Conserving Land … And Energy
It has been about three years since the Conservancy purchased its office and moved operations onto a protected property. We set out to create a conservation center for northwest Ohio here at the Homestead, and are steadily making strides toward that goal.
Thanks to a generous contribution from the First Solar Charitable Fund at Toledo Community Foundation, we will be installing solar panels on the property in March. The system compliments the geothermal HVAC system we installed in 2014. We anticipate this solar project to provide about 1/3 of our energy needs, helping to reduce the carbon footprint of our operations. Perhaps more importantly, it will be a showcase that we can use to teach community members about the steps that they can take at their homes and farms to conserve and produce energy.
The Homestead serves as an environmental laboratory for the community, where we can step out the back door and share a conserved property with the community. Since we arrived, the property has been used by Bowling Green State University, Eastwood Schools, Pemberville Library, the Ohio Prairie Association and Scout troops for tours and study. The adjacent prairie offers a one-mile walking trail that is available to the public for use. And, Bell Woods (one of the finest remnants of the historic Great Black Swamp) is a regular stop for year-round, organized walks, through the vernal pools and back to the great blue heron rookery.
Looking forward, we hope to create classroom space that will allow even more groups to use the property and inspire even more people to care about conservation in northwest Ohio.