Finger Lakes Community College adds acreage to its outdoor campus in Naples

Finger Lakes Land Trust and Finger Lakes Community College announced a 33-acre addition to the college’s East Hill Campus — one of the college’s sites for outdoor recreation and environmental education. The Land Trust worked with the FLCC Foundation and an anonymous donor to facilitate the purchase and transfer of the property, formerly owned by Rachelle Cromwell.

“The addition of this property to our existing East Hill Campus will have an immediate impact on several of our courses,” stated John Van Niel, FLCC’s professor of Environmental Conservation & Horticulture.

“With 33 additional acres, this increases the range of wildlife management projects we can undertake with students," Van Niel continued. "And since the land has been managed differently than the existing campus, students will be able to compare and contrast the forests and, over time, we will see the benefits of forest management practices.”

Land Trust Executive Director Andrew Zepp added the “acquisition expands educational opportunities while conserving significant wildlife habitat.”

“We’re delighted to have the opportunity to partner with the college and grateful for the anonymous donor who made the project possible,” stated Zepp.

The property off of East Hill Road in the town of Naples is situated almost entirely within an Audubon Important Bird Area and is in close proximity to High Tor Wildlife Management Area. Conservation of the land provides a buffer to a spur of the Finger Lakes Trail, which runs through East Hill Campus.

The FLCC Foundation will own and manage the property, which the Land Trust has permanently protected with a deed restriction that prohibits subdivision and limits future development. The college’s environmental conservation and horticulture department will use the site to teach students about wildlife management and forestry practices.

By working cooperatively with landowners and local communities, the Finger Lakes Land Trust has protected more than 21,000 acres of the region’s undeveloped lakeshore, rugged gorges, rolling forest, and scenic farmland. The Land Trust owns and manages a network of over 30 nature preserves that are open to the public and holds perpetual conservation easements on 136 properties that remain in private ownership.

The Land Trust focuses on protecting critical habitat for fish and wildlife, conserving lands that are important for water quality, connecting existing conservation lands, and keeping prime farmland in agriculture. The organization also provides programs to educate local governments, landowners, and local residents about conservation and the region’s unique natural resources.