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About the Natural Areas


"We abuse land because we regard it as a commodity belonging to us. When we see land as a community to which we belong, we may begin to use it with love and respect."  -Aldo Leopold, A Sand County Almanac, 1948

Land Concerns

In 1992, Miami University President, Paul Pearson wrote , " We all recognize the rapid rate of loss of natural green-belt areas in our state and nation as our population increases, causing growing demands for housing, commerce and industry, highways, power lines, and other support services. I am very concerned that the natural, green-belt areas around much of Miami's Oxford campus will fall victim to these demands"

The Vision

President Paul Pearson stated, " We should take action now to protect these (natural) areas for education and research and for the opportunities they provide for such stress-relieving activities as hiking and the simple observation of nature."

Vision Becomes Reality

In 1992 the Miami University's board of trustees voted unanimously to establish, in perpetuity, official "Miami University Natural Areas" protection for designated greenbelt lands, totaling over 1,000 acres to the south, east and northeast of campus.

Today, As we see the effects of urban sprawl growing closer to Oxford, we give thanks to the vision of President Paul Pearson, the continuing support of the Board of Trustees, the ongoing conservation efforts of the Bachelor Reserve and Other Areas Committee and the donors whose gifts made this greenbelt sanctuary a reality.


This Committee, chaired by Dr. David Gorchov, reports to the President of the University and is responsible for oversight and management of the Natural Areas.

Bachelor Reserve and Other Natural Areas Committee (2023-24)

  • David Gorchov, Professor of Biology (Committee Chair)
  • Steve Sullivan, Director of the Hefner Museum of Natural History (Vice Chair)
  • Robbyn Abbitt, GIS Coordinator, Geography
  • Helaine Alessio, Chair, Department of Kinesiology, Nutrition, and Health
  • Jonathan Bauer, Professor of Biology
  • Amanda Bentley Brymer, Assistant Director, Institute for Environment and Sustainability
  • Hardy Eshbaugh, Professor Emeritus
  • Nancy Feakes, Field Manager of the Natural Areas System
  • Nathan French, Professor of Comparitive Religion
  • Sam Fitton, Retired Biologist, Bureau of Land Management, and alumnus
  • Gerry Geil, Director of Grounds, Physical Facilities
  • Stephen Gordon, Administrator, McGuffey Museum
  • Bartosz Grudzinski, Associate Professor, Geography
  • Olivia Herron, Director of Sustainability
  • Ann Rypstra, Professor of Biology and Director of Ecology Research Center
  • Holly Wissing, Co-Curator of Butterfly Gardens

Bachelor Wildlife and Game Reserve Subcommittee

  • Nancy Feakes
  • Sam Fitton
  • David Gorchov
  • Steven Gordon

Silvoor Biological Sanctuary Committee

  • Amanda Bentley Brymer, Curator
  • Brett Brymer
  • Hardy Eshbaugh
  • Jack Keegan
  • Amy Lamborg
  • Richard Moore
  • Cameron Shriver
  • Kara Strass
  • Holly Wissing


The following is a list of donors who chose to protect the land forever over profits:

William and Dorothy Amos, Joseph Bachelor, Michael and Noreen Beck, Edward Brown, Mr. and Mrs. Stuart Fitton, Dr. Robert A. Hefner, Dr. Paul and Edith Kramer, Joseph and Sara Marcum, Dr. and Mrs. Roy Reinhart and Fred C. Yager.