The Mt. Pleasant area is committed to improving the quality of life for its visitors and community members. One way of doing this is through sustainable efforts from different businesses and organizations that make up central Michigan. Keep reading to learn more ways on how the Mt. Pleasant area practices economic, societal and environmental sustainability.

Chippewa River Trails and the CWC

Central Michigan is home to the Chippewa Watershed Conservancy (CWC), who’s mission is to protect and restore central Michigan’s land, water, and wildlife resources to improve the quality of life for all. The focus on land protection, water quality, wildlife habitat, access to nature, environmental education, and sustainable management.

Not only does the CWC conserve and protect land, they are also home to 24 public nature preserves, 19 of which are located in Isabella County.  The “Big 4” preserves include Bundy Hill, Sylvan Solace, Hall’s Lake Natural Area and Audubon Woods, and the CWC typically hosts at least two group hiking events each month. These range from family-friendly outings, to hikes at night under a full moon.

CWC preserves also make the perfect spot for forest bathing. This Japanese practice quickly gaining traction within the United States, forest bathing can be as simple as walking in any natural environment while consciously connecting with your surroundings. This exercise is great for both adults and children and can be useful in teaching concentration and mindfulness.

Visit the CWC Website to learn more about recreation in central Michigan, conservation options and upcoming events!

Winter trail at a CWC Preserve.
Bundy Hill Preserve.


Whether looking for a more rugged bike ride through wooded trails or an easy-going family outing near city parks, the Mt. Pleasant area has it all! Traverse through the GKB Riverwalk Trail which connects four city parks, or visit Deerfield Nature Park which offers eight miles of trails for those looking to bike more rustic terrain.  The GKB Riverwalk is also accessibility friendly, offering extra wide pathways to accommodate devices such as wheelchairs.

To make biking more accessible to both visitors and community members alike, Mt. Pleasant has installed bicycle repair stations at three different locations, which hold a variety of tools and a pump for filling tires with air. These repair stations can be found in the Downtown Center, Island Park and Nelson Park.

Central Michigan University

Between its bike-friendly campus and its certification in environmental design, Central Michigan University has become a national leader in sustainability. Did you know that CMU has a zero-waste dining program? All food is composted at local businesses and then bought back by CMU to use as fertilizer for places such as the Jack Saunders Field, home of the Marching Chippewas.

You can also find examples of environmental sustainability at different buildings on CMU’s campus. The first floor of the Biosciences Building on the south end of campus is home to a fish tank and a green wall of plants, as well as a 6,700 square foot “green” roof that provides significant environmental benefits such as reducing stormwater runoff, improving air filtration and increasing roof life from the barrier created by the plants and soil.

CMU’s Graduate Housing, constructed in 2013, was the first multi-family building in the Midwest to receive a platinum certification from Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED). This means that its construction and operations are extremely environmentally friendly!

Discover more on how CMU practices sustainability by taking this virtual walking tour.

You can also find various CMU student organizations that help push sustainability efforts forward on campus and in the community! The CMU Sustainability Leadership Committee plans events and programs to help institutionalize sustainability across all of campus. CMU Fraternities and Sororities also partner with the City of Mt. Pleasant for “Greeks Clean the Streets,” where every semester they spend three to five weekends cleaning litter from campus and various places downtown in the mornings.

GreenTree Co-op Market

GreenTree Co-op Market has become Mt. Pleasant’s premier retail provider of organic and natural foods. They are committed to promoting sustainable consumer habits, reusing and recycling, and carrying locally produced items whenever possible.

The Co-op prioritizes waste reduction in many ways like using cotton cleaning cloths instead of paper towels, recycling all cans and jars used by the Deli as well as all cardboard boxes that are shipped in with products. Customers can even request leftover packaging materials such as bubble wrap and packing peanuts that are collected by the Co-op! GreenTree also practices sustainable habits by offering many items to be purchased in bulk and encourage shoppers to utilize their own reusable food containers if desired.

GreenTree bulk department.
Greentree produce section

One of GreenTree’s most innovative programs is Beans for Bags (previously known as Wooden Nickel Donation Program). Each time a customer brings in a reusable bag instead of using a new bag they receive a dried garbanzo bean equal to a donation of $.05 each. This is then donated to one of three organizations that GreenTree picks at their Annual Meeting Wrap Up each year. In 2017/2018 GreenTree owners and shoppers saved 8,631 bags from going through the carbon cycle!

Learn more about sustainability at GreenTree Co-op Market here.

Other Sustainable Mt. Pleasant Businesses

In addition to GreenTree Co-op Market, there are many other businesses in the Mt. Pleasant area that are green-friendly. One of Mt. Pleasant’s newest restaurants, Wood Shop Social, uses sustainable take-out containers. Another hot-spot, Ignite Donuts, uses recycled silverware.

Various coffee shops in Mt. Pleasant are also known for their sustainable practices. Both Ponder Coffee Co. and Creation Coffee use ethically sourced and sustainably grown coffee beans. Creation Coffee is also passionate about giving back to the community. With it’s Creating a Better World Fund, Creation makes a positive impact through different projects including education, building, medical services, providing clean water, and other charitable services. Learn more about the fund here.

Bags of coffee for sale at Creation Coffee

After it’s most recent renovation, Pleasant City Coffee filled its new seating area with wood benches and counter tops from Cone Furnishings, a local business that produces character-grade lumber for unique, one-of-a-kind pieces of furniture from already fallen trees. Cone Furnishings also reduces waste by producing scrap products that are made 100% with scrap material from both their Furniture Line and Custom projects.

Pure Vitality Juice Bar & Spa is dedicated to serving the community and promoting the greater good. Their cups are made from plants and are 100% biodegradable, all of their services are environmentally sustainable, and even most of their décor is made from recycled materials. Ever wonder what happens with the pulp left behind after receiving your freshly made juice? Pure Vitality takes it home to compost it for their garden which grows some of the produce featured at the juice bar!

Meet Mt. Pleasant

Be sure to check out these sustainable businesses and organizations during your next visit to the Mt. Pleasant area! Don’t forget to follow the Mt. Pleasant CVB on Facebook, Instagram and TikTok to keep up with all things central Michigan.

Image Credits: Chippewa Watershed Conservancy, Ignite Donuts

Fitzgerald, S. (2019, October 18). The secret to mindful travel? A walk in the woods