Last updated: May 31. 2014 12:45AM - 530 Views
By - shalasz@civitasmedia.com - 937-372-4444

The 90-acre Russ Nature Reserve includes a 4,000-square-foot ranch that will be renovated into a nature education center. Submitted photo.
The 90-acre Russ Nature Reserve includes a 4,000-square-foot ranch that will be renovated into a nature education center. Submitted photo.
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BEAVERCREEK — Greene County Parks & Trails’ Russ Nature Reserve in Beavercreek received a $150,000 grant as part of the state capital budget introduced by the Ohio House of Representatives through the Dayton Region Arts and Culture Project.

Russ Nature Reserve will open to the general public on Thursday, June 5.

The Dayton Chamber of Commerce and Priority Development and Advocacy Committee (PDAC) Quality of Life Committee recently prioritized capital budget arts, culture and recreation priorities for the state capital budget, which included the Russ Nature Reserve project.

“This grant is an example of the strong relationship and collaborative efforts between the two organizations,” said Greene County Board of Commissioners President Bob Glaser. “Greene County is fortunate to have two organizations that work so well together for the common good of all residents.”

Russ Nature Reserve, located at the corner of Kemp and Beaver Valley roads offers 90 acres of parkland with a 4,000-square-foot ranch home that will be renovated into a nature education center. The reserve also incorporates a nature playscape installed by the park agency, bee apiary, tree nursery, hiking trails, benches, butterfly garden, vernal pools and more.

“We’re thrilled to receive this grant that will allow Greene County Parks & Trails to continue to renovate the nature education center at the Russ Nature Reserve,” said Greene County Park Board President John Finlay. “The property offers so much potential to the residents of Greene County for both green space preservation within a rapidly developing area and nature education for all ages.”

The land was left to the park agency by Fritz and Dolores Russ, founders of SRL in Beavercreek, to be used for nature preservation and education.

“The progress made at Russ Nature Reserve is a perfect example of good people working together to do good things,” said Greene County Parks & Trails Director Chrisbell Bednar. “Beginning with the Russ couple, who generously bequeathed their family home to the park agency, to our passionate volunteers such as Ken and Diane Bish, the project has relied on people working together. Our progress is also a credit to the local Boy and Girl Scout members, Wright State University students and other community groups who have given of their talents. The Greene County Commissioners and Greene County Park District Board worked together to successfully present the grant request to the Dayton Chamber of Commerce and PDAC Committee. The project is a great example of collaboration.”

Greene County Parks & Trails serves both the Greene County Board of Commissioners and the Greene County Park Board, Bednar said.

Private fund-raising efforts are currently underway and managed by Greene Giving, Bednar said, at all levels of giving.

“We are so appreciative of the residents who have already given financially to support the vision of the Russ couple in protecting valuable green space in Beavercreek,” Bednar said. “Gifts of all levels may be made and include the opportunity for naming rights.”

Individuals interested in donating may contact Greene Giving, Friends of Greene County Parks & Trails (Russ Nature Reserve), 25 Greene St., Xenia or call 937-562-5550.

For more information about the Russ Nature Reserve, call Greene County Parks & Trails at 937-562-6440 or email abotkin@co.greene.oh.us.

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