Spring 2019 Leaflet Newsletter
From the Executive Director of Fontenelle Forest, Merica Whitehall
Fontenelle Forest has been a community treasure since before it received its name more than 100 years ago. More than just protecting the land, Fontenelle Forest actively engages our community to restore the Forest to full health.
We provide 27 miles of hiking trails and over 2000 acres of forest, savanna, prairie, and wetlands at to the doorsteps of our city for everyone in our community to experience and enjoy.
Fontenelle Forest is an educational resource for more than 40,000 students each year; we rescue roughly 600 birds of prey annually throughout the state and in Western Iowa.
Our impact continues to grow wider, and while recent flooding affects all areas and departments of Fontenelle Forest, we are ready to continue our great work for the community while recovering from one of the state’s worst floods in 50 years. The Hitchcock Wetlands Learning Center has experienced significant structural damage and long-standing programs like H2Omaha and Canoe Camp have been canceled indefinitely. Contaminated water has polluted the facility’s main water supply. Educational, recreational, and historic materials and supplies that are essential to Fontenelle Forest’s operations have been destroyed.
Numerous popular hiking trails have been closed until our staff can clear debris, repair areas that have experienced mud slicks, and remove
trees that present a hazard to the safety of our visitors.
With floods wreaking havoc across the state, closing roads and sweeping away the food supply for birds of prey, Fontenelle Forest’s Raptor Recovery is expecting a serious increase in the need to rescue raptors as well as more difficulty relaying those raptors to our care facility in Elmwood, Nebraska.
Until the waters recede, we won’t be able to determine the full extent of the damage that has been caused. What we do know is that the cost to repair facilities damaged by the floods of 2011 was in excess of $30,000. We are bracing for the worst at this point and anticipate even more damage than we experienced in 2011.
Even so, we are grateful to be a part of a community that truly cares. Omaha Gives! is a 24-hour giving event each year that our community comes together to support the important needs of non-profits in the Omaha Metro Area.
Fontenelle Forest’s goal is to raise $25,000 during Omaha Gives!
For many in our community, Fontenelle Forest is the only place that they can really experience the quiet wild of nature. With your support we can:
• Implement Trail Repairs across our 2,000 acres at Fontenelle Forest and Neale Woods;
• Repair the Hitchcock Wetlands Learning Center and the Wetlands Gifford Memorial Boardwalk and so that programs can take place again; and,
• Conduct emergency land management for unsafe and downed trees that threaten hiker safety on the trails.
Will you help us guarantee that everyone in our community can experience the quiet wild of nature? Please make a donation to Fontenelle Forest for Omaha Gives! May 22.