Grand Prairie Friends selected as 'Conservationist of the Year'

By Dave Fopay, JG-TC

CHARLESTON -- For about the last six years, the Grand Prairie Friends organization has worked toward preserving the natural areas of a vast tract of land south of Charleston.

But with all the land acquisition, preservation work, trail projects and more, Sarah Livesay, the organization's director, says she's "most proud" of a smaller example of the effort.

Among the more recent work at what's now Warbler Ridge Conservation Area is the installation of poles with artificial tree bark for roosting bats.

Livesay said that's a cutting edge approach to the study of bats and efforts to help their habitat.

"It's something you just don't see in nature preserves and conservation areas in the United States," she said.

Livesay said she feels that's one way the group's efforts exemplified "innovative" practices. It's part of the "total resource management" approach that help led to a recent recognition.

The Grand Pra