photo of Hanging Rock National Natural Landmark
by Joanna Stebing

“When you love a place, you take care of it.”

My name is Heather DeLorenzo and my story with ACRES Land Trust began about three years ago in 2014 when I first discovered the organization and became interested in supporting their mission. Since then, a few ACRES properties in Wabash County have become near-and-dear to my heart:

  • Kokiwanee is where I go when I’m feeling adventurous and only want to drive twenty minutes.
  • Hathaway Preserve at Ross Run is where I go when I want to hike in the midst of a geologic masterpiece.
  • Asherwood is where I go when I want to hear the peepers welcoming spring with their boisterous song.

These natural areas are uniquely enjoyable places to visit and see preservation in action, but there is one place in particular that is exceptionally important to me – Hanging Rock.

When you love a place, you take care of it. This describes my connection with Hanging Rock. These weathered remains of ancient Silurian reef are where I go when I need to find peace with myself and the world. I’ve read and pondered some of the greatest words of environmentalists Leopold, Muir, and others at Hanging Rock. More often, I simply reflect on my own thoughts and take in the surroundings:

A Bald eagle soaring past, the wind rustling through the leaves, the sun’s rays coating the landscape in a golden sheen and Wabash River flowing far below the rock’s overhang .. It’s pure, natural beauty.

My appreciation for this property continuously inspires me to help take care of it.

In the past two years, I have picked up litter at Hanging Rock twice, each time with the help of unsuspecting friends (my friends never know what they’re getting into when I invite them along for a day of “hiking”!). I don’t do these clean-ups for fame or recognition, though I do strive to spread the word about the importance of environmental stewardship and pride of place. When I have the opportunity, I do my part because I want everyone to be able to enjoy the beauty of Hanging Rock as much as I do.

This is what volunteering with ACRES is all about – pitching in when you can, creating your own personal story with ACRES, and sharing that story with others. Protecting local lands takes many hands and everyone plays a part. No matter how we volunteer or what motivates us, we are all working towards a collective goal – protecting land together, forever. – Heather DeLorenzo, ACRES member and Manchester University student

Hanging Rock, surrounded by Virginia bluebells, photo by Joanna Stebing