When it comes to land conservation efforts, there are only two results – a win or a lose. In order to get as many wins as possible, we must rely upon organizations such as the Western New York Land Conservancy (WNYLC). These types of conservation groups are constantly fighting to save precious natural resources, because once they are gone… they are gone.
The WNYLC just came away with a big win for Greater Buffalo. Within the last 18 months, the organization managed to raise $804,000, which was the amount that it needed to purchase 145 acres of pristine land on Grand Island. Moving forward, that sacred land will be known as the Margery Gallogly Nature Sanctuary.
Vast wooded wetlands remain from the last glaciers, providing a haven for migratory songbirds in the tree tops and blue-spotted salamanders on the forest floor below.
This is big news for a number of reasons, mainly due to the location of the oak and hickory forest. The forest is situated primely within the Niagara River watershed. The land was one of the largest, undeveloped, privately-owned properties left on Grand Island, according to the WNYLC. Both Big and Little Six Mile Creeks flow right through the forest. Can you imagine what would have happened to these creeks if the land had not been preserved? Both creeks flow right into the Niagara River and are considered vital for sustaining wildlife habitat.
The $804,000 raised* by the WNYLC not only helped to purchase the land, it will also be used to manage the preserve long-term, restore wildlife habitat, and create a new trail system. The land was purchased from Catholic Cemeteries of the Roman Catholic Diocese of Buffalo (Assumption Cemetery is located in the middle of the sanctuary).
“It is important that those interred in the cemetery always have a tranquil setting for their final resting place,” said Carmen Colao, Director of Catholic Cemeteries of the Diocese of Buffalo. “We are grateful to the Land Conservancy for securing this vast and inspiring forest, which will always surround this sacred place.”
The Land Conservancy would love to conserve more land on Grand Island, so if you are interested in protecting land you own, contact them at (716) 687-1225 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
“On Grand Island, our most valuable resources are our unique forests, wetlands, and bodies of water,” said Town of Grand Island supervisor Nate McMurray, who has been supportive of conservation efforts. “By working with the Western New York Land Conservancy, we are able to protect these resources so they will stay green for generations to come.”
It will take a couple of years to get the trails in operable condition, but by that time we will have another remarkable nature preserve on our hands, where people can hike the trails, birdwatch, and simply interact with nature. The preserve will also be located within one mile of Grand Island’s new welcome center, which means that people will be able to have a place to stage their outings.
“Spending time in nature has a profound impact on people’s lives,” said Land Conservancy Executive Director, Nancy Smith. “While we love to protect remarkable places like the Margery Gallogly Nature Sanctuary because of their ecological importance, we also recognize how important it is to share these places with others. I am eager to get the trail system in place, so children and families can enjoy the countless benefits of time spent outdoors.”
*Generous funding for the project was contributed by the Niagara River Greenway Ecological Standing Committee, the Gallogly Family Foundation, and the Land Trust Alliance’s Conservation Partnership Program through the New York State Environmental Protection Fund, as well as individual donors.
You can support the Land Conservancy’s work by making an online donation at wnylc.org or by sending a check to the Western New York Land Conservancy, P.O. Box 471, East Aurora, NY 14052.