A Walk Through Nature: Mrs. Hazzard’s Nature Preserve

A class at the nature preserve
A class at the nature preserve
Barred owl in its natural habitat

Student Nadia Niang (‘21) at the nature preserve

 

Established in 2000 by Mrs. Hazzard, Bolles’s nature preserve is a place of relaxation and meditation. Hazzard said, “I saw the area, I was afraid that it would be encroached upon by practice field, parking lot or new building.”
Hazzard’s priority was to conserve a natural space close to the San Jose campus. Hazzard explained, “When you have a natural space and natural place and animal community, right here in your own backyard, in your own campus, it’s very important, I thought to preserve it.”
And so, Hazzard proposed the nature preserve in 2000. She described the proposal as a “slam dunk” because the project “was so beneficial and it’s such a lovely place.”

Hazzard won two Ottenstroer fellowship awards for establishing that nature preserve.
In the course of 19 years, the nature preserve needed repairs. “In the past year or two, the boardwalk itself was actually damaged. And some trees were leaning way over and they closed it down, they closed the boardwalk down,” Hazzard said. 

“So that was 19 years ago and you can imagine over 19 years, things grow, things fall, storms come through.” Hazzard commented, “So it was really a resource that was not being used.”
Over the summer of 2019, Hazzard fixed up the nature preserve. “(At) the end of the summer we had an arborist come in and decide which trees were leaning, and some of them were dead and which ones needed to come out. And that cleanup was done.” Hazzard explained. “We also took out fallen trees and things like that, and they cleaned up the garbage and debris and removed stockpiles of things from near the entrance and exit and just spruced it up.”

It’s a great place for any class to go. “Dr. Yeakel took Latin classes over there, and they walked through recently this fall because they were learning terms and words about nature. And so it was kind of an out of the inside classroom experience for them.” Hazzard recalled, “I hadn’t thought of that particular application for Latin, they’re learning vocabulary and that’s a great place to do it.”
In addition, the nature preserve is a great place for relaxation and meditation. There are families of barred owls living within the nature preserve, which goes to show what a natural sanctuary it is. “I mean, it’s an outdoor classroom. It’s a place for reflection. It’s a place to study all manner of things,” Hazzard stated.
So next time you’re feeling stressed or like you have a lot on your plate, a stop by the nature preserve may be just the thing you need to get yourself back on track.