These cool, overcast, winter days provide a great opportunity for reflection, if for no other reason than to help motivate us beyond the cold bite of the wind to move forward and make things happen. The last few years have been a whirlwind at the Turkey Creek Nature Preserve. It has been difficult to keep up with all of the wonderful advancements and developments as they are occurring and almost impossible to share those things with the public, who will certainly enjoy them the most.
So it seems to be a good time to take a moment between meetings, planning sessions, and trying to catch up on the long list of maintenance, repairs, and improvements before the spring busy season to reflect on where we have come from and what direction we are headed.
Most of you know that the Turkey Creek Nature Preserve (TCNP) is still relatively young; it was not that long ago that people where dumping their trash along the banks that children now run up and down all summer long. We have come a long way in just 6 years. Every year the list of improvements and achievements seems nearly impossible to keep up with. We have been working so hard to improve Turkey Creek that we have really not done a good job of sharing all that we are doing for you.
Here is the short version of some of the things we have recently accomplished:
- Recent Enhancements:
- 5-Star Stream Bank Restoration Project: Restored over 100 feet of Turkey Creek’s banks with native vegetation, erosion control, creek access steps and a native plant propagation nursery.
- Added visitor amenities including: improved trash cans, benches, picnic tables, and signs
- Native Plant Pollinator Garden
- Developed 3 miles of new trail (over the last 2 years)
- Improved parking
- Updated energy efficiency of Nature Center and Residence
- Added Pedestrian Friendly hours on Friday and Saturday Mornings
- 2014 Public and School Programming
- Approximately 100,000 annual visitors to the Preserve
- 113 programs with over 6,000 participants
- 29 Public Events; Highlights include: Float Your Boat, Naturalist Hikes, and Living History Programs
- 37 Service groups with over 500 participants
- 45,000 blog views
Even with all that has already been accomplished, we are not slowing down. Not even close! 2015 is already shaping up to be even busier than previous years with more public programs, educational offerings, and enhancements.
Here is a quick peek at what we already have in store for our visitors this year:
- 3 miles of new multi-use trails for mountain biking, hiking, and cross-country running. Funding provided through a grant from ADECA’s RTP program.
- 240+ acre addition that could host over 12 miles of new trails for the future
- Amenity improvements: additional parking, changing rooms, enhanced security, handrails on stairs to the Falls, and more informational signage.
- Wilderness Ranger Training provided by Wild South
- Summer Camp Programs
Proposed Multi-Use Trail System Map
Obviously, there is a lot going on, and a lot of reasons to come out and visit Turkey Creek Nature Preserve this year. However, even with all of the wonderful support that we are provided by our partners and volunteers, we still need your help to keep our operation functioning! Consider for a moment: we do not charge admission, we have only one full time staff member, and we are doing all of this on less than a shoestring budget. Imagine what we could do if we received more support from people like yourself.
What is Turkey Creek, all of the memories, fun, and discovery worth to you?
Remember while admission to Turkey Creek Nature Preserve is always free, maintaining it is not!
If our visitors (like you!) were all willing to give just a little it could provide us the opportunity to give a lot!
Please take a moment and invest in the future of TCNP, if not for you, then for your community and the children that live there!
Visit: https://turkeycreeknp.wordpress.com/support-2/ to learn how you can make a difference.
See ya downstream!
Manager, Turkey Creek Nature Preserve