A century ago what is now the St. Anne’s Woods and Wetlands Conservation Area was found by renowned ecologist Lucy Braun, who described it in 1916 as “the best depression forest on the Ohio River floodplain”. In 1945 the Sisters of Divine Providence, a Roman Catholic community, became stewards of the site as part of the St. Anne Convent campus. In recent decades the Sisters partnered with Thomas Moore College, Xavier University, Northern Kentucky University and others to develop an environmental education and research program. The Congregation of Divine Providence describe the site as “a gift of God’s Providence,” and state that “land and property are entrusted to our care as a resource for mission”, with part of that mission to “renew the face of the earth in maintaining and promoting a partnership with the land based on mutual respect, reciprocal healing, and reconciliation.” The Sisters will continue their environmental education efforts on the site with land management provided by the Campbell County Conservation District and the added habitat protection of the KHLCF conservation easement. This area represents one of the best wetland areas along the Ohio River in Northern Kentucky and supports many native species now uncommon in this region, such as Jefferson’s salamanders and wood frogs. The diverse amphibian populations also include streamside salamanders, ravine salamanders, greens frogs, Spring peepers, and American toads. The property provides a critical link in maintaining habitat in an area under increasing development pressure. A mature beech-dominated forest is the centerpiece of the forest, while other trees documented include silver maple, cottonwood, sycamore, American elm, black willow, pin oak, and swamp white oak.
From Covington take KY 8 (the Mary Ingles Highway) to Melbourne, KY. The trails through the beech forest can be accessed from the St. Anne’s Convent grounds on the south side of the highway. A parking lot leading to the trails through the wetlands can be found off of Anderson Lane, which is on the north side of the highway approximately 0.25 miles from the convent entrance.