If you make it over the Harvest Square Nature Preserve these days, you may notice something (or THINGS) that have changed at the 69-acre preserve.
The exciting changes happening at Harvest Square Nature Preserve are possible because of a three-year, $150,000 grant project to improve accessibility for preserve visitors and provide inclusive environmental education opportunities for the community. Here’s some more info:Read more: Check out what’s new at Harvest Square Nature Preserve
National Public Lands Day Signature Event
Following a short ceremony to celebrate and officially launch the grant project, nearly 50 volunteers decked 800 feet of boardwalk along the trails at Harvest Square and an accessible lunch table was installed at the pavilion.
Boardwalks will provide a safe, even surface and wider trail corridor to make the preserve more accessible for visitors with limited mobility. This also addresses the unique trail management challenges at this location because of consistent flooding in the area, largely due to increasing beaver activity in Dry Creek.
After periods of rain, trails would often be covered in water or turn to mud, making them impassable. A raised surface will keep trails dry and navigable despite wet weather conditions.
“National Public Lands Day is about collaboration to improve public lands and provided the ideal opportunity to launch this project, which aims to improve accessibility and mobility in this wonderful preserve”Kevin Butt, Toyota Motor North America
A small, dedicated group of volunteers were instrumental in making this project a success. In the weeks leading up to the NPLD work day, they helped construct the foundations of the boardwalks and then returned in the weeks afterwards to add final touches such as ramps and curbs along the edges to make them safe for strollers and wheelchairs.
Coming Soon to Harvest Square Nature Preserve
According to the Land Trust of North Alabama, there are some exciting changes and programming coming to Harvest Square within the next year, including a variety of physical improvements to the preserve in order to remove accessibility barriers:
- The boardwalks constructed on National Public Lands Day
- Additional boardwalks and bridges, as well as a lakeside dock
- A pollinator and sensory garden will be established on the preserve beginning in fall 2023.
- Educational signage and an audio tour will also be installed to provide self-guided educational content, such as pollinators, farming, flora, fauna, birding, and more.
These educational resources combined with the physical improvements to the preserve will offer users of all abilities a chance to see, touch, hear, and learn about nature and our role in protecting it. All grant activities will be completed by the end of 2025.
Throughout this three year project, there will be numerous opportunities for volunteers to get involved in the process. Work days will take place at Harvest Square monthly as we complete the boardwalks and bridges. To find out more about volunteer opportunities, visit the Land Trust of North Alabama’s website.
Visit Harvest Square Nature Preserve!
If you have never been to Harvest Square Nature Preserve, you’re missing out. The preserve’s trail head is located at 111 Allyson Sadie Blvd, Harvest, AL 35749, so it’s right here in the Huntsville area.
The preserve is just over 69 acres, with 33 acres used for farming. The remaining 36 acres of lowland is home to deer, turkey, raccoon, fox, beaver on Dry Creek, and a variety of amphibians and reptiles.
As part of the construction process, two pits were created which are now Terry Pond and Turner Pond. The water features provide an excellent habitat for migratory birds and fish and are now part of the Tennessee River Watershed.
Dry Creek runs between the ponds and overflow periodically flooding into the ponds and bringing fish. Dry Creek flows into Indian Creek, which feeds into the Tennessee River near the Redstone Arsenal. Longear sunfish, bluegill, pumpkinseed, and small mouth bass have been found in Terry Pond.
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