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Invest in the Best of Southwest Ohio’s State Nature Preserves

Posted on 2/11/2015 by State Nature Preserves

Diverse landscapes offer a variety of habitats for unique plants and animals in southwest Ohio. A number of rare species are protected in the region’s 23 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 southwest 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.

Haven’t visited a state nature preserve lately? Consider a visit to Scioto Brush Creek, located near McDermott in Scioto County. This site is an excellent example of how tax refund donations can benefit local landscapes.

The 30-acre Scioto Brush Creek State Nature Preserve protects more than 1 mile of Scioto Brush Creek, one of the Ohio’s most diverse streams. The creek is home to more than 70 species of fish, including longnose gar and rosyside dace. The preserve also protects a number of rare plants, including Virginia spiraea, Southern monkshood, Appalachian quillwort and spotted panic grass.

Scioto Brush Creek State Nature Preserve

The preserve was purchased using $30,200 in tax donations in 2006. Most recently, donations to the State Nature Preserves Fund supported facility improvements, which make visiting Scioto Brush Creek State Nature Preserve more enjoyable for visitors.

In addition to a new parking area, fencing and a permanent visitor information kiosk, visitors are now greeted by the new 1.5 mile River Otter Loop trail. Named after a river otter spotted in the waters of the creek, the trail takes visitors to the heart of the preserve. The easy trail features new foot bridges leading visitors to the sights and sounds of a high-quality forest habitat.

Lovely in any season, Scioto Brush Creek is especially beautiful in the spring. The preserve harbors more than 250 species of plants, including a number of spring ephemerals. From late March to early May, the preserve awakens with colors provided by Virginia bluebells, large-flowered valerian, dwarf crested iris, dwarf larkspur and wood poppy.

Scioto Brush Creek State Nature Preserve

Flowers aren’t the only attraction at this small southwestern Ohio gem. Birding enthusiasts may spy a variety of spring migrants, including cerulean warblers, yellow-billed cuckoos, northern parulas, scarlet tanagers and the more common Baltimore oriole.

Visiting Scioto Brush Creek 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).