The Ethel Coeling Environmental Fund was established through an estate gift in 2002, but is open to all donors who care about the natural resources in Charlevoix County. This impactful fund has been able to protect, preserve, restore, and improve the precious environmental assets through grants for a wide variety of projects. Area lakes, rivers, and streams are kept in good condition thanks to projects like road stream crossing improvements on the Boyne and Jordan Rivers and Stover Creek. The stormwater management plan for Boyne Falls mitigates the impact of stormwater runoff into water resources. Targeted programs to improve fish habitat and reduce invasive plant species in Lake Charlevoix have also received grant support.
Grants from the Environmental Fund have assisted with trail improvements and signage on Beaver Island, at the Postle Preserve on Walloon Lake, at the Susan Creek Nature Preserve near Charlevoix, on the Lake-to-Lake Trail connecting Lake Charlevoix to Lake Michigan, as well as on the Avalanche Destination Trails in Boyne City. Non-motorized trails enhance quality of life for residents but also draw visitors to the area.
With an understanding that our next generation must experience our natural resources in order to value and preserve them, several nonprofit organizations focus on environmental education programs. The Community Foundation has supported several programs aimed at elementary-age children as well as the Watershed Academy, a hands-on opportunity provided by the Tip of the Mitt Watershed Council for high school students. The Little Traverse Conservancy’s Bio Blitz was an opportunity for individuals of all ages to learn about and explore nature in a 24-hour period.
The Environmental Fund also supports the important planning component of restoring and preserving our natural areas through municipal master plans, parks and recreation plans, and watershed management plans. These behind-the-scenes research, planning, and implementation tools are available in communities like East Jordan, Charlevoix, Boyne Valley Township, and even Camp Sea Gull thanks to the Environmental Fund.
Because the Environmental Fund is endowed, it will continue to grow and provide grant dollars for these kinds of programs and projects and more, both now and into the future. Contributions to the Environmental Fund join together, resulting in greater impact for this community we love.
Photo: Monitoring water quality, controlling river bank erosion, prioritizing road stream crossing improvements and more have received grant support from the Enviromental Fund.