Ithaca College Natural Resource Reserve
The Ithaca College Natural Resource Reserve (ICNRR) is located directly across Piper Road from the Bob Robinson Family Preserve in Newfield, and was also donated by Bob Robinson. In comparison to South Hill Natural Areas East and West, the ICNRR is managed more intensively, with more recreational use and fieldwork done on the site and limited alterations to the landscape.
The unique natural features of the ICNRR include the springs, waterfalls, lowlands, uplands, eskers, various forest types and rare plant species make this area ecologically valuable. Ithaca College’s receipt of the ICNRR by donation from the Robinson family entailed protection of the biological diversity of the reserve for the education of future generations, in accordance with the family’s wishes.
The ICNRR has within its borders one of the largest natural springs in Tompkins County. The habitat is a mix of uplands and lowlands, with abundant wildlife in the uplands due to spring seeps. The lowlands contain large springs as well as glacial eskers. The most prominent among these springs is a low-nutrient fen wetland on a large talus slope. Here roundleaf sundew (Drosera rotundifolia) can be found, a carnivorous plant that the Natural Resources Conservation Service classifies as exploitably vulnerable in New York State. Other ecological features include a high-elevation low-volume waterfall, plateaus, an oak-hickory stand, a maple (Acer spp.)/beech (Fagus grandifolia)/hemlock (Tsuga canadensis) stand, and 150-200 year old trees.
Education & Research:
The students in Environmental Sentinels (ENVS 120) use the ICNRR for the course’s final practical exam: an intense, four hour long survival challenge. The ICNRR is not currently used for IC courses to the fullest degree possible because of its relatively remote location and the responsibilities that come with our commitment to preserve the ecological diversity of the area. Nevertheless, potential exists for several other courses, such as Field Biology (BIOL 275), Land Use and Landscape Change (ENVS 331), General Ecology (BIOL 271), Environmental Science and Technology (ENVS 121), and Earth System Science (ENVS 130).