Earlham creates nature reserve system
Earlham College is increasing the visibility of its multiple natural areas across Wayne County by branding the properties collectively as the Earlham Nature Reserve System. Development of the ENRS includes the creation of a digital tool that will give visitors a single source to discover the numerous properties.
The ENRS represents multiple locations encompassing more than 400 acres of land managed for diversity, sustainability, research, and recreation.
The system includes not only on-campus properties, but other natural areas including ponds, creeks, rivers, prairies, forests and recreational trails for hiking and biological study.
“Our goal is to increase the visibility and use of these properties so that we can better highlight and honor the land and those that have shaped it,” said Chris Smith, associate professor of biology. “We are so grateful to inherit such an incredible resource. This wouldn’t be possible without the dedication of former faculty and students, and donations from friends of the College.”
Earlham says a series of new interactive maps showcases the properties and includes locations for parking. New signage, including a new logo for the nature reserve systems, is being developed.
Two Earlham alums are also contributing to the development and sustainability of the ENRS. Ricardo Jalen Sleet from the Class of 2018 will serve as property manager and Thomas Hill from the Class of 2019 will work as assistant property manager.
The school in Richmond has received multi-acre properties as gifts over the years from alumni and former faculty members, including:
- Sedgwick’s Rock Preserve, a 13-acre mixed woodland forest, gifted from emerita biology faculty Carrolle and Millard Markle.
- Wildman Wood – a 40-acre forested property that contains sections of old-growth and second-growth upland and lowland forest. It came from Bill and Ruth Wildman. Bill is a 1948 graduate of the schools.
- The adjacent Iverson Woods, which was gifted to the College by John Iverson, professor emeritus of biology, contains an unspoiled stream valley and upland woodlands.
- Reller’s Woods, a gift from the Reller family, is a 28-acre preserve of mature forest.
- The 100-acre Test Study Area was gifted to the College by Fred Test, Iverson and emeritus professor Bill Buskirk ’66.