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Experience Unique Summer Flowers at Irwin Prairie State Nature Preserve

Posted on 6/25/2015 by State Nature Preserves

Interpretive walk to focus on state-listed rare plants found in the preserve.

Experience a beautiful floral display along a wetland boardwalk in northwest Ohio by joining a free naturalist-led walk on Saturday, June 27 beginning at 10:00 am at Irwin Prairie State Nature Preserve in Lucas County.

Sponsored by the Ohio Department of Natural Resources’ Division of Natural Areas and Preserves, this walk will focus on identifying the many rare and endangered plants found within the mosaic of distinctive wetland communities, the core of which is a treeless, wet sedge meadow, considered the finest remaining sedge meadow in the state.

The tall-grass wet prairie community is dominated by big bluestem and spiked blazing-star; the sedge meadow is dominated by twig-rush; the shrub swamp is occupied by dogwood and willow; blue-joint grass and northern reed-grass grow in the grass meadow; and the swamp forest is dominated by pin oaks and cottonwoods. More than 26 state-listed species of plants occur here including red baneberry, Sartwell's sedge, fringed gentian, Kalm's St. John's-wort, Riddell's goldenrod and grass-leaf arrowhead.

From the parking lot the boardwalk sets off through a small grassy oak savanna which eventually gives way to a pin oak-dominated swamp forest. Once through the swamp forest the wet prairie opens to its greatest expanse. After walking for approximately 1/2 mile the boardwalk then enters another swamp forest area, then opens up in to another section of secluded wet prairie called Grass Lake, which is surrounded by trees and can be observed by elevated observation deck.

Comprising 226 acres, Irwin Prairie State Nature Preserve has a handicapped accessible boardwalk which provides access through Irwin Prairie. The boardwalk is a 1 1/4 mile loop trail beginning and ending at the parking lot on Bancroft St.

Located in Lucas County about 10 miles west of Toledo. From I-475/U.S. Route 23, follow U.S. Route 20 west approximately 3 miles to Centennial Road; south about 1 mile to Bancroft Street; and then west on Bancroft to the preserve entrance parking area.