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FOREST Important purchase preserves a gem

A ceremony that took place right before the Memorial Day holiday marks an effort to preserve history and nature. At that May 27 event, the Western New York Land Conservancy took over most of the College Lodge’s forest at a ceremony.

As part of the deal, the State University of New York at Fredonia Faculty Student Association will retain the lodge and 33 acres but sold a couple hundred acres, including an “old growth forest” featuring centuries-old trees, to the land conservancy. As part of last month’s event, the Old Growth Forest Network presented the conservancy with a plaque designating the area as an old growth forest.

“We decided four years ago we can and should do this,” said Nancy Smith, executive director of the land conservancy. SUNY Fredonia put the property up for sale to raise funds and her organization decided to step in and preserve it.

Located near Brocton, the forest has a diverse array of wildlife, a pristine wetland with carnivorous plants, old-growth trees and unique native orchids, in addition to being a migratory bird corridor. With the conservancy’s leadership, all this has been protected for generations to come.

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