Newspaper article Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Pittsburgh, PA)

A Walk on the Wild Side Suburban Reserve Offers Sanctuary, Education for Those Weary of Sprawl

Newspaper article Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Pittsburgh, PA)

A Walk on the Wild Side Suburban Reserve Offers Sanctuary, Education for Those Weary of Sprawl

Article excerpt

Two miles of trails on 50 acres in the picturesque Laurel Highlands are open year-round for walkers, runners and cross-country skiers at the Winnie Palmer Nature Reserve on the campus of Saint Vincent College near Latrobe.

Now the reserve, which opened in 2007, is trying something new. A first-time fundraiser called Nature Night Out will showcase nature-themed art along with dinner and live music. It is set for 6 to 9 p.m. next Friday at the reserve's Environmental Learning Barn, 744 Walzer Way, on the college campus in Unity.

Monday is the deadline for submissions from artists, and planners are looking for photography, painting, sculpture, carvings, poetry, prose and music. The only rule is that the entry be about, or incorporate, nature.

More than a dozen artists so far have agreed "to share their love of nature," lending art that includes woodwork, pottery, pencil drawings, paintings and photographs, said Angela Belli, reserve director.

The nearby Latrobe Art Center is also loaning some of its works for the event, said Jean H. Keene, environmental education program assistant at the reserve.

Ms. Belli explained that the reserve is a wildlife sanctuary and an education center that "promotes outdoor recreation and cultural education."

"We connect families to native animals and plants at the reserve, which is also an outdoor laboratory for students at Saint Vincent," she said.

About 100 each month use the reserve's trails and grounds, Ms. Belli said, and those numbers go up when the weather is nice.

The reserve was the dream of the late Winnie Palmer, who had served on the board of directors of Saint Vincent College. The wife of golfing legend Arnold Palmer, she worked to save the land from the commercial development on nearby routes 30 and 981 that would have ruined the rural nature of the campus.

Mrs. Palmer died in 1999 before she could see her dream become a reality. But soon business owners, philanthropists and developers banded together to buy 25 acres in 2001, and the college donated an adjacent 25 acres. …

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