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):
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