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Clifton Gorge Nature Center

Posted on 12/4/2015 by State Nature Preserves

For the first four years of its existence, the nature center at Clifton Gorge State Nature Preserve in Greene County has attracted more visitors each year. Just prior to opening for its fifth season, the Clifton Gorge family experienced a great loss. Naturalist Tom Weigel and volunteer Richard Dellapina, retired biology teachers from Springfield South High School and Catholic Central High, both died in March 2015. Although they were in declining health during the 2014 season, they diligently staffed the nature center every weekend from April through October.

After the loss of Tom and Dell, preserve manager Michell Comer scrambled to find qualified volunteers who could help engage the public and interpret the natural history displays and live animal collection. With the help of Ohio Certified Volunteer Naturalists Allan Carney, Jen Greenlee, naturalist Heidi Edwards and myself, Michelle was able to staff the nature center for the 2015 season.

Much to our delight, the previous attendance record was smashed with a total of 10,254 visitors in 2015, more than a quarter of which were children. The lives of many nature loving citizens of all ages have been touched by the nature center and the beauty of Clifton Gorge State Nature Preserve. The legacy of Tom Wiegel and Richard Dellapina continues to grow with vigor for the future. We envite you to join us at the nature center in 2016!

The Clifton Gorge Nature Center is open weekends April-October and by appointment. For more information, please call (937) 537-6173.

-Alan Barone, Ohio Certified Volunteer Naturalist

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