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Sr Mary Jo at the main kiosk at the St. Anne Wetlands
The St. Anne Woods and Wetlands (SAWW) natural area is a conservation easement that comprises 155 acres (63 ha) of open and closed canopy wetlands along the Ohio River, upland old-growth forest, secondary forests, and associated grasslands. Dr. E. Lucy Braun, first female president of the Ecological Society of America and one of the first female professors at the University of Cincinnati, conducted research in these forests that she called “Melbourne Woods” over 100 years ago. In 2007, a Community Partners Grant from Northern Kentucky University (NKU) brought together local universities, government agencies, community participants, and industry with the Sisters of Divine Providence at the St. Anne Convent to establish a set of trails in these natural areas and to develop ecological research and environmental education programs. This has benefited residents and visitors of the Northern Kentucky/Greater Cincinnati region, including, but not limited to, P-12 students of both public and private schools, college and university students and professors, and other education or nature groups of all ages. The woods and wetlands were preserved by the Sisters of Divine Providence until 2013, when the Campbell County Conservation District obtained the site through a grant from the Kentucky Heritage Land Conservation Fund. The land is now protected in perpetuity by a conservation easement held by the Commonwealth of Kentucky. The NKU Research and Education Field Station maintains an MOU and works closely with the Campbell County Conservation District for the use of these natural areas for research, education, and outreach activities. The trail system in the south wetlands is open to the public, and has six information kiosks (A-F) located along the trail in addition to the main kiosk at the trailhead.