The WakeNature Preserves Partnership brings together natural resource professionals from local governments, NC State University, state agencies, and nonprofit organizations to build capacity among Wake County’s local governments to identify the most valuable natural resources areas they own and improve environmental stewardship of these areas.

We envision a county-wide, cross-jurisdictional brand of WakeNature Preserves that highlights Wake County’s finest natural areas and increases public awareness and appreciation of these special places.

Our activities include organizing service-learning opportunities through NC State University, providing capacity building and technical assistance opportunities, assisting with the organization of volunteer groups, and applying for project-specific grants. WakeNature encourages a coordinated approach to classifying and managing the most ecologically valuable natural areas in Wake County, as well as better public education about our local natural heritage.

Background: Despite significant recent efforts to purchase and preserve open space in Wake County, the following challenges exist:

  • knowledge is incomplete about the most ecologically valuable, publicly owned natural areas in Wake County; there is limited active management planning and stewardship of publicly owned open space in Wake County known to have high ecological value;
  • Parks and Recreation departments are often unfamiliar with stewardship and conservation management of natural lands;
  • agencies are provided with limited – if any – staff and budgets for conservation stewardship;
  • despite high levels of interest in nature-based recreation, the average Wake County resident knows little about our local natural heritage.

WakeNature arose to address these challenges.

WakeNature Preserves

A WakeNature Preserve is a natural area within Wake County that contains high-quality examples of plant and animal populations, natural communities, landscapes, or ecosystems. It is to be bounded, dedicated, and managed to ensure the long-term conservation of those natural resources and to provide people with the opportunity to experience and learn about those resources in a contemplative, natural setting.

A WakeNatural Wonder is a natural feature or habitat within Wake County that is highlighted for the development and growth of public awareness about Wake County’s natural heritage and systems and their importance to environmental health, biodiversity, and quality of life. Although ideally managed for long-term persistence, WakeNatural Wonders that are not within WakeNature Preserves are not accorded the same high level of protection accorded WakeNature Preserves.

For more detailed explanations, please see our WakeNature Criteria.