​Todd Nature Reserve History

Audubon's first property

W.E. Clyde Todd’s passion for birds led him into a career studying birds. Before becoming the Curator of Birds at Carnegie Museum, as many associate him, Clyde Todd worked for the U.S. Biological Survey, as well as for Dr. C. Hart Merriam, as an assistant in formulating the new concept of life zones. Mr. Todd held the position of Curator of Birds from 1899 to 1945, and then became Curator Emeritus until his death in 1969.

In 1942, Clyde Todd approached Audubon Society of Western Pennsylvania with an offer of land situated near Leasureville, Butler County, PA. The land, was a portion of his grandfather’s Hazelwood Farm, the place where his passion for birds began. His gift to the society marked the first parcel of land owned by the society, and it was Todd’s hope that the land would be kept in perpetuity as a wildlife sanctuary. In the years that followed, Mr. Todd assisted in acquiring additional lands. By early 1970, the reserve stood at 160 acres, and encompassed the streams and valleys that embody the property today.

In the 1990s, ASWP added an additional 15 acre tract along Kepple Road to the property. Recently, ASWP purchased a 100 acre tract mostly south of the sanctuary. The lands act as a buffer to the core parcel of the reserve, and protects the view scapes of the area. ASWP will continue to protect W.E. Clyde Todd’s wishes by maintaining a wildlife sanctuary on the land where he grew up, and the property that bears his name.