Clare leading a group of local school children through Lower
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the Preserve Manager
Clare Sipple was hired in October 2001 as a consultant and independent contractor to serve as the first Preserve Manager for Lower Howard's Creek. Working for the Clark County/Winchester Heritage Commission, and with assistance from the Friends of Lower Howards Creek, her responsibilities include managing the myriad of projects underway at the Preserve, developing educational programs, coordinating volunteer activities and leading hikes. She has a lot to do for a part-time position! Clare has unique qualifications as the Preserve Manager, not the least of which are her knowledge of the area and her contagious enthusiasm for Lower Howard's Creek. We hope you get the chance to meet her soon. In the meantime, you can get to know Clare a little by reading what she has written about herself.
LHC Preserve Manager
As a direct descendent of Captain Billy Bush, I was exposed to Lower Howard's Creek from a very early age, by both my mother and maternal grandmother, who was very proud of her favorite ancestor. My mother's interest was in the natural resources of LHC, especially the woodpeckers and waterfowl and the large variety of wild flowers. As a small child, I was much more interested in wading the creek and skipping rocks than in listening to stories about the heritage the area was so rich in. As I entered my teenage years, I began spending a lot of time on the Venable farm, which borders both LHC and the West fork of LHC. My connection with the creek valley became stronger as I explored it by horseback and gained an understanding of the importance of the creek as a thoroughfare or corridor for traveling and commerce in the 18th and 19th centuries. I always think of LHC as a geographic area with connections that transcend physical boundaries. My appreciation for its natural and man-made features has deepened over the span of almost half a century that my involvement has entailed. I have always known it was a special area, but my world-wide travels have never led me to another place with more to offer in terms of marrying the elements of cultural and natural resources to pique my imagination and sooth my soul.
I spent most of my life managing farms, with an emphasis on restoring one particular farm to full productivity. Included in my duties were the restoration of a Federal style brick and stone house, which was built 1810-1812, and the entailed outbuildings and stone fences associated with the farm. When I returned to college as a non-traditional student, farming was not on my list of careers, so I embarked on my quest for knowledge with an open mind, craving things more academic than vocational. I ended up with a Bachelor of Arts in anthropology, specializing in contract archaeology, and a Bachelor of Science in Landscape Architecture. Along the way I considered careers in Geology and History, but with two children to raise, opted instead for careers that didn't require doctorates for finding work. After a year and a half of internship with a large landscape design/build firm in Lexington, I went out on limb and expanded into my own firm, specializing in designs for institutional gardens for rehabilitation and therapy. One thing led to another, and I became more involved with restoration and construction projects, as well as designing residential and commercial landscapes and gardens in the central Bluegrass area. My interest in LHC became more focused on the geological features and the identification of cultural features along the corridor, as well as adding to my knowledge of the plant species along LHC. When the Clark County Fiscal Court advertised that they were accepting a grant for the purchase of a portion of LHC as a nature preserve, I became involved with the project as a liaison between adjacent property owners and the Clark County/Winchester Heritage Commission. My involvement has since intensified to the point that I have scaled down my personal business to have more time to focus on the management of the LHC Preserve. It's as if my life was set up from an early age to place me in the position I hold today as manager of the LHC Nature and Heritage Preserve. My background of experiences with historic preservation and cultural anthropology coupled with experience with designing and planning projects and managing work crews, husbanding farmland, and acquiring knowledge about wild and domesticated plant and animal species placed me in a unique position to qualify me as Manager of this incredible area. Working with LHC's executive committee and all the agencies involved with this project has been so exciting, and I am receiving continuing education that far exceeds post-graduate offerings! Managing the LHC preserve is a multi-disciplinary exercise in balancing the needs of the natural and cultural resources of the site. It involves a wide range of professionals who are surveying the resources and making recommendations for their management. Planning the direction the Preserve will take will entail a long and thoughtful process, and we have a lot of work to do in order to meet the needs of this involved project. With luck, and the resources available to the project, we will have huge success.
See you at the creek!