Citizen Photo Monitoring

Creating Images of Changing Landscapes with your Photos

Fifteen years ago, Lamberton Lake Fen was at the brink of becoming permanently overrun by the invasive glossy buckthorn. The buckthorn threatened to destroy the endangered plants and animals living there and rid the City of Grand Rapids of a rare urban nature preserve. With the help of hundreds of volunteers the core of the fen has been freed of buckthorn. The picture below shows a striking image of that restoration. Photos like this not only enliven our spirits, they help provide important information about the restoration work on these preserves and help us to be as effective as possible. We want your help to photograph change at several nature preserves so we can continue sharing these success stories.

Add your Photos to a Collage of Change

Signs installed at five different nature preserves will help you to capture pictures of a changing landscape. Your pictures will be used to monitor the progress of volunteers and staff who have worked tirelessly to remove invasive species, restore native plants and help create healthy ecosystems for wildlife and people to enjoy.

Saul Lake Bog Photo Station (thanks to all those who are sending photos!)

How it works:

When you see one of the signs shown below, simply place your camera or your phone in the bracket on the sign and post your photo to Twitter or Instagram, without a filter, with the hashtag #PhotoMonitorLCWM. Or you can email us the photo at and your photo will become part of a real time collage of change.

Comm-0516-Photo Sign SLB

Find a photo monitoring station at any of the following locations

Bradford Dickinson White Nature Preserve

Located near Lowell, the B.D. White Nature Preserve is a natural landscape legacy. With rolling terrain, a cold water stream, and a meandering trail, the preserve provides habitat for a multitude of wildlife and serves as a natural area for people to enjoy and learn.

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Lamberton Lake Fen Nature Preserve

Lamberton Lake Fen Nature Preserve is the Land Conservancy’s most urban preserve. Despite being within the Grand Rapids city limits, the preserve protects a high-quality prairie fen, a type of wetland that is very rare in West Michigan.

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Maas Family Nature Preserve

Located in Rockford, the Maas Family Preserve is home to a remnant oak-pine barrens ecosystem–a unique savanna community that supports the endangered Karner blue butterfly. The preserve is a popular stop-off point for users of the White Pine Trail, particularly in May and June when the purple lupine is in full bloom.

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Saul Lake Bog Nature Preserve

Located east of Rockford, Saul Lake Bog Nature Preserve is one of West Michigan’s flagship natural areas. Convenient parking and over a mile of meandering trails allow visitors to appreciate the bog, prairie, forests, and fields–and the diversity of wildlife they support–in all seasons.

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Wege Foundation Natural Area

Located just outside of Lowell, adjacent to Lowell High School and the Wittenbach/Wege Environmental Center, this preserve is often used as an outdoor classroom by Lowell-area students and nature enthusiasts. Hiking trails wind through mixed hardwood forests, cross over a trout stream, and wander through old farm pastures.

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The Highlands

The Highlands is a collaborative project between the Land Conservancy and Blandford Nature Center. It is located in the heart of Grand Rapids at the former Highlands Golf Club and is currently undergoing planning and restoration.

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