Protecting Central Ohio’s prairies

Tax donations at work at Crawford County’s Daughmer Prairie Savannah State Nature Preserve

Staff report

Ohio State Nature Preserves are beautiful natural areas where many of the state’s endangered species are thriving and rare geologic features are protected, thanks to the generosity of Ohioans who have donated a portion of their state tax refunds to the State Nature Preserves Fund.

Donations to this fund protect the best of Ohio’s natural areas, including bogs and fens, prairies, old growth forests and rare geologic formations. The fund supports new land purchases, educational opportunities and scientific research. Tax refund donations are also critical for enabling preserve managers to battle invasive plant species threatening native habitats.

Across the state, 136 state nature preserves, totaling 30,000 acres, are open year-round for the enjoyment and benefit of all Ohioans. In central Ohio, donations help preserve remnants of Ohio’s native prairies which greeted early settlers as they arrived.

Daughmer Prairie Savannah State Nature Preserve, located southwest of Bucyrus in Crawford County, is an excellent example of how tax donations can benefit natural areas. The purchase of this 34-acre site in 2011 was made possible by the State Nature Preserves Fund.

This preserve is a rare example of the once vast Sandusky Plains that comprised more than 200,000 acres of tall grass prairie and oak savannah in north central Ohio. This beautiful natural area protects majestic 200-year-old bur oak trees, the state endangered ironweed, state threatened Bicknell’s sedge and inland rush species, as well as the state potentially threatened wheat sedge and flat stemmed spike-rush.

Lovely in any season, Daughmer Prairie Savannah is especially beautiful in late summer. Standing in the preserve surrounded by big bluestem, Indian grass, Canada bluejoint and prairie cord grass, it’s easy to imagine the covered wagons rolling by in the early 1800s. The preserve’s showy display of bright blooms include grey-headed coneflower, Sullivant’s milkweed, blue vervain, pale spiked lobelia, prairie dock, stiff goldenrod and Virginia mountain-mint.

Owned by the Ohio Department of Natural Resources (ODNR), the site is managed by the Crawford Park District. Visitors to the preserve enjoy well-maintained parking facilities, a half-mile trail, interpretive signage and scheduled educational programs.

It’s easy to become a partner in future preservation projects at Ohio’s state nature preserves.

Ohioans can donate all or a part of their state income tax refund by making a contribution on line 26c of the 2015 Universal IT 1040 Income Tax Return. To learn more about becoming a partner in preservation or visiting any of Ohio’s 136 state nature preserves, visit
Tax donations at work at Crawford County’s Daughmer Prairie Savannah State Nature Preserve

Staff report