It's easy to get lost in the beauty of Fenton's 155-acre Dauner Martin Nature Sanctuary, located in the heart of the city. The sanctuary is a perfect place to get away from it all and enjoy the natural surroundings. Stroll along 4.5 miles of marked trails and you'll see hundreds of colorful wildflowers, trees, birds and maybe even a deer.
The preservation of three nature sanctuaries and funding for future land acquisition is one reason the Michigan Nature Association (MNA) established a Designated Fund with the Community Foundation. In addition to Dauner Martin Nature Sanctuary, the MNA owns the Save It Creek Nature Sanctuary in Linden, and the White Cedar Swamps Nature Sanctuary near Otisville.
"Leave only footprints, take only pictures" is the mantra for the 165 different nature sanctuaries preserved by MNA. The sanctuaries are kept in their natural state and endangered species within them are protected. Volunteers are always needed to help with routine upkeep that includes grooming the foot trails and keeping the area spruced up, said Bob Roehrig, volunteer steward at the Dauner Martin Nature Sanctuary.
"If someone were blindfolded and dropped off in the middle of the sanctuary, they would think they were up north," said Roehrig. "It really is incredible for this area." Supporters of MNA recognize the need to conserve our natural heritage and protect rare and endangered plants, animals and habitats, added Jeremy Emmi, MNA Executive Director.
"We are a statewide organization that wants to keep our local roots and help our donors make a difference at home," Emmi said. "Genesee County is one of those major metropolitan areas where we would like to do more. People need natural resources nearby, not just far away, so we are committed to doing more work in this area."