In 1993, Dr. Louise Kreher Turner and her husband, Frank Allan Turner, donated 120 acres of forest land to Auburn University School of Forestry and Wildlife Sciences. As Auburn and surrounding areas continued to grow, the Turners wanted to see the preserve intact and become an educational facility where “students” could study, learn, appreciate, and enjoy the natural world.
The Louise Kreher Forest Ecology Preserve, as it is now called, was once a homestead that belonged to the Cooper family. The land first belonged to the Creek Indian tribes and was later bought by the Carter family who sold it to the the Cooper family. Frank and Dr. Louise Kreher Turner bought the land from the Coopers after the house burnt down in the late 1930′s. The Turners used the former cotton farm for cattle for a couple of decades before allowing the land to return to forest. The Turners donated the land for public use to be managed by Auburn University in 1993.
To help their dream become a reality, Dr. Turner began managing and developing the Forest Ecology Preserve and its programs from 1998-2000. In 2001, management was taken over by a volunteer program and development committee under the directions of Dr. Richard Brinker, Dean of School of Forestry and Wildlife Sciences and Margaret Holler, Preserve coordinator. In 2007, Auburn University hired the first full-time administrator, Jennifer Lolley, a 1986 A.U. graduate, to help further develop the Forest Ecology Preserve.
As a result of this investment, in 2008 the Preserve became fully accessible to the public seven days a week, all year-round. Shortly after an advisory board was formed to provide leadership and oversight. Today the Preserve acts as an outreach program of the School of Forestry and Wildlife Sciences, serving as a local resource for outdoor recreation and environmental education for thousands of visitors and students each year.