Stanback Ecological Preserve is Outdoor Lab, Wildlife Habitat

The Fred Stanback Jr. Ecological Preserve, an outdoor laboratory for Catawba College students and others, provides important habitat for wildlife in the middle of the city of Salisbury.

The combination of natural wetlands, a lake and managed impoundments provides habitat for a great diversity of birds, mammals, reptiles and amphibians, including the rare mole salamander. In 2007, the preserve was approved as a part of the North Carolina Birding Trail, a guide that links bird-watching sites across the state. More than 150 bird species have been sighted on the property.

The preserve serves as a resource for improving both air and water quality. Water coming off the watershed from the college is trapped and held in the impoundments. This gives the water a chance to purify naturally, removing many of the pollutants found in stormwater runoff.

Since more than 75 percent of the property (139 acres) is covered with trees, it purifies our air because the trees absorb chemicals that combine to form air pollution. In fact, the CityGreen analysis estimates that the preserve removes annually 248 pounds of carbon monoxide, 5,702 pounds of ozone, 1,240 pounds of nitrogen dioxide, 4,958 pounds of particulate matter and 1,364 pounds of sulfur dioxide, for a total dollar value of $32,626. This is particularly important in Salisbury and the greater Charlotte region, because this area suffers from some of the worst air pollution in the country. 

The Stanback Ecological Preserve is a valuable asset to Catawba College and to the city of Salisbury. The fact that the property has been preserved in perpetuity means it will play a significant role in creating a sustainable future for this community.