Nature Notes – Nature Outings

Nature Outings for Mother’s Day Weekend

by Jill K. McDonald

Are you looking for some fun ideas to enjoy the great outdoors this weekend near Buchanan? Whether you’re seeking some peaceful solo time in nature, looking for a family adventure, or trying to figure out a nice activity to enjoy with your Mom, there are options you can enjoy just a short drive away.

A few great options to explore near Buchanan this spring:

1. McCoy’s Creek Trail

This trail system meanders through forests with spring wildflowers, alongside a peaceful creek, and into and through the nice downtown area. If you’re in the downtown area, the trail will pass by the historic Pears Mill and Tin Shop Theatre. Spring wildflowers are sure to delight, as well as the sounds of various birds and the babbling creek. 

McCoy’s Creek Trail map

Parking for the east section of the trail at E.B. Clark Woods can be found off Schirmer Parkway or at the corner of Skyline and E. Third Street. For easy parking access to the west section of the trail, parking can be found off McCoy Creek Drive, near W. Smith Street.

For the map, check out:

2. Trillium Ravine Plant Preserve

Nestled just four miles northeast of downtown Buchanan, this 15-acre gem shows off unique beauty in the month of May. This Michigan Nature Association (MNA) preserve is a single-loop trail that is beautifully carpeted with trillium flowers in May, in addition to many other spring wildflowers. 

Trillium Ravine Preserve, Photo by Jill McDonald

It may be somewhat tricky to find, here’s how to get there: On Walton Road, turn south at the first road east of the bypass onto E. Geyer Road, which will become Riverside Road. Be respectful with your driving, as you’ll be going through a neighborhood. From Walton Road, it is almost one mile to the preserve. If you reach farmland, you have just passed it. Parking is simply pulling off to the side of the road. Signage informs you about the preserve.

For more info, check out:

3. Fernwood Botanical Gardens

Located at the edge of Niles and Buchanan, Fernwood is a peaceful 105-acre oasis of gardens, woodland trails, ponds, tallgrass prairie, an education center, railway garden, gift shop, cafe, and much more. It is located on Range Line Road, off of Walton. 

For more info, check out their website:

4. Nature at Home
Hummingbird feeding, Photo by Jill K. McDonald

Last but not least, if you’re looking to enjoy something simple at home, perhaps put some bird feeders outside your windows to attract the many winged beauties. Sunflower seed attracts a great variety of birds. Also, don’t forget the hummingbirds. Simple homemade nectar of 4 parts water to 1 part white sugar is key. No dye is needed and it’s best to do without.

Whatever adventure you choose this weekend, may you enjoy all the peace and beauty found among nature!

Jill K. McDonald is a freelance nature & travel educator, writer, photographer, and speaker. She can be reached by email at or connect with her on Facebook at:

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