Conservation, education, and preservation are the focus of a land transfer between a local university and Asbury Woods.

Donation of land from Mercyhurst University is helping Asbury Woods with permanent conservation and continued environmental education.

Asbury Woods is celebrating the wrap up of a process with Mercyhurst University that the executive director says took several years and involved several meetings. 

“Mercyhurst and Asbury Woods have been meeting for several years and the administration’s believe that this was a great move,” said Jennifer Farrar, executive director, Asbury Woods. 

Asbury Woods is receiving an in-kind donation from Mercyhurst University of 40 acres of land.

“The property under Asbury Woods’ ownership would then meet the intent of the land of it being permanently conserved,” said Farrar.

The president of the university says this decision was the easiest she has made since holding her position for a year and half.

“The Asbury Woods Trust has done such great work for Erie for so long, and the preservation of this land is important, not just to the man who donated it to us, but also to us as a university,” said Kathleen Getz, president, Mercyhurst University.

The land is also expected to help continue Asbury Woods’ mission of environmental education.

“This continued partnership with Mercyhurst and their incredible educational system, it just is a natural extension of what we already do. We have kids coming from 18 months all the way up through college and adults that are coming and doing educational projects and programs on our land,” said Farrar.

For visitors taking to the trails, you shouldn’t notice a difference as chances are you’ve already been walking on the university’s former property.

“Our current trail system actually already goes through the Mercyhurst property and was part of the long standing partnership that that trail was built and then maintained by Asbury Woods. So the public already has access to this land. They may not realize it, they’ve been traversing across Mercyhurst property,” said Farrar.

Farrar says some of the land will be more conserved with less people access to maintain sensitive wildlife or plant life.