Black River Audubon Society’s (BRAS) second Burke Plants for Birds grant was part of a major project carried out by Western Reserve Land Conservancy (WRLC) in the city of Oberlin. The Conservancy took advantage of an opportunity to purchase a 30+ tract of forest known locally known as the Great South Woods. The intent was to preserve it for all time from development.
Along with the woods came another 30-acre tract of worn out land that had been farmed by a series of families for nearly two centuries. Together, the two parcels provided a unique opportunity — to preserve both a forest and a potential meadow. In addition, the farmland came with a 19th century history unique to Oberlin that is discussed detail in an article by BRAS member Diana Steele (see below).
BRAS has collaborated with WRLC many times over the years. For example, conservancy volunteers helped clean up an informal dump in Elyria that our chapter eventually converted into a small, urban nature park, a project that is discussed in another article in this website. BRAS has provided bird census specialists who have helped WRLC in other projects. The chapter has also provided written and financial support in another major Conservancy acquisition in Lorain County. The collaboration has definitely benefited both organizations.
In addition, Kate Pilacky, associate field director for WRLC, is also on the BRAS board and helped organize the restoration at the Elyria project in 2018. Coming off that success, Kate and the board were happy to help the Conservancy’s much larger meadow restoration in 2019. Black River Audubon’s Diana Steele describes the meadow, the project and its outcome in the article below.