Thousands of years ago, the massive sheet of ice that once covered the North American continent receded, scouring and carving the earth as it gradually migrated to the northern latitudes. Shady Valley is a living legacy of the last Ice Age with plants and animals that are characteristic of more northern climes.
Within Shady Valley, Schoolyard Springs is a rare and unusual example of wetlands that used to cover much of the valley floor. The natural sandy springs provide habitat for many rare plants.
Why TNC Selected This Site
Beaverdam Creek frontage and an accompanying streamside area between two bogs makes this preserve an important part of restoring and conserving nature in Shady Valley. What makes Schoolyard Springs unusual is its sandy, seemingly bottomless upwelling of fresh water from the bubbling springs.
Before channelization, Beaverdam Creek snaked along the valley floor, leaving seasonally wet areas in its path. Schoolyard Springs is believed to be a remnant of an earlier creek meander and a relic of forested pools that once dotted the valley floor.
What TNC Has Done/Is Doing
In October 1998, TNC acquired 9-acre Schoolyard Springs, one of the organization's most unique properties. Completed in 2002, the boardwalk, which is elevated above the wetland, is a wonderful tool used to educate the public about this special preserve. In 2007, the Conservancy purchased 13 more acres to increase the preserve's stream frontage. The Conservancy acquired 7 additional acres in 2018, making the property 29 acres in total.