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Invest in the Best of Northeast Ohio's State Nature Preserves

Posted on 3/2/2015 by State Nature Preserves

Diverse landscapes offer a variety of habitats for unique plants and animals in northeast Ohio. A number of rare species are protected in the region’s 30 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 northeast Ohio, donations support land acquisition, critical eco-management, research, facility improvements and public education. Every donation helps protect Ohio’s threatened and endangered species and important habitats.

Headlands Dunes SNP

Haven’t visited a state nature preserve lately? Consider a visit to Headlands Dunes, situated east of Headlands Dunes State Park in Lake County. This site protects one of Lake Erie’s most pristine sand dune coastal ecosystems.

The 25-acre Headlands Dunes State Nature Preserve protects a healthy dunes habitat, more commonly found along the Atlantic coastal plains. It is home to several state-listed species of plants, including coastal little bluestem, inland beach pea and alpine rush.

The preserve is an excellent example of how tax refund donations can benefit local landscapes. In recent years, donations to the State Nature Preserves Fund supported critical eco-management activities that resulted in the removal of non-native plant species, such as phragmites and bush honeysuckle, from 20 acres of beach habitat at Headlands Dunes.

Headlands Dunes SNP

This spring, work will begin on the construction of an 800-foot accessible boardwalk and observation platform at Headlands Dunes State Nature Preserve, which will vastly improve access for all visitors while being more protective of the rare landscape. This project was funded by capital budget improvement monies, but made possible by the support Ohioans have shown for our state nature preserves through their tax donations.

Lovely in any season, Headlands Dunes is especially beautiful in the warm summer months. The preserve harbors more than 11 species of rare plants, including the state-listed American beach grass. This native grass is responsible for the formation of the dunes: instead of being buried by sand, it continues to grow upwards, forming dunes. The American beach pea, also state-listed, provides a splash of magenta hues to the dunes in June and July.

Headlands Dunes is a must-see during spring and fall migration. The preserve is a haven for migrating neo-tropical birds, including 25 species of warblers. When the lake thaws, the preserve is also a good spot for waterfowl observation as well.

Headlands Dunes SNP

Visiting Headlands Dunes State Nature Preserve is more enjoyable, and accessibility has been greatly 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).