Under the Cedars

After a summer working in the preserves of Lake Forest Open Lands, the CCL summer interns traveled to northern Michigan to expand their environmental exposure and reinforce their learning.

Thanks to LFOLA Board member Marion Cartwright, we were able to work with the Leelanau Conservancy in their beautiful newly restored lakeside preserve. We had a fantastic day with director Jenee Rowe and her wonderful staff members, Andrew, Derek, Sarah and Emily.


Jenee shared the following thoughts with us:

I love adventures like this!

I think your kids are amazing and each showed their enjoyment of nature in different ways. I was struck by one young man who sat on the shore of Little Traverse Lake under the cedars and just sat quietly. Then he turned to me and said that he just has never seen a lake like this and this is how they should be- clean.  That was a gift.


I also really enjoyed watching Alex’s [ Porcayo, another CCL intern] eyes dart around looking for birds, noticing different plant names, repeating them again and again to himself quietly as we walked down the boardwalk. Another gift.


After our work we were treated to  a kayak trip down the clear Crystal River. Jenee arranged for wildlife biologist Eric Ellis to paddle with us and talk to us about the unique ecosystem of this special place. Sharon Oriel, a Leelanau Conservancy board member, and her husband Pat live on the river and invited us in as we paddled by for  cookies and lemonade. What a delicious pit stop!


CCL intern Maya Beville wrote about this experience:

I learned a lot from kayaking on the Crystal River. Our guide Eric was very informative about the river. He talked about the way dams affect the way the river flows and how building a dam can change the whole ecosystem. He pointed out many species of wildlife and plants along the trip. A highlight for me was the Scarlet Tanager - a bird that needs lots of open space with no development. The bird thrives on the river because the river meanders through state park land and there are few houses on the way. We did, however, stop at house along the river. The hosts were really nice and helped me out specially because I got really cold. They gave us cookies, lemonade and hot chocolate with lots of marshmallows. I enjoyed kayaking because I have never done it before, did pretty well and learned as we paddled.