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BCCD establishes new Earl and Hazel Jones Center for Conservation along Gunpowder Creek

The Boone County Conservation District (BCCDKY) has announced the establishment of the Earl and Hazel Jones Center for Conservation in Boone County.

The Center is located on 92 acres of habitat along Gunpowder Creek that was recently purchased by BCCDKY. The Center will serve as a location for public education programs, research and nature study, and opportunities to demonstrate conservation practices for the community.

Gunpowder Creek is the largest stream in Boone County (Photo from BCCDKY)

The majority of funds used to purchase the property came from a donation from the Earl and Hazel Jones Family. Earl Jones, who passed away in 2014, was dedicated to conservation and served as a BCCDKY Board Supervisor for many years. His generous donation will not only help to directly conserve an important piece of habitat but will allow BCCDKY to continue serving the community through education.

Additional funding for the property came from the Imperiled Bat Conservation Fund (IBCF). The IBCF is a multi-faceted fund that uses a combination of grant, mitigation, and federal discretionary funding to focus resources on bat, forest, and at-risk terrestrial species conservation in Kentucky.

The Center, which includes forest, one mile of stream, pollinator habitat, and many species of sensitive plants and wildlife, is ecologically significant in that it is located in the middle of the Gunpowder Creek Watershed. The watershed is the largest in Boone County and drains directly into the Ohio River. It has been severely impacted by urban development over the years. However, through the efforts of BCCDKY and many community partners, improvements to the watershed have been made, and last year a segment of Gunpowder Creek was even removed from the EPA’s list of impaired streams. The conservation of the property will ensure that a large portion of this watershed is protected for the future.

The Crisler-Gulley grist mill was built in 1817 (Photo from BCCDKY)

The property is also home to the historic Crisler-Gulley Mill site which was built in 1817. There are extensive ruins from the grist and saw mill, and BCCDKY intends on working with local universities, archaeologists, and the Boone County Preservation Board to study the site and integrate its unique history into public education programs.

The mission of the Boone County Conservation District is to promote the protection and wise use of natural resources through education and service to the citizens of Boone County, Kentucky. In addition to offering technical support and opportunities for cost-share programs, their education programs reach thousands of children and adults each year. With the acquisition of the Earl and Hazel Jones Center for Conservation, BCCDKY will be able to host K-12 field trips, workshops and field days, Conservation Kids Camp, youth leadership programs, and ecological research for college students and interns.

Opportunities to visit the Center will be announced through BCCDKY’s website and e-newsletters. For more information, visit bccdky.org.

Boone County Conservation District

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