The Audubon Society of Greater Cleveland has responsibility for four nature preserves in the watershed of the Chagrin River.

Three sanctuaries are in the City of Aurora:

  • Blanche Katherine Novak Audubon Wildlife Sanctuary,
  • Aurora Sanctuary, and
  • Michael and Lenore Molnar Audubon Wildlife Sanctuary

The fourth sanctuary is in Willoughby (Lake County):

  • Hach-Otis Woods

The Michael and Lenore Molnar Sanctuary

The 113-acre Michael and Lenore Molnar Sanctuary, named for the couple who donated it to Audubon in 2000, is located on Page Rd. in Aurora (download PDF: Aurora location map). It is divided into two tracts (see map at right). The northerly and larger tract is almost entirely native hardwood forest that is approaching maturity since it was last harvested in the 1920’s. Its most noteworthy feature, however, is a striking 8-acre pond (see above) built by the donors in the 1950’s. The pond drains into the City of Aurora’s nearby Sunny Lake and then to the Aurora Branch of the Chagrin River. There are no buildings on this part of the property except for two small storage sheds. The southern tract is an old farm property, including the foundations of farm buildings. The fields are overgrown with European Buckthorn, and it will be a challenge for the Society to restore them to a more natural condition to improve their value as habitat.

Due to the Molnar Sanctuary’s proximity to Aurora’s Sunny Lake Park, the property presents Audubon the opportunity to develop cooperative programs with the City for the benefit of local schools and residents. Aurora has indicated its willingness to engage in such programs, and we are currently working with Parks and Recreation Department officials to create them