Finding Peace in Nature: Cool Spring Nature Preserve

“The problem contains the solution” -Michael Bierut, graphic designer

Dear Friend of WV Rivers,

With the heat of the summer coming on and the pandemic still in full swing, our family has been spending a lot of time together, most often indoors. I mean, a lot.

We have spent the past four months watching our girls grow right in front of our eyes, and have witnessed so many special moments that we may have missed otherwise during the hustle and bustle of pre-pandemic times. We wouldn’t trade these moments for the world. But you know what they say, too much of a good thing…

Recognizing the problem is one thing, finding solutions is another.

So this week, our family took a trip with the mission of finding peace, and solutions, at Cool Spring Nature Preserve.

Cool Spring Nature Preserve is the home of Potomac Valley Audubon Society‘s main office and nature center. Consisting of 63 acres of forests, grasslands, and wetlands in southern Jefferson County, West Virginia, Cool Spring is a premiere destination for birders, hikers, and nature enthusiasts to explore nearly two miles of trails with bountiful opportunities for viewing wildlife. Only 100 acres of the specific type of wetlands environment found at Cool Spring exist globally, with more than 18 species of very rare plants found here at this site. (If you have kids, they’ll love the outdoor classroom and nature play space!)

The Bullskin Run flows through the heart of Cool Spring Nature Preserve on it’s way to the Shenandoah River. It eventually joins the Potomac River in Harpers Ferry and then flows past Washington, D.C. out to the Chesapeake Bay.

The Bullskin Run and surrounding properties such as Cool Spring are a part of Charles Town Utility Board’s drinking water protection area identified in their source water protection plan.

Safe, clean drinking water depends on healthy lands like Cool Spring.

Forests, grasslands, and wetlands do more than just protect our access to safe drinking water. They are also natural climate solutions, harnessing the power of nature to prevent the impacts of climate change on West Virginia communities. Forests are perhaps the best opportunity to remove climate-altering carbon from the atmosphere quickly, reliably, and relatively cheaply. With a growing population in the eastern panhandle, we are seeing our forests rapidly converting to more intensive uses such as subdivisions and commercial properties.

Fortunately, in spring 2020, Potomac Valley Audubon Society and neighboring landowner Linda Case jointly placed conservation easements on their properties. The term “conservation easement” refers to voluntary, legal agreements wherein landowners can agree to protect their land forever from future real estate or commercial development.

Linda shared her amazing story with us about her reasons for protecting Cool Spring. Watch Linda’s “Landowner Legacy” video now!

Do you live in the Bullskin Run Watershed? Reach out to the Friends of the Bullskin about volunteer opportunities to protect, restore, and enhance the Bullskin Run.

We must recognize our problems for what they are, so that we can solve them. What’s best, the solutions we seek are often contained within the problems themselves.

Spending too much time together indoors? Get outside, change your scenery, and you’ll find a whole new way to love each other. Loss of forests, grasslands, and wetlands amplifying the impacts of climate change? Protect that land, and you’ll be preserving clean water, fostering a livable climate, and creating healthy, vibrant communities for generations to come.

We can all be a part of the solution. Many hands make light work – just make sure to rinse off, first.

To clean water and clean hands,

Tanner Haid, Eastern Panhandle Field Coordinator

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