Watershed Near Hiram College Protected (OH)

Portage County, OH, 6/8/04 – The Trust for Public Land and Hiram College announced today the protection of a 132-acre property adjacent to the existing James H. Barrow Field Station. The land was acquired with funding from the Ohio EPA Water Resource Restoration Sponsor Program, a program designed to protect critical water resources throughout Ohio. Protection of this land will help maintain the water quality of Silver Creek, which traverses the western edge of the property. The conservation effort will be celebrated at an onsite event on June 10th.

“The addition of this land to the James H. Barrow Field Station is perfectly aligned with our mission of conserving land for people,” noted Christopher Knopf, Director of TPL’s Ohio Office. “By providing students a greater research lab, we in turn are helping to develop future leaders in conservation and biology. Hiram College is a community treasure and we were thrilled to be able to work together to protect the land.” This expansion will enhance the Field Station’s natural amenities and existing trail system, providing expanded research, educational, and recreational opportunities for students and the general public.

“The Field Station is an asset for all who live, work, and study in Northeast Ohio,” said Hiram College President Thomas V. Chema. “This acquisition provides additional opportunities for Hiram College to offer learning opportunities to students of all ages.”

Nestled in rural Portage County thirty-five miles southeast of Cleveland, the 132-acre Silver Creek Property is adjacent to the Hiram College Field Station, a center of research and environmental studies. The addition will increase the Field Station to nearly 400 acres in size. Silver Creek is an extraordinary cold-water tributary of the Mahoning River located at the very edge the continental divide separating the Atlantic Ocean and Mississippi River watersheds. The Silver Creek Property also contains a farmhouse, barns, and other farm buildings. Approximately 60 acres of the Property are leased to an area farmer, who grows corn, soybeans, and wheat. The area surrounding the Silver Creek Property remains predominantly rural and agricultural, but many homes are sprouting nearby, including several adjacent homes. The Trust for Public Land acquired the land from the Stavenger Family Trust.

Protection of the Silver Creek Property is part of the Ohio Office’s Western Reserve Emerald Necklace Program to create a network of parks and protected lands surrounding Greater Cleveland based on watershed protection and recreational trails.

“Since Ohio EPA created this innovative financing program in 2000, we have provided more than $52 million for water restoration projects across Ohio,” said Ohio EPA Director Christopher Jones. “We are proud to continue this history of partnerships and be part of the effort to preserve Silver Creek.”

Ohio EPA Water Resource Restoration Sponsor Program (WRRSP) continues to be a model for the rest of the country. The WRRSP is part of the Ohio Water Pollution Control Loan Fund, which is a state-run fund that provides low-interest loans to units of government, such as cities, villages or townships, to finance improvements to their wastewater treatment systems.

Founded in 1850, Hiram College continues today as one of the nation’s most respected liberal arts institutions. Located in Ohio’s Western Reserve, Hiram attracts students from throughout the United States and 24 foreign countries. Hiram’s academic calendar, known as the Hiram Plan, is unique to the nation. The College offers students one of the country’s oldest and most respected study abroad programs and more than 50% of Hiram students study in a foreign land during their four years on campus. The James H. Barrow Field Station was established in 1967 to provide Hiram College students the opportunity to supplement classroom activities with hands-on learning experiences. Since then, the Field Station has grown and developed into an active research and educational facility that not only enhances the College’s science and environmental studies programs, but also provides a means for the general public to increase their understanding and appreciation of Ohio natural history. Experiences gained at the Field Station enhance student research, teaching, and leadership development.

The Trust for Public Land conserves land for people to enjoy as parks, gardens and other natural places, ensuring livable communities for generations to come. Founded in 1972, the Trust for Public Land has helped protect more than 1.4 million acres across the nation. In 2001, The Trust for Public Land helped protect the nearby 1,300-acre Edison Woods Preserve, which is the largest single conservation project in northern Ohio in decades. For more information, visit the Trust for Public Land on the web at www.tpl.org.