WARSAW — With communities coming up with fresh ideas to advance their cities with enticing architecture, welcoming neighborhoods and outstanding businesses, it’s easy to get so wrapped up the importance of preserving indigenous wildlife is forgotten. ACRES Land Trust, a non-profit organization, has taken responsibility of the Wayne Township Property — a prairie being restored for the native Indiana plants it contains.
People preserve and protect natural land for a variety of reasons, whether it be economic benefits where people enjoy living close to beautiful scenic outdoor areas, for plants and wildlife or for scientific reasons. Natural land shouldn’t be forgotten and torn down for commercial buildings. Nature should be preserved for future generations to appreciate, admire and learn from.
“We have a responsibility to care for our environment. Natural lands are an important heritage for northern Indiana and they provide benefits to our local communities,” explained Nathan Bosch, director at Lilly Center for Lakes & Streams and associate professor of environmental science. “It gives local residents and visitors an improved quality of life, including educational and recreational opportunities. Caring for our land helps care for our downslope lakes and streams, which are important to our local identity and economy.
“Seeds from 10 species of prairie plants were collected from the property in 2013 and 2014, by Grace College students in the environmental science program, with the assistance of Blue Heron Ministries. These seeds and others collected locally were used in the restoration of one of the experimental prairie plots on Grace’s campus.”
ACRES hosts workdays but also has members who remove invasive species from the land so native plants can continue to prosper. It’s unknown when the 7-acre prairie will be fully restored, but patience is a necessity when it comes to caring for wildlife. The 40 adjoining acres of wetland and swamp area will also be preserved, allowing a drainage project to take place and enhance the water quality.
“We felt pretty excited to learn about this and be able to take the opportunity to protect and restore it,” stated Lettie Haver, outreach manager of ACRES. “It seems likely that the prairie would’ve been torn down and had something built over it because of the surrounding development pressure.”
Connecting with nature creates awareness in finding meaning in life, that everything is connected and experiences a cycle. Various studies reveal there are positive connections between health, intelligence and nature, and children are healthier, happier and more intelligent when they’re connected to nature.
With cities and towns taking over large parts of the world, natural lands are cut down more and more while people become disconnected with nature. It’s important to appreciate things that aren’t man-made and discover a balance life between the artificial and the natural.
“We protect places like this because of their ecological value. They’re representative of what’s possible here,” Haver added. “We’re able to offer people the chance to connect to the land and earth through workdays at the prairie. This is a place where people can learn to respect and honor their heritage, and discover the natural beauty and variety of species diversity there.”