The rebirthing of a nature sanctuary in a city

Published 7:45 pm Friday, May 20, 2022

In the distance, there were sounds of a city. The hum of traffic, the occasional honking of horns. Voices and a boom box.

But, just down the trail, the sounds of Mother Nature hushed – the chatter of squirrels, the singing of birds, the humming of bees, rustling in the brush.

And, then there were voices.  Excited voices.

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Troy University Professor Dr. Alvin Diamond, Jonathan Miller, a lecturer and biologist; Rose Horn, a graduate student; and volunteers Clark Harris and Joshua Bailey were just where they wanted to be and doing exactly what they want to do – bringing back the beauty of and purpose for the Troy University Arboretum.

The Arboretum is a treasure for the university, the city of Troy and all who will come to enjoy the “fruits” of Mother Nature. That was the consensus of the group. “And the Arboretum has been left to linger too long.”

The Arboretum has recently been returned to the university’ biology department and efforts are underway to bring the 75-acre Arboretum back to where it has been and beyond.

A $5,000 grant from Bass Pro Shop was seed money for the projects that are underway including the replacement of the deck on the education complex building. The roof is also in need of repair.

“The plan is to get the facility usable again,” Diamond said. “It can be useful for schools, for groups including the Pike County Treasure Forest, master gardeners.

The interest of the volunteers is not limited to but focuses on the pond.

“We’d like to clear around the pond. It’s great view when you can see it,” Josh said. “We’ve been out on the water a few times but we want to get canoes back out on the pond.”

The arboretum includes walking trails that total under six miles but only one mile is now open.

“A lot of debris has to be cleared and it includes a lot of big logs,” Clark said. “Dr. Diamond said the logs will probably be used to line the trails rather than trying to remove them.”

Rose is in graduate school, mainly due to her interest in the restoration of the arboretum.

“This is such a great place with all kinds of wildlife and vegetation,” she said. “I want to be a part of bringing the arboretum back to life and making it a destination for those who enjoy nature.”

For Miller, the arboretum will be a place for students to come to learn and to enjoy and for the community as well.

“More classes can be taught out here and we can also have labs, “Miller said. “There are many teaching and learning opportunities that will be available, not just for university students, but high school and elementary students and also the community.”

Diamond said the arboretum is a natural park in the midst of a busy city.

“It’s a place where people can come to enjoy nature in many different ways, alone or with others,” he said. “We are excited about the progress that is being made and the many opportunities the arboretum will offer our community.”