Donation means Pierce Cedar Creek Institute grows by 150 acres

Alice Jones and her late husband Kensinger have long been nature- lovers and conservationists. Now they have donated about 150 acres of their property to Pierce Cedar Creek Institute.

Alice Jones will have a lifetime lease on a portion of the property, which includes her home.

In their earlier years, Kensinger and Alice Jones lived across the globe from Singapore to Sydney to Chicago and, in search of an escape from city life, bought their property in Barry County in 1969. This unique global perspective gave the pair a true appreciation for the natural beauty and ecological diversity of southwest Michigan and instilled an ardent desire to protect it.

The 150-acre property is adjacent to Pierce Cedar Creek Institute and the diverse habitats found on the property will  provide many opportunities to further the Institute’s mission of promoting environmental education, research, preservation, and appreciation and will expand the Institute’s 661 aces to approximately 815 contiguous acres.

The Institute has a number of plans for the property, such as research opportunities on this relatively untouched parcel. Access to the two lakes will increase existing wetland research while new research plots in the grassland and forest habitats will act as control plots to determine the most effective methods for dealing with various invasive plants.

Along with these research opportunities, the Institute’s trail systems will also be expanded.

Jones's home was built over the next few years following their purchase in 1969, and they made the move from Australia in 1972, where Kensinger worked as an advertising executive. In 1995, the Joneses discovered the means to protect their land and placed it under a conservation easement with the Southwest Michigan Land Conservancy. As the first to do so in Barry County, they blazed a trail of environmental responsibility in the area.

A conservation easement ensures that a property is preserved in its predominantly natural state. It prohibits commercial or industrial use, as well as placement of any additional structures such as buildings, roads, or parking lots, except those specifically agreed upon in the document.

“We want to teach people to view the world as belonging to everyone,” says Alice Jones.

Kensinger Jones passed away in March 2015 and is survived by his wife, a son, daughter, son in law, five grandchildren, and three great-grandchildren. In July 2015, Alice deeded the entirety of the property to the Institute, achieving one of the couple’s longtime goals, while retaining a life lease on the northern half of the property for her and her children.

Pierce Cedar Creek Institute

Editors Note: Pictures are not of the donated property.

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