Conservation at The Wilderness Center
Although The Wilderness Center was originally established as a nature education center, conservation planning and land stewardship play a vital role in our mission. The science of conservation biology and landscape ecology provide guidance in determining several factors on not only preserves TWC already owns, but future land purchases as well as accepting land donations and conservation easements. In all instances we use a powerful tool known as Geographic Information Systems (GIS) to perform remote sensing. GIS allows us to look at a number of features or layers that include: soil type, wetland type, land cover, hydrography, topography and canopy height. Using these ecological attributes along with on-the-ground work we have been able to determine our highest priority areas for land restoration and enhancement work on TWC preserves or how future land acquisition might provide connectivity between protected lands. Our work on invasive plant management is based on mapping known populations of invasive plants and formulating a strategy for control and removal. Our work does not stop beyond the boundaries of our preserves. As a member of the Lake Erie Allegheny Partnership for Biodiversity (LEAP) the Center is working with nearly 50 other member organizations in northern Ohio, northwestern Pennsylvania and western New York on such issues as a regional biodiversity plan, native plant promotion, and nuisance wildlife issues (LEAP website). Our most important asset in conservation are our volunteers who participate in land stewardship activities which primarily revolves around invasive plant control. Left unchecked these invaders reduce the diversity in both plant and animal species.