“Davidson is unique,” Pam Dkystra, president of the Davidson Land Conservancy (DLC), says, “and DLC is essential to preserving that uniqueness. Joining DLC is an investment in the future of Davidson.”
DLC is a land trust working to save land in the Davidson area in order to preserve a healthy, natural environment for future generations. It’s mission is to educate the public about the benefits of conservation, advocate on behalf of our ecosystems, and protect natural land and open space.
World of Wonder (WOW): “Children spend too much time today with electronic media,” Dkystra says, “and not enough time in the outdoors. We, in collaboration with Woodland Discovery headed by Carolyn Walker, began the World of Wonder (WOW) educational program in September of 2010 to introduce children and their families to the natural world.”
WOW’s purpose is connecting families with nature. A WOW Steering Committee made up of volunteers handles the outings and the Farmer’s Market booth.
“We have a free nature outing for families once a month all year long,” Dkystra explains, “Each outing is led by an expert in the area we are exploring.” Nature outings have included such topics as “What’s in the Creek?” “Who Lives in These Trees?” “Where do Spiders Hide?” and “Who’s Chomping the Kudzu?”
WOW also has an educational booth each Saturday at the Davidson Farmer’s Market. Topics have included the “Great Backyard Bird Count,” “Leaf Man,” “Pinecone Crafts,” and “From Tadpoles to Frogs.” Children are given hands on activities to help them relate to nature. To sign up for the WOW’s weekly e-mails of upcoming events, e-mail email@example.com.
A team of DLC volunteers and Davidson College students visit Davidson Elementary School fourth grade classes every year to help students recognize the importance of caring for the land.
After a discussion about the environment, the class is divided in half to play a game called “Oh Deer”. Half the class are deer and the other half are resources,” Dkystra explained. “The students learn how hard it is for the deer to get the resources — water, food, and shelter — they need to survive.” Students leave with a “What’s in your backyard Davidson?” placemat and an appreciation for the little things we all can do to support the natural world.
DLC advocates in a number of ways. One of the most effective is working with local jurisdictions to preserve natural lands. DLC began advocating for the preservation of the 23 acre wetland on the West Branch of the Rocky River in 2003 and never gave up.
While the actual defined wetland was prohibited from being developed, the owners of Summer’s Walk, as the development would be named, had permission to build 224 residential units on 67 acres of the surrounding habitat. DLC insisted that the surrounding area of the wetland must also be preserved to provide habitat for the animals that lived in and around the wetland.
Davidson College Biology Professor, Dr. Michael Dorcas, documented the presence of 35 species of reptiles and amphibians in the wetland. A botanical survey commissioned by DLC and funded by the Davidson Garden Club and the South Lake Norman Garden Club, identified 114 species of plants. Clearly this was an area that could not be lost to development.
Roy Alexander, Executive Director of DLC, was involved in negotiations with the developer of Summer’s Walk as well as with town and county officials about how to ensure the survival of the wetland and surrounding acreage. Finally, the developer agreed to sell the property to Mecklenburg County who would prevent development of the acreage. For his role in the campaign to preserve the wetlands, Alexander was awarded Mecklenburg County’s 2009 Urban Conservation Award.
The wetland will become the heart of a nature preserve that is part of the county’s park system. Long range plans call for a nature center that will educate the community on the value of wetlands and other natural areas.
DLC protects the land in a number of ways. On some lands DLC has conservation easements – a legal agreement between the property owner and DLC that permanently limits uses of portions of the land to preserve its conservation values.
Another way to protect the land is by monitoring the land that is in a conservation easement.The 200+ acre Fisher Farm, which was purchased in 2002 by the town of Davidson with financial assistance from Mecklenburg County open space funds, is one of the properties monitored by DLC. The DLC stewardship team (staff and volunteers) will regularly visit Fisher Farm looking for activities or disturbances that negatively impact the site. If such activities or disturbances are found, notes and photographs are provided to the County. Using the data provided, the County will decide whether a violation has occurred and what action should be taken.
Joining DLC is an investment in the future of Davidson. As a member of DLC, you are part of a community united by a common concern for natural land and a commitment to protecting it in the Davidson area. Your contribution is an investment. Protected land provides a steady return on clean water and air, wildlife habitat, historic landscapes, scenic beauty, and local food sources. Land is also an integral part of Davidson’s identity – it’s our sense of place, our sense of who we are. Go to www.davidsonlands.org for membership information.