Efforts to secure funds needed to pay for the Spencer Woods Property received a major boost in October when the Town of Spencer was notified it received a $200,000 grant from the N.C. Parks and Recreation Trust Fund (PARTF) for acquisition of the property. The Town of Spencer has agreed to take ownership of the property and maintain it as a passive recreation park.

Located at approximately 1504 S. Rowan Ave in Spencer, The LandTrust acquired the property in February subject to a deed‐of‐trust financed by the previous owner, saving the 42‐acre tract of rolling hills and mature hardwoods from a clear cut. “Several members of the community have already pledged significant amounts,” reports Executive Director Jason Walser. “Those pledges, along with the PARTF grant, put the end of the acquisition phase of the project in sight,” adds Walser, who notes the LandTrust is now looking for money for Phase II of the project, park development and maintenance.

The LandTrust plans to honor long-time conservationists and philanthropists Fred and Alice Stanback with the project. “Fred and Alice have done so much for conservation in our region and across the Southeast. We felt a nature preserve of mature hardwoods in Fred’s home community was an appropriate way to honor him,” Walser says.

On September 17th The LandTrust hosted a nature walk on the property. Programming was provided by Lisa Wear and Anne Ellis of the Rowan County Schools Horizons Unlimited center. The program highlighted the property’s biodiversity, studying its wildlife, aquatic species and hardwood forest. Approximately 60 people, most of them young children, attended the event. “There are so many special plant and animal communities here,” says Lisa Wear. “This is a perfect location for this type of environmental programming.”

We intend to host a feedback session soon where members of the community will be able to describe their vision for the property. In January, the NC Society of Landscape Architects will conduct a three‐day planning charrette for the property using feedback gathered at the forum and input from other members of the community. “This park will be for the people of Spencer and Salisbury to experience nature in a way that is unique for an urban setting,” says Walser. “In this age of Nature Deficit Disorder, where kids suffer from mental disorders increasingly associated with lack of connection to nature, we feel the Spencer Woods property can be a true oasis for our whole community. We truly believe that these woods will be an asset for all in Spencer and Salisbury, old and young, rich and poor.”

Anyone interested in contributing to the Spencer Woods property is invited to contact The LandTrust at 704‐647‐0302 or landtrust@landtrustcnc.org.