As a boy, LandTrust Board Member John Wear, Jr. enjoyed the wild & rugged country along the South Yadkin River. It was here that Dr. Wear, now Director of the Catawba College Center for the Environment, discovered his passion for the outdoors, from camping out on a bluff overlooking the South Yadkin, to floating down the river face-down in a canoe to observe wildlife up close. This love of nature eventually led Dr. Wear to devote his life to protecting the environment and teaching others to do the same.

Thanks to a $500,000 grant from the NC Clean Water Management Trust Fund, this property will now be preserved as at the Catawba College South Yadkin River Wildlife Refuge. With matching funds from Fred & Alice Stanback, the Salisbury Community Foundation, the Cannon Foundation, the Proctor Foundation, and ongoing fundraising efforts, the property was purchased in December from Mr. Joe Stirewalt, owner of Piedmont Hardwood Lumber Co. Located along a tremendous bend of the South Yadkin River, the refuge will protect over 1.5 miles of river frontage, part of the Second Creek Wetlands (identified by Dr. Mike Baranski in his Natural Areas Inventory of Rowan County), and  nearly 300 acres of significant wildlife habitat. Equally important will be the use of the property by Catawba College’s Center for the Environment for the teaching of wildlife management and related topics such as ornithology, botany and ecology.

It seems only fitting that the place that inspired John Wear as a child will now be an integral part of the Catawba College Center for the Environment, a place that he and others have worked so hard to establish as a model for environmental education.

The LandTrust must raise additional funds to cover the total costs of the land purchase, which will be included as part of a larger campaign to finance the continued conservation efforts of The LandTrust. You can help us protect this important regional asset. Please send your tax-deductible gift to The LandTrust for Central North Carolina, PO Box 4284, Salisbury, NC 28145-4284.