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Invest in the Best of Central Ohio’s Natural Areas

Posted on 4/6/2015 by State Nature Preserves

SPRINGFIELD, OH - It’s not too late to support the diverse landscapes in central Ohio that offer a variety of habitats for unique plants and animals. A number of rare species are protected in the region’s 28 state nature preserves because of the generosity of Ohioans who donated a portion of their tax refunds to the State Nature Preserves Fund.

Donations to the State Nature Preserves Fund help protect the best of Ohio’s natural landscapes: from bogs and fens to prairies and old-growth forest, as well as the native plant and animal communities found in these biologically diverse landscapes.

In central Ohio, donations support land acquisition, critical eco-management, research, facility improvements and public education; all donations help protect Ohio’s threatened and endangered species and important habitats.

Haven’t been to a state nature preserve lately? Consider a visit to Gallagher Fen State Nature Preserve, located east of Springfield in Clark County. This site is an excellent example of how tax refund donations can benefit local landscapes.

Gallagher Fen is one of the best examples of a prairie fen community in Ohio. A unique kind of wetland, fens are alkaline wetlands which are able to support a large variety of life. The 213-acre preserve’s fen meadows protect a variety of fen species, including shrubby cinquefoil, tall larkspur, Grass-of-Parnassus and Ohio goldenrod. The preserve also protects an oak savannah, which provides habitat for a number of dry prairie species as well.

In recent years, donations to the State Nature Preserve fund have supported the eradication of highly invasive, non-native plant species threatening the preserve. Despite the work to eradicate buckthorn and reed canary grass, eco-management must continue to address the removal of these species so the prairie fen species may thrive.

Donations have also supported the building of a new staircase at Gallagher Fen State Nature Preserve, which provided easy accessibility to viewing the west fen along the boardwalk trail. The labor for this project was provided by volunteers from the Columbus chapter of Audubon Ohio.

Lovely in any season, Gallagher Fen is especially beautiful in the summer. Prairie plants, such as prairie dock, Michigan lily, purple coneflower, jewelweed and several colorful grasses, light up the preserve with their vibrant yellows, pinks and purples from late June through August.

Visiting Gallagher Fen State Nature Preserve is more enjoyable and accessibility is improved because of donations to the State Nature Preserves Fund. Becoming a partner in future preservation projects is easy.

Ohioans can donate all or part of their state income tax refund by making a contribution on line 27d of the 2014 Individual Income Tax Return (line 20d of the 1040 EZ form).