The Highlands: An Update

The Highlands: An Update

 Monday, June 17th, 2024

 6:30 pm to 8:30 pm (Eastern Time)
 The Highlands, 2715 Leonard St NW, Grand Rapids, MI, 49504 Map

  • Public Welcome
  • Free Event
  • Group Tour
  • Nature Walk/Hike

Hike led by Justin Heslinga, Stewardship Director, Land Conservancy of West Michigan.

The Highlands Golf Club, adjacent to the Blandford Nature Center in Grand Rapids, was purchased in 2017 through a collaborative effort of the Blandford Nature Center and the Land Conservancy of West Michigan. The vision for the 121-acre parcel, now called The Highlands, is to transform it into a natural area for community recreation and education. With grasses already growing, a diverse wildlife population has moved in, including fox, deer, muskrats, and a variety of birds and insects. In the summer of 2022, a project was initiated to bring an underground stream back to the surface. Justin Heslinga will lead us on a tour of The Highlands, describing what has been accomplished to date, as well as future plans for the site.


Justin Heslinga is the Stewardship Director for the Land Conservancy of West Michigan. His position as Stewardship Director allows him to fulfill his strong commitment to protecting and caring for the rich diversity of West Michigan’s natural landscapes. Justin’s background includes working as a botanist, restoration ecologist, and environmental educator in the Midwest and in East Africa. Justin earned a Bachelor’s degree in Biology from Calvin College and a Master’s degree in Natural Resources and Environment from the University of Michigan.