Oak Heritage Conversancy invites everyone
HarleyJo Kennedy Photo
Twenty-eight years ago, John Stoll (originally from Cincinnati) and his wife Jennifer (originally from Northern KY) visited a local wooded area and lost their hearts.
Both agreed they wanted an investment to treasure and grow with. They met a gentleman many may remember, John McKittrick. He had some wooded area he was going to develop but decided to sell instead. Thus began the property now conserved by the Oak Heritage Conservancy.
In 1995 the Stoll’s purchased a forty-acre tract of land and began “rewilding” the landscape. They contacted the DNR (Department of Natural Resources) and developed a plan.
The DNR came out with wildlife biologists and plans to educate and organize “meadow-scaping.” Thirty years ago, the DNR suggested trees and grasses to evolve areas of “edge-scaping;” trees and shrubs met with native grass-lands.
A conservancy is just that – large or small – tracts of land with native plants and fresh water sources to protect and enhance the proliferation of wild-life. Wild-life being any native species (plant, animal, fowl, fish or amphibian) that grow and flourish when protected from invasive species and devoid of chemical pesticides or herbicides.
Richard worked on the board of a conservancy based in the Cincinnati area, Western Wildlife Corridor. After becoming local landowners and knowing the process of rewilding their properties, Stoll had a difficult decision to make.
Stoll was already on the Oak Heritage Conservancy Board. He and Jennifer knew the amount of time and effort that would be involved in “un-developing” and protecting this wild-life sanctuary. So, Stoll resigned from the Western Wildlife Corridor to work full-time on his and Jennifer’s passion, as well as with Oak Heritage Conservancy.
The Stoll’s acquired more land, as it became available. They purchased a “wild-life package” of 550 trees, seedlings and shrubs.
Included in the package were fourteen varieties of native trees. Trees purchased and planted were: American Plum, Hazelnut, Sweet Gum, Elderberry, Nine Bark, Washington Hawthorne, Chokeberry, Chokecherry, Flowering Crab Apple, Persimmon, Paw Paw, Grey Dogwood, and Shingle Oak.
The DNR now recommends prairie grasses (wild rye, Indian grasses and blue stem) mixed with native pollinator species such as echinacea, saw-toothed sunflower, common boneset, asters, goldenrod, pale Indian plantain, a lower-lying blue mist flower, thistle, and a tall hearty-stemmed flower called rattle-snake master.
One might imagine the properties and ponds keep the Stoll’s very busy! However, the Stoll’s are also involved with organizing and fund raising for Oak Heritage Conservancy. Oak Heritage hosts several events to fund the upkeep and maintenance of donated properties and land.
The weekend after July 4, Oak Heritage Conservancy hosts an annual Hike at Monarch Meadows from 1:30p – 4p. After the Hike at Monarch Meadows the group heads to Great Cresent Brew with a percentage of the sales going to Oak Heritage Conservancy.
Then also, as one gets the February blahs, Oak Heritage Conservancy hosts at L’burg Drinks and More as a get out and enjoy a few libations and hors d’oeuvres. Again, a percentage of the sales goes to Oak Heritage.
Oak Heritage also hosts a photography contest for both adults and those under 18 to enter. This focuses on, and brings to the fore-front, conservation and wild-life species of all kinds.
One can volunteer with Oak Heritage to help protect and reclaim wild areas. One can donate, Oak Heritage is a 501c3 non-profit. Or one can simply plant some native species in your own yard. Allow the dandelions to bloom and grow!
Participate in “No-Mow May” and allow all native plants to bloom and feed early pollinators that need those first flowers to establish areas and their families.
Oak Heritage is on Facebook. Stoll publishes “Wednesday Wisdom” in which he shares his knowledge and experience with re-establishing wild-life sanctuaries.
Take a walk. Nature can clear both your head and lungs. As Stoll shares “nature can grow without humans, but humans will not grow and thrive without nature.”