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Visit the Nature Center at Clifton Gorge State Nature Preserve

Posted on 4/9/2014 by State Nature Preserves

Would you like to learn more about Ohio’s natural history? Visit the Nature Center at Clifton Gorge State Nature Preserve, which opens for the 2014 season Saturday April 5. The Ohio Department of Natural Resources has converted a former office to an interactive nature center. Initially opened in 2012, the center hosted more than 7000 visitors in 2013, offering visitors a hands-on experience with the wonders of Ohio’s Natural Areas.

Exhibits feature live native turtles and fish, including a musk turtle and long-nose gar. Various animal pelts and mounts are also popular. Preserve Manager Michelle Comer coordinates the center. “The nature center has really enriched the Clifton Gorge visitor experience” she says. “People have responded very well. Our visitors really love the bees- we will be receiving a new hive in May after our previous one was left queenless and swarmed.” One of the most popular exhibits allows visitors to explore the microscopic world. Comer adds, “Our visitors really love our microscope. Our naturalist Tom Wiegel finds pond or river water, puts it on a slide, and is able to project the image onto a flat-screen T.V. We’ve seen beautiful diatoms, euglena, amoebas, and various unknowns scurrying across the screen.” Comer explains the support from the ODNR Division of Wildlife is key in operating the nature center. Through its naturalist grants program, the Division of Wildlife provides funding for wildlife education in Ohio’s State Parks and Natural Areas.

For those looking for cultural history, volunteer Richard Dellipina demonstrates the art of flint knapping for visitors. He also carefully teaches children how to use an atlatl, a type of spear-thrower used by ancient cultures. The next time you visit Clifton Gorge State Nature Preserve, be sure to stop by our nature center. The center is open weekends from 10:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. April 5-October 25, 2014 (Closed Easter Sunday).

Click the images to enlarge.