Adrian College Receives Walden West Property Gift

Adrian, Mich (June 21, 2016) – Adrian College is pleased to announce the gift of the Walden West property. Walden West is a beautiful and unique 119-acre property in Lenawee County that is now protected and will serve as a “living classroom” for Adrian College.  The property, which features rare fen habitats, was owned by Ann Arbor residents Jim and Mary White.  The White’s donated a conservation easement, which permanently protects the land in a natural state, to Legacy Land and Raisin Valley Land Trust.  After establishing the conservation easement, the Whites donated the land to Adrian College for use in their educational programming.

Jim, a

retired University of Michigan law and English professor, and Mary explained that they referred to the property as “Walden West” because Henry David Thoreau’s book about living at Walden Pond was a “formative book” and this property is similarly beautiful.  Jim said, “I used it in a very Thoreau-like way. I would go to my rustic cabin there to escape and read and write about once a week.”

Jim and Mary are pleased that their property

will be a place for students and professors to learn about the natural world and themselves. “I hope a wide range of teachers and students will use it—and love it,” Jim said.  

“Adrian College students and faculty will benefit immensely from this wonderful gift. Students in all programs will have access to a 119-acre living laboratory for field work and research. This gift will truly benefit the entire community and State for decades to come,” said Dr. Jeffrey Docking, Adrian College President.

One professor who is already familiar with

Walden West is Dr. Jeffrey Lake, Assistant Professor of Biology and Environmental Science.  He said, Last summer, I got a call from Woody Kellum with Raisin Valley Land Trust, describing

some property that a donor was looking to put under conservation easement and donate to an entity that would preserve the space.  We quickly saw numerous opportunities for using the land for education and research.  My Plant Ecology class developed a baseline assessment and a management plan in cooperation with Legacy Land Conservancy and RVLT.”

Dr. Lake also noted,   “I don’t believe I have encountered a

greater diversity of habitats in 119 acres anywhere else in the world. Walden West has a number of different types of wetlands, ponds, a medium sized

lake, a substantial glacial moraine, and so much diversity.  We have found at least four species of carnivorous plants, three types of orchids, several types of milkweeds, and numerous other species of plants already.  We have at least two new county records from our work already—and that is only about 5 weeks of collecting. 

“This gift by Jim and Mary White will impact

Adrian College and our tremendous students for years to come. Their generosity will create a living classroom for our faculty to utilize and our students to learn from. Working with the Whites on this wonderful gift is yet another instance where I have been inspired by the loyalty and support of the College’s alumni and friends,” said Jim Mahony, Adrian College Vice President of Development.

About Legacy Land Conservancy

Legacy Land Conservancy is a nonprofit conservation organization that protects the forests, prairies, wetlands, farmland, and rivers in southeastern Michigan, focusing on Washtenaw and Jackson counties. Since its founding in 1971, Legacy has protected nearly 8,000 acres of land, including six nature preserves that are open for all to enjoy. Legacy is accredited by the Land Trust Accreditation Commission for adhering to a set of standards designed to ensure Legacy’s work will endure forever. For more information, visit

About Raisin Valley Land Trust

Raisin Valley Trust is a local non-profit dedicated to the preservation of natural areas and farmland in the River Raisin watershed. By working with private landowners to voluntarily protect land, RVLT is preserving valuable natural and historic resources for future generations.