Mission Statement: WMU's Natural Areas Program partners with students and faculty, local ecological organizations, area schools, and volunteer groups in order to promote environmental stewardship, provide research and education opportunities, and create healthier natural areas on WMU properties.
While Western Michigan University has always strived to implement sustainable practices and promote environmental stewardship on campus, WMU Landscape Services has recently taken it a step further. In addition to the 132 acres of natural wooded areas on WMU's campus, the University owns two nature preserves (322 acres) and maintains natural stormwater detention/retention basins. In recent years, the University has made the conscious decision to not only maintain safety in these areas, but to begin managing for ecological health and education opportunities. The Natural Areas Program is unique in that very few universities currently dedicate resources to programs which actively manage natural areas for research, education, passive recreation and ecological health.
Asylum Lake Preserve
Asylum Lake Preserve is a 274-acre nature preserve that is owned and managed by Western Michigan University. The lake and adjoining property lie in the West Fork of the Portage Creek Watershed. This property serves as a research area for professors and students of anthropology, biology, geography, hydrogeology, and environmental studies at WMU as well as other educational institutions.
In September of 2008, management plans were developed for each of the nine habitat types in the preserve. A natural features inventory of the property was completed recently, outlining vegetation types, avian inventories and management strategies.
Asylum Lake Preserve is a perfect outdoor education classroom and events for adults and children are held throughout the year. Tours and topics that feature the history, plants and animals, as well as management activities and research are popular.
For more information, please visit the NEWLY RENOVATED Asylum Lake Preserve website:
Kleinstuck Preserve is a 48-acre nature preserve owned and managed by Western Michigan University. This property is open to the public for passive recreation and is used by WMU and other educational institutions for research and education purposes.
The Stewards of Kleinstuck (SoK) are a dedicated group of local citizen volunteers that actively assist the WMU Natural Areas and Preserves Program in protecting and improving the environmental health of the Preserve. They meet regularly for work days and events in the preserve using the Kleinstuck management plan as a guide for ecological restoration. To see the work of SoK or join them in this important, educational, and enjoyable activiirty vist thier website at:
For more information, please visit the WMU Kleinstuck Preserve website:
or visit the Kleinstuck Preserve page in the sidebar of this page.
WMU has made it a priority to better manage storm water on campus. While the University has been implementing stormwater Best Management Practices (BMPs) since 1998, WMU has recently made a commitment to filter and/or treat all stormwater which falls on WMU's campus before the water enters surrounding watersheds. The process is underway with the addition of retention/detention basins and rain gardens to the campus landscape. A Stormwater Master Plan is currently being developed as well. Management plans have been created for some of the more established stormwater treatment areas on campus such as the area across from Gilmore Theatre near Parking Lot 23.
Interested in dedicating a tree?
Have it planted in one of WMU's Natural Areas!
For more information, please read the documents below.
Signs like these can be seen on campus sites as part of the public relations effort needed when natural areas are managed. This sign on the south side of the Goldworth Valley Pond, informed customers about habitat management that was accomplished as part of a "Sping into the Streets" volunteer event.
As Landscape Services crews and Natural Areas volunteers begin the work of ecological restoration in campus woodlots, signs like these will help customers understand the work in progress.