ACRES Land Trust and the Our Lady of Victory Missionary Sisters announced they have closed on the sale of 107 acres of prairie and forest at the Motherhouse in Huntington, Indiana, forever preserving the land from development. The closing took place June 6, 2017.
The land, which will be known as Victory Noll Acres, features oaks, maples and sycamores, as well as steep ravines and rolling prairie areas. The property is on the top of a bluff overlooking the Wabash River valley, with the edge of the bluff forming the original bank of the river, first carved out by the rushing waters of a melting glacier.
ACRES Land Trust Executive Director Jason Kissel said the acquisition is especially significant because of other preserves in the area along the river. It is hoped that eventually, the separate preserves will be connected to protect the area’s unique ecology.
“This land has significance on its own, so if it never connects to other preserves in the area, that’s OK, but we believe it’s a piece of the puzzle toward protecting the entire ancient river bank,” Kissel said.
“This land has been very significant to the Victory Noll Sisters since 1925, when they moved into their motherhouse, Victory Noll,” said Sr. Ginger Downey, the Victory Noll sisters’ general secretary. “Over the years this land has been a place of recreation and enjoyment, as well as solace and prayer, not only for the sisters but for many other who have come to visit.”
Kissel said it was especially gratifying to work with the Victory Noll Sisters because both groups’ goals and beliefs overlap so well when it comes to the environment.
“A lot of people have a hard time articulating why they want to preserve land. We’ve never worked with an organization that has been so specific that they were able to hand us a document where they’ve written down why they care for the land,” Kissel said. “When we shared with them ACRES’ views, they matched almost perfectly aside from some wording. So this is a way for them to continue the ministry of the land, even without a religious organization owning it.”
The Victory Noll Sisters’ land ethic states that, “We cherish this land as a sacrament of God’s love for us.” ACRES values “the intrinsic and diverse benefits of natural places and the life they sustain.”
“Victory Noll Acres, which is what the new parcel will be called blends the two entities in a way that honors both and illustrates both of our commitments to providing green space for generations to come where all can experience nature, wildlife and the blessings of God,” Downey said.
Kissel said the purchase is a perfect example of how ACRES Land Trust helps people meet their objectives. “ACRES is a way for them to realize their dreams for the land,” Kissel said. “Whether it’s Catholic sisters who own the land or a member who donates $25, none of us can permanently protect land on our own, but it’s possible with ACRES.”
For more information on the OLVM and ACRES preservation efforts, see http://tinyurl.com/ACRES-OLVM and http://www.olvm.org/single-post/2017/02/20/Future-is-coming-into-focus.
The Victory Noll Acres preserve is currently closed.
ACRES members protect 6,686 acres of natural places and working land in northeast Indiana, northwest Ohio and southern Michigan, forever. Explore more than 70 miles of trails, take photographs, enjoy family time, get outdoors, plan a field trip, get fit, reflect on nature’s beauty or share an adventure, for free from dawn to dusk at a preserve near you: acreslandtrust.org/preserves. Connect with ACRES Land Trust at 260-637-2273, by email at [email protected] or on Facebook at facebook.com/ACRES.LT