The Jewel Moore Nature Reserve (JMNR) was declared a permanent fixture of UCA on Dec. 11, 2015. The Board of Trustees revisited an old proposal to make the reserve a protected part of UCA and voted to ensure its preservation.
The JMNR has been part of UCA since 1980 when it was first converted to preserve local flora and fauna. Since then, the JMNR has been utilized by the biology department and by students to study and observe nature in a local and convenient capacity.
At the time of the nature reserve’s inception, the Board of Trustees declared that while it was intended to be maintained by the biology department, it would not require it to be a permanent fixture of the university. In the meeting, the board decided it was not possible to forecast future needs with enough accuracy to make irrevocable commitments for the area.
In 2010, the Board of Trustees entertained a new proposal for the JMNR. A motion to ask for a conservation easement for the property, so that it could be maintained permanently as a part of the UCA campus failed by one vote. Instead, the board resolved to make a five-year commitment to maintaining the JMNR. At the end of the commitment, the board would revisit the proposal. In five years the board would have a better grasp on the campus community’s needs, as the school was entering a period of increased enrollment.
The UCA Master Plan was accepted in 2012, and stated that UCA would commit to maintaining and enhancing the current natural resources of the campus.
When the Board of Trustees met again on Dec.11, 2015 the JMNR five-year commitment was about to come to an end. The proposal was revisited and the board was once again faced with the same choices: they could either preserve it for another five-year commitment, at the end of which they would revisit this issue, or they could choose to preserve it for the duration of the existence of UCA.
In a unanimous vote, the board determined that preserving the Jewel Moore Nature Reserve was within the best interests of the university and in accordance with the Master Plan. As such, it has been officially declared a permanent fixture of UCA. A conservation easement will be acquired, and the reserve will be maintained for years to come.
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