Palmer Memorial Nature Sanctuary
The Palmer Memorial Nature Sanctuary is maintained by the Michigan Nature Association (MNA), and is located west of Schoolcraft. Its land was donated by the Palmer Family; Reverend Palmer was minister at People’s Church from 1934-1956. This land provides a great place to hike, learn, and practice stewardship.
A large part of the sanctuary is a fen. A fen is a nutrient-rich wetland whose water source is groundwater seeps and springs. Fens are important habitats since they include a disproportionate number of rare and endangered species. MNA staff and volunteers help to maintain the Palmer Fen. Invasive species threaten the natural mix of native plants and animals, so several times each year work is done to help eradicate the invasive plants, including selective application of herbicide and controlled burning.
People’s Church volunteers have taken trips to the fen for the past several years. Some of these were hikes led by MNA staff, and these were always fun and informative. The hikes start in a woods with large, beautiful trees, cross a stream, and move into the wetlands. During the last several winters, we met with MNA staff to help eradicate glossy buckthorn, which tends to take over and leave less room for native plant species.
MNA has made some staff changes recently, but we hope other outings will be set up for later this year. You are welcome to join the fun! There are no formal trails, so the walking can be muddy and challenging in places, but the learning, fun, and important work make it all worthwhile. Be on the lookout for information on hikes and workdays at the Palmer Memorial Nature Sanctuary!