Donation Creates Big Addition to Mason Farm Biological Reserve

UNC has added more than 100 acres of environmentally sensitive land to the 367-acre Mason Farm Biological Reserve.

The land lies south of the N.C. Botanical Garden — which administers the reserve as both a natural area and biological field station — and adjoins the west side of the reserve. It is part of the Parker property, a 126.5-acre tract conveyed to the University by William ’45 and Athena Parker ’44 in 1976.

The undeveloped land includes streams, steep hills and woods. When William Parker died in 1997, his published obituary stated his and his wife’s intent for the land to remain undeveloped.

“The Parker property is valuable to the community in so many ways,” Chancellor Holden Thorp ’86 said. “Under the botanical garden’s management, the land will be preserved in its undeveloped state, yet remain accessible to researchers, students and others with an interest in what it has to teach us.”

The addition is 107.6 acres. The remaining 18.9 acres of the Parker property will remain undeveloped for the next 25 years and be maintained by the University’s grounds department. All of the Parker property will be kept in a condition of conservation that allows the University the option to use it to offset impacts from other campus development.

The Mason Farm Biological Reserve protects natural areas, supports academic research and public education. The reserve is also home to 800 species of plants, 216 species of birds, 29 species of mammals, 28 species of fish, 28 species of reptiles, 23 species of amphibians and 67 species of butterflies. More species of animals have been recorded at the reserve than in any other area of comparable size in the entire Piedmont.

Members of the public can get a special permit from the botanical garden for access to the reserve.

More online…

  • Mason Farm: UNC’s Wild Treasure. Feature coverage from the January/February 2002 Carolina Alumni Review, available online to Carolina Alumni members. 

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