Panzner family members gather by rendition sign to be replaced with its permanent counterpart, at the entrance to the University’s Panzner Wetland Wildlife Reserve.
Lush, green wetlands, expanding as far as the eye can see, served as the backdrop for the June 13, 2012, Panzner Wildlife Wetland Reserve dedication ceremony.
The Panzner family of Copley donated the 104.67-acre outdoor laboratory to UA for use by biology, archaeology, geology, geography, environmental science and other departments. Already, students and faculty use the property to conduct research on how wetlands control flood waters, on the area’s wildlife and pollinator inhabitants, on how climate change affects wetlands and other projects.
The land — used for farming for eight decades — was restored as a wetland free of invasive plant life and rich with meadows, shallow ponds, marshes and wooded terrain, by brothers Steve and Jerry Panzner.
“[They] made a shift from this being a restoration step to a learning facility for UA,” said Dr. Randall Mitchell, Glenny Endowed professor of biology and director of The University of Akron Field Station. “We need this kind of science in the future to understand how humans can relate to the environment in a positive way for both.”
Ceremony presenters emphasized the value of the wetlands to the University and its students, They included Mitchell; Dr. Monte Turner, professor and chair of biology and acting interim director of UA’s Integrated bioscience Ph.D. program; Helen Humphrys, president of the Copley Township Board of Trustees; Dr. Chand Midha, dean of the Buchtel College of Arts and Sciences; and the Panzner brothers,
Wildlife discovered on the property in recent months and years include two dozen mammals species such as mink, rare wood turtles, at least six fish species and several dozen bird and insect species.
“Our goal was to create a wetlands to educate,” said Jerry Panzner. “Family is what built this land and we found another family to take [it] over.”
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