Ceremony Held To Mark Creation Of New Jefferson Co. Nature Preserve

A ceremony was held October 25 to mark the creation of a new nature preserve in Jefferson County, WV.

The ceremony was held at the preserve property, which is located at 1469 Lloyd Road, about 6 miles south west of Charles Town. The property is 12 acres in size and includes a 2,000-square foot main building and two other structures. It was donated in late September to the Potomac Audubon Society (PVAS) by the nonprofit CraftWorks organization, which used to occupy the site. The preserve will be known as the Cool Spring Nature Preserve.

PVAS is establishing its headquarters there and hopes to use the property to expand its nature education efforts through new school programs, summer day camps, and programs aimed at home schools, scouts and other audiences.

The property includes trails that will be open to the public on a regular basis year-round. About 50 people attended the ceremony. Speakers included PVAS Executive Director Kristin Alexander, PVAS President Michael Sullivan; Linda Case, President of CraftWorks; Jefferson County Commission President Patsy Noland; Jefferson County Commissioner Jane Tabb; and Dr. Bondy Shay Gibson, Jefferson County Superintendent of Schools. U.S. Senator Joe Manchin sent a letter of greetings, and U.S. Senator Shelly Moore Capito’s Field Representative, Chris Strovel, was in attendance. Also attending were County Commissioner Dale Manuel and State Representative Stephen Skinner.

Speakers stressed the importance of preserving natural resources and commended CraftWorks and Ms. Case for their vision in developing the property for public use and their generosity in turning it over to PVAS. Commissioner Noland said she looked forward to the educational programming PVAS is planning to provide at the site, saying it will benefit “so many people and the county as well.” Ms. Alexander announced there will be a Community Open House at the preserve on Sunday, November 13, from 1:00 to 4:00 p.m., and everyone is invited to attend. “We want this to be the county’s place,” she said.

The accompanying photo shows, from left to right, County Commissioners Noland, Manuel and Tabb, and Alexander and Sullivan.

Although the new Cool Spring Nature Preserve is small in size, it is distinctive from a conservation standpoint because it includes portions of historic Bullskin Run and the Cool Spring Marsh. The Marsh is a very rare landscape feature: a Shenandoah Wet Prairie Marl Marsh. Only 100 acres of this type of marsh are known to exist in the world, and this is the only known example in West Virginia. The marsh includes a significant number of plants that are rare and very rare in the state.

Overall, the Preserve supports a wide variety of plants and animals and it is considered a birding “hotspot.” The Potomac Valley Audubon Society, which was founded in 1982. In addition to the Cool Spring preserve, it manages three other nature preserves in West Virginia’s Eastern Panhandle: the Yankauer and Stauffer’s Marsh preserves in Berkeley County and the Eidolon preserve in Morgan County. The addition of the Cool Spring Preserve brings the total amount of nature preserve land managed by the organization to 512 acres.