A girl wearing rubber boots and carrying binoculars bends over to look closely at a plant.
Girl Looking at Plant A young girl explores wildlife at the Nan Weston Nature Preserve at Sharon Hollow. © Michael D-L Jordan/dlp

Stories in Michigan

Enhance Your Preserve Experience

Find new ways to explore our preserves—at home or in the field.

Ways to Explore Michigan Preserves

Looking for an adventure off the beaten path? Explore different types of habitats across the state while taking in the beauty of Michigan's lands and waters at one of TNC's preserves.

The activities below will help you explore these areas from the comfort of home or out in the field. 

Explore Our Audio Tours

Take a tour through floodplain forests, wetlands, bluffs and marshes right from the palm of your hand. Our guided audio tours include stories, fun facts, historical notes and natural sounds to deepen your connection to place. Access the tour from the comfort of your home, or onsite as you hike! Explore our available audio tours below. 

  • A calm body of water with a treeline along the shore.

    Carl A. Gerstacker Nature Preserve at Dudley Bay

    This audio walking tour has two walking options each taking about an out-and-back journey that is two miles in total with a few small hills and rises. Access the audio tour.

  • A lush, green tree line is reflected in the water. The sky is covered in white clouds.

    Echo Lake Nature Preserve

    This tour takes you on an out-and-back journey to the peninsula overlook, about a 1 hour walk round trip. Or, you can add in some steeper hiking to an overlook with stunning views of the surrounding forestland and Lake Superior. Access the audio tour.

  • The light shines through the bright green leaves of the tree canopy.

    Nan Weston Nature Preserve at Sharon Hollow

    This walking tour takes you along a mile and a half route. Depending on how many stops you take, it will be about one hour until you reach the River Raisin. Access the audio tour.

  • Mushrooms growing in the green moss on the forest floor.

    Ross Coastal Plain Marsh Preserve

    This tour follows a 3-and-a-half-mile route that loops through the southern two-thirds of the nearly 1,500-acre preserve. It has an option to add another 1-and-a-half-mile loop near the end. Access the audio tour.

A spring peeper frog sits on a leaf.
Spring Peeper A spring peeper frog rests on a leaf at Michigan's Ross Coastal Plain Marsh Preserve. © Jason Whalen / Big Foot Media
A fritillary butterfly on wildflowers.
Fritillary Butterfly at Ross Preserve Fritillary butterfly enjoying wildflowers at Ross Coastal Plain Marsh Preserve. © Jason Whalen/Big Foot Media

Take the Tour at the Preserve

  • What should I do before I visit?
    • Download the free TravelStorys app to your smartphone or tablet from the App Store (iPhone) or Google Play (Android).
    • Search for the preserve you want to tour.
    • Click on the tour when it pops up, then click on the blue circle with the white arrow to download it to your device.
    • In your device settings, make sure GPS and location services are set to "allow all the time".
    • Charge your device and grab a pair of headphones (if you prefer). 
  • What should I do when I arrive?
    • In the preserve's parking area, open the TravelStorys app, and select the tour to begin (data service/internet is not required). 
    • As you hike, the audio will play at pre-programmed GPS points. It’s like a personal tour guide that you can carry in your pocket! 

Take the Tour at Home

  • How can I take the tour from home?
    • Visit travelstorys.com/tours and search for the preserve you’d like to tour. 
    • Click on the tour page and scroll to the green button “Explore this Preserve Remotely”.
    • From here, toggle your way through the interface at your own pace. Enjoy all the sights and sounds from the comfort of your home (or classroom!). 

Geocaching is a regulated activity at TNC.

In order to protect sensitive habitats and maintain a fun and safe activity, anyone wishing to place a geocache within our preserves must complete a permit application first. 

Treasure Hunt with Geocaching

Geocaching is an exciting way to explore the landscape, to discover something new, and share special places with outdoor enthusiasts. Players seek to locate hidden containers, called geocaches or earthcaches, using a smartphone or GPS. It gets the whole family outside to explore the natural world and teaches kids about navigation with the fun reward of finding real hidden "treasure". 

Geocaching 101 (1:16) Start your adventure today!

How to Start the Hunt

A group of smiling people in front of an Ives Road Fen Preserve sign.
A Conservation Community This program is completely volunteer-run and a great opportunity to join a friendly conservation-minded community. © TNC/Heywood


Step up for nature at Ives Road Fen Preserve in Lenawee County. Enjoy the beautiful sights and sounds as you remove garlic mustard in the floodplain next to the River Raisin and cut honeysuckle in the upland prairie. 

Work days take place every Saturday from 9 a.m. to 12 p.m. ET in the months of April, May, September, and October. To participate, contact Chuck Pearson at ivesroadfen@gmail.com or call 615-500-8229. 

Field Trips & Webinars

Visit nature.org/mievents for more information on guided hikes and educational webinars offered throughout the year. Keep scrolling to find recorded webinars in the video gallery below.