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The Stewards of Kleinstuck unite neighbors, ecologists and WMU land managers to create a healthier, more diverse and beautiful ecosystem in the Kleinstuck Preserve, for the benefit of our community and wildlife.
The Stewards of Kleinstuck (SoK) is a group of neighbors and land management experts formed in the fall of 2007 around our love for the 48-acre Kleinstuck Preserve. We’ve noticed over the years that the landscape has changed greatly with many of our beautiful Michigan natives being driven out by invasive species. The pond has been largely filled in by erosion and invasive plants and without active land management the preserve with continue to decline.
One of the major problems with these invasive species is that they don’t have natural predators in this area so they dominate and drive out the natives creating areas with only one or two varieties of plants. These areas of limited diversity are very unstable and vulnerable. So our goal is to gradually remove the invasive species and allow the natives to return and restore the balance. These efforts will benefit the land quality in and around Kleinstuck, but also the ground water quality, much of which drains down through Kleinstuck.
We have so far received wonderful support from neighbors as well as Western Michigan University who own the property. One of our greatest assets is Nate Fuller, Conservation Director of the Southwest Michigan Land Conservancy (SWMLC, swmlc.org) and resident of Hillcrest neighborhood near Kleinstuck preserve. He has offered his professional services to design a management plan for Kleinstuck and is committed to guiding our work and teaching us about the land and its preservation.
He has broad experience, extensive knowledge in ecology and land-management, and is passionate about protecting natural areas. We also have Paul MacNellis, with 39 years of experience in landscaping at Western Michigan University, and an equally strong commitment to helping preserve Kleinstuck. Stephan Keto, Natural Areas and Preserves Manager at WMU, is also an invaluable asset to our organization.