nature preserve

The Melissa Schultz Nature Preserve on Akron Road will be dedicated April 22


Nature Preserve to Honor the Memory of Late Scientist

Melissa Schultz Nature Preserve to be dedicated on April 22 at the Montessori School of Wooster

15 April, 2016 by John Finn

WOOSTER, Ohio — Friends, colleagues, and students of Melissa Schultz will honor her legacy as an accomplished scientist and devoted conservationist when a nature preserve is dedicated in her name on April 22 at the Montessori School of Wooster (1170 Akron Road) at 3:45 p.m.

Schultz, who was killed in an automobile accident 14 months ago, was in her ninth year as an associate professor of chemistry and environmental studies at The College of Wooster when the accident occurred.

“Melissa was an amazing person in so many ways,” said Greg Shaya, professor of history at Wooster and one of the organizers of the project. “One of the things she did so well was to spread her love of science and nature. We hope to continue to do that with the preserve.” 

The Melissa Schultz Nature Preserve consists of more than five acres of woods and meadow immediately adjacent to the Montessori School with a ravine and creek that feed into Little Apple Creek. The property, which connects to Gerstenslager Park to the north, is owned by The College of Wooster.

"Melissa was well-known on campus for her energy and enthusiasm, her love of nature, and her commitment to protecting it,” said Susan Clayton, professor of psychology and environmental studies at Wooster. “I can think of no better way to honor her memory than by providing a space that encourages children to explore and engage with the natural world, which can inspire their lifelong involvement with nature."

Wooster’s Board of Trustees voted to authorize the use of the land following Schultz’s death in February of 2015. A long-term easement was signed in June. Sixth-year Montessori School students began cutting trails in the property last fall, and plans are to plant wildflowers this summer. “We want the preserve to be available for all students and educators in Wayne Country,” said Shaya. “It’s a great place for outdoor learning and exploration.”

On the day after the dedication, a 5K race will be held to honor Schultz’s commitment to the environment. It is a non-timed fun run starting outside of Mateer Hall on the academic quad and looping through campus between Beall Ave. and Bever St. Runners and walkers will be treated to environmental facts on signs throughout the race. Participants do not have to pre-register but there will be a waiver form to sign upon arrival. The Chemistry Club, Women of STEM, and various other environmental student groups are sponsoring the event. 

Those wishing to participate in the development of the nature preserve, may contact Greg Shaya,  Angie Bos, or Jason Frank. Contributions to the nature preserve can be made by check to the Montessori School of Wooster, with “Melissa Schultz” or “Nature Preserve” in the memo line.