The Yankauer Nature Preserve is located on Whiting's Neck Road just north of Shepherdstown, WV. The property is named after Dr. and Mrs. Alfred Yankauer, who donated it to The Nature Conservancy in 1967. Today, it is still owned by The Nature Conservancy and managed by the Potomac Valley Audubon Society. The preserve encompasses a total of 104 acres. Most of the land is gently rolling former farmland that is gradually returning to its natural forested state. Because this land is in this kind of transition it is, in effect, an especially interesting and informative natural laboratory: visitors can view a constantly changing blend of fast-growing shrubs and trees, red cedar glades, and emerging oak forest. The preserve also includes a section of wooded, high limestone bluffs overlooking the Potomac River, which adds even more variety to the landscape and habitat mix.
At least 105 different species of plants have been identified on the preserve. Clusters of wildflowers such as Dutchmen's Breeches, Jack-in-the-Pulpit, Hepatica, and Twinleaf are easily found in the spring. There is equal diversity among the animals on the preserve. Waterfowl can be seen along the Potomac during their spring migration. Breeding season brings sweet-singing warblers and vireos as they nest among the cedars. Barred Owls are often heard throughout the year. Since the Eastern Panhandle is the fastest growing section of West Virginia, the Yankauer Preserve constitutes an important community resource that is becoming more unique and irreplaceable each year. Activities In addition to maintaining the preserve as a wildlife refuge, the Potomac Valley Audubon Society utilizes the property in a variety of ways. First and foremost, the preserve serves as the primary field laboratory for the Society's education programs for children. These programs include school programs, after-school enrichment programs, programs for scouts and other youth groups, and a summer camp. For adults as well as children, the Society offers a spring wildflower festival and a summer concert series at the preserve each year. The Society also uses the preserve to promote conservation awareness, regularly involving community volunteers in such conservation activities as trail maintenance, erosion control, and control of invasive plants. And, of course, members of the public are welcome to visit the preserve at any time. Currently, the property includes about two miles of easy walking trails, and the main trail includes interpretive signs. For a trail map and other details about the preserve, see the website listed above. Directions: From the 4-way stop sign (routes 45 and 480) in Shepherdstown, drive towards Sharpsburg. Go about 1/4 mile and turn left onto Shepherd Grade Road (the road that angles in to Rt. 480 across from the Shepherd College football field.) Travel about 1 and 1/2 miles and bear left at the "Y" intersection onto Scrabble Road. (Bearing right will take you to the Training Center.) About 1 1/2 miles further, a road intersects on the left with Scrabble Road. Stay to the right. After another .5 mile, stay on Scrabble Road as it turns left at yet another "Y." Drive two additional miles and turn right onto Rt. 5/4, Whitings Neck Road, which leads to the Whiting's Neck development. (You should see a Wildlife Viewing sign at the turn.) The Yankauer Preserve is a little less than half a mile on the right. GPS Coordinates: N39 30.086 W77 51.191