Loudoun Wildlife Conservancy’s vision for the JK Black Oak Wildlife Sanctuary is to forever preserve and enhance its globally rare wetlands by protecting the sensitive vernal pools, unique geological setting, and its rich amphibian and wildlife populations. Additionally, to serve as a model and catalyst to conserve adjacent lands and to create an ecologically significant sanctuary for the conservation and study of native wildlife and flora there and to educate others in their value.
Directly to the west of Lucketts, Virginia sits an 87-acre parcel of land with forests and meadows. It’s a fairly nondescript plot of land at first glance, but it has a rich history, and an abundance of unique wildlife. Once farmed for agricultural purposes, this plot of land has more recently been sought by developers. Previous development plans have included putting up to 70 homes and a water treatment facility on the parcel. However, local residents have successfully fought to preserve the landscape over the years.
So, when the parcel came up for sale in 2017, Lucketts resident and Lucketts Ruritans member Ludlow Clark brought it to the attention of Loudoun Wildlife Conservancy. With the persistence of the Lucketts Ruritans, and connections made by the Piedmont Environmental Council, Loudoun Wildlife Conservancy was able to convince local entrepreneur Chuck Kuhn to purchase the property with the intention to resell it to Loudoun Wildlife Conservancy at a conserved value once it had been placed into conservation easement.
Over the last two years, Loudoun Wildlife Conservancy has enlisted the help of biologists, other nonprofits, and volunteers to study the property. Biologists from the Virginia Department of Conservation’s Natural Heritage program determined the property was a globally rare wetland due to the vernal pools, mature forest, unique geologic setting, rare amphibian wildlife, and other elements it harbors. The “nondescript” parcel now has lots of adjectives to describe its unique features, and a new name – JK Black Oak Wildlife Sanctuary.