Pettus Hill Preserve in West Windsor
A Legacy of Love and Land
On Sunday, May 19, 2019, the Waterman Conservation Education Center hosted the grand opening of the Pettus Hill Preserve in West Windsor. Many came out to celebrate this special event made possible by the generosity of the late Charles Pettus whose love of nature and community will now live on in this beautiful hilltop preserve.
Chuck Pettus was well-known and highly regarded in both his professional and personal life. A retired IBM Physicist and Engineer and longtime musician and naturalist, he spent the latter years of his life on the 103-acre wooded hilltop property he called home up on Abbey Road.
Starting around 1990, Mr. Pettus attempted to make his property the “highest point in Broome County” by constructing a “pyramid” of soil and rock at the highest elevation on his hilltop. He fell short of his goal but his pyramid is still there and so is the Vernal pond from which soil for the pyramid was excavated, and from which you may hear a chorus of bullfrogs harmonizing right now. There’s a 100-year-old stone farmhouse foundation as well. And the overlook and north-facing views are quite impressive from the preserve’s lofty summit.
Wanting to share his beloved West Windsor hilltop with all, especially young people, Chuck Pettus bequeathed it to the Waterman Conservation Center in his Will with the provision that it be kept “forever wild” for the education and enjoyment of the community. He passed away in 2013 knowing that many others would be able to experience the natural beauty and serenity of his woodland property.
Thanks to the dedicated hard work of Eagle Scout Phillip Card of Windsor Boy Scout Troop 68 there is an attractive shelter with benches along the main trail leading to the Pettus Memorial.
The Waterman Conservation Center has oversight of five other properties in Broome and Tioga counties: Brick Pond in Owego, Hiawatha Island, Apalachin Marsh, Hilton Road Interpretive Center in Apalachin, and IBM Glen in Union.
Article and photos courtesy of Eileen Ruggieri