For this week's Community Gem, Erie News Now is featuring a local land bank that looks to increase public access to green space around our area.

If you enjoy sounds of nature, then you might consider the Lake Erie Region Conservancy, a local land trust, a community gem.

They're trying to protect these gems, these properties that have significant natural value and beauty.

Properties like what is now known as the West Road Access Area near McKean.

The Lake Erie Region Conservancy acquired the more than 46 acres in 2008.

"Mostly for hiking and communing with nature," said David Skellie, LERC Board President. "We've made a few improvements as far as the trail. To get to the top of the bluff, you can go down the bluff, put your feet in the water, and you can cross the creek. We own both sides for about a half mile."

And there's more.

The Lake Erie Region Conservancy has been directly involved or aided significantly with 27 projects over the past 22 years.

Areas like the East Side Forest and Veterans Park in Millcreek. That's more than 1,700 acres conserved and now open to the public.

"It's certainly a space for the public to use. We want people to come, we want people to use it, and enjoy it," said David. "And that, in addition to wildlife habitat and water quality, all those other natural benefits, the benefit to just people, Erie countians and visitors alike."

And they're asking for your help. The nonprofit will be part of Erie Gives Day next month.

"We're urging people to support what we do," said David. "If you like green space and the Lake Erie watershed and you want to see more of it, please consider us as part of Erie Gives Day on August 8th."