Gateway Nature Preserve Community Day on Sunday offers activities for both kids and adults
By Cornelia W. Barr The Gateway Nature Preserve is a 19-acre urban nature preserve next to Washington Park, dedicated to connecting people with nature. Straddling Salem Greenway, the preserve’s forest, open The post Gateway Nature Preserve Community Day on Sunday offers activities for both kids and adults appeared first on WS Chronicle.
By Cornelia W. Barr
The Gateway Nature Preserve is a 19-acre urban nature preserve next to Washington Park, dedicated to connecting people with nature. Straddling Salem Greenway, the preserve’s forest, open meadow, and Salem Creek support insects, aquatic macroinvertebrates, foxes, deer, hawks, owls, turtles, and many more forms of wildlife, as well as many native trees and wildflowers.
The preserve has forest trails, a story circle, and a pollinator garden that offer opportunities to learn about the natural world. They provide an ideal setting to relax and get away from the stressors we are all facing in these uncertain times.
Gateway holds a variety of nature walks and events on a regular basis. Upcoming events include learning about fall leaf colors, the importance of pollinators such as bees and butterflies, making nature crafts, and learning about the rich wildlife of the Gateway area.
The Community Day on October 24 offers a variety of activities to engage kids and adults alike. There will be nature crafts, forest trail tours, story time, and opportunities to “Ask a Naturalist.” There will be booths with community partners, including Family Services, which has opened a Head Start program close to Gateway on S. Broad Street. There will also be a herd of pigs that are used to root out kudzu!
Research shows that children who spend time exploring and learning in nature outdoors thrive both intellectually and emotionally. The key to Gateway’s mission is providing opportunities to enjoy nature for the diverse neighborhoods along the Salem Creek Corridor, from Salem Lake to Marketplace Mall. Community Day is an event that we hope will bring people of all backgrounds together, united by the power of nature.
Our History: Gateway Nature Preserve almost didn’t happen. In 2005-06, a developer proposed building a student housing complex on this 19-acre site that would have destroyed eight acres of forest. The environmental impact of this development would have seriously impacted the health of Salem Creek and the surrounding area. The planned tree removal would have caused erosion into Salem Creek, increased heat and noise in the surrounding neighborhoods, and degraded air quality. After the surrounding neighborhoods fought the development, the city council turned down the needed zoning change, and the project never happened.
This threat alerted area residents to the value – and vulnerability – of this untouched land just a mile from City Hall. A small group of people began to work toward protecting the area as an urban nature preserve, raising over $400,000 to purchase the site. Gateway Nature Preserve now works in a public-private partnership with the City of Winston-Salem. Under the guidance of our new executive director, Dianna Costello, we are continuing to develop the preserve as a natural resource.
As co-founder and former board chair, Cornelia W. Barr has been involved with the Gateway Nature Preserve from its beginnings. She is a writer and editor and an N.C. Certified Environmental Educator.
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