Thurber Nature Preserve

"The Thurber preserve has among the most lush and diverse ground covers of spring wildflowers, ferns, and native yew of any place I know of in this area, " writes Betsy Darlington, Director of Land Protection.
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What's This?

Like its donor, Mrs. Alice Thurber, the Thurber Preserve is a real treasure. Located in the Village of McLean (Town of Groton), off Cemetery Lane, the preserve has an exceptionally lush and diverse understory of spring wildflowers, ferns, and native yew . The 11-acre preserve is part of the Tompkins County Unique Natural Area known as McLean Woods, with sugar maples--some over 100 feet tall--dominant in the canopy. It has the rich soils typical of undisturbed bottomland forests, and the vigorous herbaceous plants one might expect, but which so often have been destroyed. Several species here are ranked as scarce in the Cayuga Lake Basin. Fall Creek runs nearby, and probably played a part in providing the site with its rich soils.

              Alice Thurber in the preserve.

The Thurber Preserve has a gently rolling topography, and is fairly easy walking. On my first visit there, Alice, with two replaced hips, was using a cane. Yet she wanted to just walk and walk. When we finally turned around, she said to me,"It's so hard to stop! I always want to see what's around the next bend." Her love for the land and for nature was very apparent, as she marveled over the many wildflowers, and their robust size. Alice was one of the founding members of the Onondaga Chapter of the Adirondack Mountain Club, and in her younger years, was an avid hiker. She bought the land years ago in order to have a place to take her dog for walks.

This preserve should serve as a reminder to us all of how much better--and less costly--it is to preserve special places in the first place, than to attempt their restoration once they've been tampered with or destroyed.

Thank you, Alice Thurber (a gem of a lady) for this gem of a preserve!

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