In the creation of AL!VE’s outdoor areas named PRESERVE (a 5 acre-grassland prairie), EXPLORE (an outdoor walking path) and HARVEST (a community garden), many natural resource conservation management practices were top of mind. Creation of these areas was done in cooperation with the Conservation District, Pheasants Forever, Doty Wildflower, BEDHD, Fenner Nature Center and Eaton Federal Bank.
The primary purpose of PRESERVE is to educate the community, provide native plants, insects and animals a safe place to thrive and promote conservation and physical activity throughout the region. Currently EXPLORE is a 1/5 mile loop within PRESERVE and serves as the beginning of a regional trail system that will connect AL!VE to the greater Lansing community through a network of trails and sidewalks as defined in Step-By-Step’s non-motorized master plan. This master plan has been adopted by the City of Charlotte, Eaton and Caramel Township, Eaton County Parks and the Recreation Co-Op.
HARVEST, located within PRESERVE, has quickly become a focal point for children’s education. Four schools throughout Charlotte each manage and maintain their own themed garden within PRESERVE. Each year these children plant, weed, water and fertilize their garden while learning about agriculture, conservation and healthy nutrition. Following the harvest, their produce is used by the children in RELISH, AL!VE’s demonstration teaching kitchen, where they learn how to prepare, preserve and enjoy the fruits of their labor.
AL!VE has purposefully embarked on education of the greater Charlotte community on the conservation practices AL!VE is using in these areas. This has been done through interpretive signage along the walking path, presentations to local service clubs, hosting over 200 children from the Greater Lansing area’s child care centers for educational field trips in PRESERVE using Fenner Nature Center’s curriculum “Nature A-Bounds”, press releases on the controlled burn and xeriscaping and features on AL!VE’s in-house video walls included educational facts about PRESERVE and HARVEST.
The Eaton Conservation District would like to thank AL!VE for their commitment.