Friday, November 27, 2pm Eastern
GREEN Friday at Fernwood
Fernwood Botanical Garden and Nature Preserve
Niles, Mich.

Skip shopping. Enjoy your friends and family in the natural world this year by joining the Harbor Country Hikers on a Green Friday hike at Fernwood. Our hike will be led by Steve Bornell, Fernwood’s facility and grounds keeper. Fernwood’s 55-acre Nature Preserve is both strikingly beautiful and unusually diverse. A 125-foot drop in elevation has created several natural communities, including dry and wet forests. young second-growth woods, streams and ponds, and a reconstructed tallgrass prairie. Species of endangered Michigan plants and animals are protected in the preserve. And, while you’re there, take time to visit Fernwood’s many facilities and gardens. Dress for the season. Wear long pants, sturdy shoes or boots and insect repellent, and bring water. Depending on the weather, there may be some muddy areas. The Hikers observe social distancing guidelines and the use of face masks is required.

Directions: Fernwood is at 13988 Range Line Road in Niles, Mich. From exit 7 off US31, head west on Walton Rd. for 1.7 miles to Range Line Road. Turn right and travel another 1.7 miles to the Fernwood entrance. GPS: 41.864881, -86.346176 (DD)
Estimated Presentation Time: 10 minutes
Estimated Total Time: 2 hours
Physical Difficulty: Moderate (some short climbs)
Hike Leader: Steve Bornell, Fernwood

Thursday, December 3, 7pm Eastern
Animals in Winter (Zoom Presentation)

Winter in Michigan brings many survival challenges: snow that covers the ground, cold temperatures, frozen water and reduced food sources. In response, animals have developed amazing strategies to survive these tough conditions. Some undertake a long migration to survive in warmer areas further south, while others escape by hibernating for months and months. Those that stay active all winter have developed incredible ways to cope with the harsh conditions.

Presenter Wendy Jones has lived in the Michiana area since 1991, and worked at Fernwood Botanical Gardens and Nature Preserve until summer 2020. She has a true naturalist’s base of knowledge about a wide variety of environmental topics.

Log-in Information:
Join Zoom Meeting
Meeting ID: 874 9916 3241


The Hikers will hold occasional Flash Hikes evenings, while it’s still light out, and weekends when there are no scheduled HCH events. These hikes will have no theme, no leader–just a walk in the woods with like-minded people.

The only notification of Flash Hikes will be by email to our list of members and others who’ve signed up for email notices of Hiker activities, and the emails announcing the Flash Hikes will go out two or three days beforehand. If you’re not on our email list and would like to be, send your address to As always, we look forward to hiking with you.

About Dogs…

Harbor Country Hikers welcomes dogs on our hikes, as long as they’re well-behaved and on leashes. Those who manage some of the trails we hike may feel otherwise, however, and they have the final word. Check with them before you bring the pooch. Chikaming Open Lands allows dogs in its preserves, as do the state parks. Chikaming Township Parks allow dogs. Berrien County Parks do not, nor do the New Buffalo Schools Nature Study Trails. Fernwood generally doesn’t, either, except on special occasions. The Dunes National Park generally allows dogs.

Other Hiking and Related Activities

Chikaming Open Lands’ Executive Vice President Ryan Postema presents Rare, Unique and Protected Plants and Wildlife in Our Local Ecosystems. This Zoom presentation, on Tuesday, December 8 at 7pm, examines Berrien County’s wide range of ecosystems and the plants and animals that call those ecosystems home. Sponsored by the Friends of the New Buffalo Library. Email for log-in information.

Fernwood Botanical Garden and Nature Preserve’s gardens and trails are open, but occupancy is limited and advance registration is required for both members and non-members. Fernwood is open 10am-5pm Tuesday through Saturday, and noon-5pm Sunday. To register, go the Fernwood’s website, Buildings are closed and activities are on hold.

Indiana Dunes National Park–most beaches and trails are open. For updates, visit

Indiana Dunes State Park
Call 219-926-1390 for information about park activities.