People and Nature Wildlife Habitat Food Water

J. Logan and Elinor Moore Irvin Nature Preserve

Caring for land means different things for different places. Some of the land TLC owns is left alone for the most part, to serve our community by filtering water on its way to our reservoirs and as the home for our wildlife population. Other places are able to do that and more. Some are places where our human population connects with nature. Some places even grow local food. And there are a few places we own that are able to do all of this. Through our partnerships with several other local organizations, TLC’s J. Logan and Elinor Moore Irvin Nature Preserve not only filters water on its way to University Lake and provides a large wildlife habitat, but it also connects children and others to nature and grows local food.

Irvin Nature Preserve, a 269-acre mix of forest and farmland in Orange County, is a living legacy of Logan Irvin, a founding board member of TLC, and his wife, Elinor. After Logan’s death in 1984, TLC established the Logan Irvin Fund stewardship endowment. Elinor continued the couple’s commitment, leaving their property to TLC upon her death in January 2007.

painting at Learning Outside summer campThe Irvin Nature Preserve provides a perfect backdrop for environmental education. Learning Outside (formerly Irvin Learning Farm) has been hosting camps, workshops and other events at the preserve since 2009. This entirely outdoor program offers students the opportunity to interact with nature in meaningful ways and in diverse natural habitats and provides scholarships for children who would otherwise not have these quality experiences in nature.

The Irvin Nature Preserve is also blessed with good agricultural soil. It would be a shame to not grow fresh food on this land, while some in our community go hungry. Through a partnership with the Inter-Faith Food Shuttle and funding from the Blue Cross Blue Shield of North Carolina Foundation, the Healthy Choices Garden has been created to grow nutritious food for our region’s hungry.

We’ve also teamed up with the Orange County Partnership for Young Children to provide garden space for displaced people from Burma to grow food fresh food that reminds them of home. 

In addition, the Weedwackers, a group of TLC volunteers, is busy mapping and removing invasive plants from the preserve, ensuring this is a good habitat for our native species. This is no easy task with 269 acres to cover!

And another team of TLC volunteers, the Conservation Corps, does a variety of tasks. From refurbishing barns and removing fences to building tepees and planting a native garden, this group of volunteers does it all.

Irvin Nature Preserve illustrates that partnerships can result in a project that is great than its parts. TLC works hard to protect land, and when it makes sense, we are able to put that land to work for our community with the help of our partners.

Read an article about this partnership project in our May 2011 newsletter.

Photo: Wendy Banning