The Glen Helen Nature Preserve has been stewarded by Antioch College for nearly 90 years—preserved, improved, and expanded due to the efforts of countless faculty, students, staff, and alumni. A vibrant partnership with the Glen Helen Association (GHA) and its volunteers, starting in 1960, has helped sustain these efforts, from fundraising to programming. Over time, the Glen has grown from a beloved campus resource into a regional environmental treasure where more than 100,000 visitors come for education and recreation each year. Now the College is completing a commitment to maintain public accessibility by putting the Glen in community hands.
Today, the Antioch College Board of Trustees Chair Maureen Lynch and Glen Helen Association President Bethany Gray are pleased to announce the transfer of Glen Helen Nature Preserve has been finalized, completing the agreement in principle announced by the two organizations on June 11, 2020.
The GHA will now assume responsibility for maintaining and operating the Glen, which has been under the College’s stewardship since 1929. Glen land remains protected by conservation easements safeguarding it from development in perpetuity. As part of the agreement, the GHA and the College have also detailed ongoing cooperation on a variety of educational and operational matters.
“The Glen Helen Association has been preparing for this transition of ownership, and we are ready to continue the work of preservation, conservation, and education that is so vital to our region and our state,” says Gray. “We are grateful to the community for their support, especially as we also navigate the pandemic’s unique challenges.”
Lynch says, “As we continue to focus on delivering the vital experience-based education Antioch College offers, we are also seeking new and better ways to collaborate with strategic partners and to develop and share resources. The transfer of the Glen from the College to community hands makes perfect sense, and is a victory for us all. This agreement will serve Yellow Springs, the greater Miami Valley, and the College well for generations to come.”
College President Tom Manley adds, “I have great confidence in the outcome achieved here. It models how natural settings like the Glen might be reimagined and stewarded around principles of mutuality and reciprocity; how they might shape a new concept for a community commons. It is a win for the Glen, the College, and the community.”
The transfer completes a journey which began over a year ago when the College and the GHA board began exploring options with the common goal of both protecting Glen Helen and providing public access in an environmentally responsible way. The College will receive approximately $2.5 million over a 10-year period as partial reimbursement for decades of investment in the Glen. The agreements include terms for strategic collaboration, joint programming, and continuing access for the College community for academic and recreational purposes.