brooks Twp.
For additional information or if you have questions, Please contact WMC@StewardshipNetwork.org
Gardening for Nature: Creating Sustainable Landscapes for the Home, School, and Business
Saturday, June 14th: 8:00 am to 4:30 pm
Cost: $35 Stewardship Network Members / $45 Non-Members
Location: Calvin College Ecosystem Preserve, Bunker Interpretive Center
Click Here To Register| **Registration required to secure your spot. Registration Deadline: Wednesday, June 4, 2014**
This conference will offer a variety of sessions which will outline the principles and techniques involved in the creation of sustainable landscapes for the home garden, school outdoor learning lab, or business property. This workshop is designed for home owners, educators, and grounds managers interested in using native plant material to develop urban habitats. Landscaping with native plant species is shown to improve biodiversity, reduce water and chemical use, lower maintenance costs and provide place based learning experiences for all ages. See workshop Brochure below for additional details!
Contemporary Issues in Forestry Management
Friday, August 8th 8:30 -12:30 pm
Cost: $15 Stewardship Network Members / $20 Non-Members
According to the American Society of Foresters “prediction is the cornerstone on which professional sustainable forestry is built”. Land owners, managers and forest professionals are invited to this workshop to learn what specialists have witnessed and are predicting for Michigan forests. Participants will gain a broader understanding of complex forest issues and receive an update on how to identify current pests and their locations throughout the State and West Michigan specifically. Participants will learn current management challenges, research and policies that affect our valued trees. Attend and earn 4 pesticide CEUs. Registration to come!
“West Michigan Cluster will work within our service area to detect new invasive species on private and public lands in an attempt to eradicate them before they are widespread, causing ecologic and economic harm.”
In 2009 the West Michigan Cluster began training volunteers to identify three new species to West Michigan and report them to the Midwest Invasive Species Information Network (MISIN). These species are:
swallow-wort (both pale and black)
This year volunteers went to the locations reported to MISIN to distribute informational door hangers about the species found on or near their property.
If you recieved one of these door hangers, please visit MISIN to learn more about these species. If you are looking for someone to assist in treatment of these species, the following are Licensed Pesticide Applicators with experience with invasive plants:
For Small Infestations:
Enchanted Gardener (owners Deb and James Sears) email@example.com
For Larger Infestations:
Cardno JFNew (616)-847-1680
Wildtype Nursery (517) 244-1140
Native Connections (269) 580-4765
Contact the West Michigan Cluster
Cluster Co-coordinators for the West Michigan Cluster are Ginny Wanty (Kent County MSU Extension) and Mike Bruggink (Fen View Design). Both can be reached by email at
With Leadership From
Fen View Design
Michigan State University Extension
Ada Township Parks and Recreation
Blandford Nature Center
Calvin College Ecosystem Preserve
Dwight Lydell Chapter of Izaak Walton League
Friends of Grand Rapids Parks
Grand Valley State University
Howard Christensen Nature Center
Kent Conservation District
Kent County Parks
Land Conservancy of West Michigan
Michigan Department of Natural Resources - State Parks
Michigan Garden Clubs
Michigan Nature Association
The Nature Conservancy - West MI Office
Newaygo County Volunteers EDRR
North Country Trail Association
Ottawa County Conservation District
Ottawa County Parks and Recreation Commission
US Forest Service - Baldwin Ranger Station
Wild Ones - River City Grand Rapids Chapter
Wittenbach/Wege Agriscience & Environmental Education Center
We'd Love to Have You!
We would like to invite you to join our Cluster. Groups and individuals who may be interested include: Community Service volunteers, Eagle Scouts, Master Gardeners, Conservation Stewards, field interns, people who want to connect to nature, people who want to meet with like-mnded people, and people who like getting exercise outdoors. Let's have some fun!