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Land Trust, UNA partnership enhances experiential learning

FLORENCE – The University of North Alabama and the Land Trust of North Alabama, based in Huntsville, have partnered to provide pathways for collaboration between the two entities.

“Two pillars of the Land Trust of North Alabama’s mission are the provision of environmental education and stewardship of our great natural places,” Land Trust Executive Director Marie Bostick said. “With the recent donation of Cane Creek Canyon Nature Preserve and its close proximity to UNA, there was a clear opportunity to partner and create hands-on field experiences for students studying subjects such as education, earth science, and recreation management.

“We are thrilled about this collaboration and look forward to more in the future.” 

Cane Creek Canyon Nature Preserve, near Tuscumbia just a few miles from the university, is 693 acres with hiking trails created by original owners and caretakers Jim and Faye Lacefield. The canyon’s rolling landscape includes beautiful falls and a diverse ecological area that supports biodiversity, cultural history, and recreational and educational opportunities.

As part of the collaboration, UNA and the Land Trust will partner on: 

  • Public histories of selected Land Trust properties to be used for interpretive programs and materials, as well as cataloging the legacies of the lands that are conserved.
  • Resource development and/or coordination for formal and informal environmental education programming centering on biotic and abiotic elements of local ecosystems.
  • Opportunities for UNA students to develop and deliver presentations on the local environment, specifically Land Trust preserves.
  • Use of Land Trust properties, particularly Cane Creek Canyon Nature Preserve, as living laboratories for all possible fields of study. 

“This agreement is unique in that it provides expanded learning opportunities for UNA students across a variety of academic programs to gain experience and insight into their fields, which will better prepare them for their future in the workforce,” said Dr. Katie Kinney, interim Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs. “We look forward to growing this collaboration.”

Cane Creek Canyon Nature Preserve is open to the public Friday through Sunday from 7 a.m. – 5 p.m., except Christmas Day.

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