By: Shannon Reilly
On the corner of Bonham Road and Shadowy Drive, next to Miami’s Yager Stadium, there is a preserve that is a showcase of the conservation efforts of Miami students and an organization that protects hundreds of acres of land in South West Ohio. The Ruder Preserve was given to the Three Valley Conservation Trust and they worked with students to clear over an acre of invasive species and to plant 125 trees and shrubs. But this is just one example of their hundreds of successful projects protecting the natural landscape.
The Three Valley Conservation Trust is a non-profit dedicated to assisting land owners to conserve the environment through easements and community engagement. Easements are an agreement under which landowners maintain ownership of their land while giving the trust the ability to use their land, often for restoration projects. The Three Valley Conservation Trust currently has received 197 easements. That is 197 land owners that are vowing to prioritize the health of the environment, and they receive tax incentives in return. The trust continues its efforts through funds from charitable giving, member dues and fundraising drives.
Miami professors, alumni and students all can be engaged with the Three Valley Conservation Trust, and this relationship has benefitted both Miami and Oxford as a whole. Many members and board members of the trust are Miami professors or alumni, creating connections between the university and the conservation of the community. Chad Smith, the Executive Director of the trust, offers volunteering, capstone projects and internships as just a few of the ways students can be involved.
The trust has several ongoing projects and events that are improving the landscape of Oxford and surrounding areas. On Sun., Nov. 4, it held its annual auction to raise funds to continue its restoration work as well as reach out to its members and the community. Beginning this Fall, the trust partnered on a “Pollinator Initiative” with the city of oxford, and they reached out to students in Scott Johnston’s IES class who will be putting together a pollinator plan for the city as their capstone. What the initiative will look like has yet to be decided, a pollinator festival or gardens of native species are just a few of the exciting ideas that Oxford may consider.
Miami’s partnership with the trust offers opportunities for students, Oxford and landowners to participate in environmental conservation. For more information on the Three Valley Conservation Trust, visit their website, or find them on Facebook.
Photo by Shannon Reilly.