Gardens & Preserve
The on-campus 189-acre Catawba Ecological Preserve, located adjacent to the Center for the Environment facility, provides uncommon opportunities for research and field work. Both the ecological preserve and the 300-acre Catawba Wildlife Refuge give Catawba students ample opportunities for analyzing ecosystems and learning about conservation management as well as providing a habitat for wildlife and a source of water purification.
In 1998 the Center worked with the LandTrust for Central North Carolina to place 130 acres of its preserve under a permanent conservation easement, which ensures that the land will always be held in its natural state. The Center also worked with the LandTrust to secure the wildlife refuge, which has also been placed under a conservation easement.
Native North Carolina plants grow in the Elizabeth Stanback Wildlife Garden which surrounds the Center for the Environment facility on the Catawba College campus. Designed as a “naturalistic wildlife garden, it reflects the area’s native ecology.
This garden is not only home to more than 160 native plant species; it is also different from many public gardens in that the covenants of environmental stewardship are practiced in its maintenance and perpetuation. Pests and disease are controlled by environmentally friendly alternatives. The use of native plants also promotes resource and environmental conservation through low maintenance and the elimination of resource-robbing lawn turf.
The internal garden contains a dry creek bed for rainwater that is used to irrigate the garden.A pervious driveway flanks the garden that allows rainwater to filter to the ground and not freeze in winter. The Stanback Wildlife Garden not only provides a natural habitat for butterflies, insects, birds and other wildlife, but also provides a learning laboratory for Catawba students.