Catawba College's 189-acre ecological preserve adjacent to campus is managed and maintained by the Center for the Environment staff, Catawba students, and volunteers.

Environment and Sustainability Student with binoculars in Preserve

In 1998, the Catawba College Center for the Environment worked with the LandTrust for Central North Carolina to place the preserve under a permanent conservation easement, which ensures that the land will always be held in its natural state. 

Features of the Fred Stanback Jr. Ecological Preserve:

  • 189 acres of wetland environment inside the Salisbury city limits  
  • A living classroom and laboratory
  • Diverse bird population of raptors, songbirds, waterfowl, herons, woodpeckers, and more
  • Aquatic mammals such as beavers, minks and otters
  • Home to gray foxes, coyotes, raccoons, opossums, squirrels, and deer
  • An impressive reptile and amphibian presence. For example: The Eastern Box Turtle is the only fully terrestrial turtle in North Carolina and was chosen as the official North Carolina State Reptile in 1979. Due to population decline and habitat loss, it has been designated as a vulnerable species. They are a relatively common sight in the Preserve during the lengthy spring to fall mating season, especially after summer rains.

Preserve Map

Special Feature

Special Feature

Take a tour of the Fred Stanback Jr. Ecological Preserve with Joshua Cool, Ecological Preserve Keeper at Catawba College, in this special blog featured on the Your Rowan website.

Flora and Fauna

The many fascinating plants and animals of Catawba's ecological preserve:

A Bird's-Eye View

The view from above of Catawba's ecological preserve shows the vastness of its natural beauty. Home to many species, it is a living classroom for student field study and research right at the doorstep of our beautiful campus.

Sightings in the Preserve