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NATURAL TREASURES IN OHIO

Sweepstakes Closed (Winner to be Announced Soon)

Thank you for grabbing your camera and heading outdoors to explore nature and compete for a Honda Civic Hybrid. We are working on finalizing the winner and check back soon to find out who took a photo and won a car.

No Purchase Necessary. Open to legal residents of Alabama, Indiana, and Ohio. Must be 18 or older to enter. Sweepstakes begins at 12:00:01 AM ET on August 1st, 2014 and ends at 11:59:59 PM ET on September 30, 2014. Prize Drawing will take place at random in mid-October, 2014.

  • NORTHEAST (CLEVELAND)
  • CENTRAL (COLUMBUS)
  • SOUTHWEST (CINCINATTI)
  • NORTHWEST (TOLEDO)

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© Beth Eagle

You can enter our Natural Treasures challenge with a photo taken at your favorite place to hike, walk or relax in the outdoors.

Explore Your Own Natural Treasure

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Brandywine Falls © National Park Service

It's just a short distance from the urban bustle of Cleveland and Akron, but this oasis of green space seems worlds away.

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Mentor Marsh © Becky Donaldson

Designated Ohio's first state nature preserve, Mentor Marsh occupies an ancient, abandoned channel of the Grand River.

Explore This Location

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North Chagrin Reservation Nature Center © Cleveland Metroparks

Pack a lunch and bask in the serenity of the shag bark hickory grove, or walk through a native woodland wildflower garden.

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Goldenrod along the Kettle Trail © John Kolar

Settle in under the pergola to revel in the picturesque scenery, or venture along the Glacier Trail to board the observation deck overlooking Lake Kelso.

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Grand River at Morgan-Swamp © Ian Adams

Explore more than 1,400 acres of swamps, bogs, beaver ponds and vernal pools to see a rich diversity of plants and animals, from the beautiful white calla lily to the tiny four-toed salamander.

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Edgewater Park © Vynsane

A green oasis in the heart of Cleveland. Swim at the beach, enjoy lunch under the cottonwood trees or rally your kiddos and head to the swing.

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Big Darby Headwaters © Randall Schieber

Check out the 900-acre Big Darby Headwaters Nature Preserve that includes floodplain forests, wetlands and prairies and be sure to listen for birds as you take the mere 0.3 mile path to the preserve's first observation deck.

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Grange Insurance Audubon Center © GmanViz/Flickr Creative Commons License

Thousands of birds migrating from Central and South America stop in this area, only a mile from downtown Columbus, during their long journey. Over 200 bird species have been recorded, which can you find?

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Battelle Darby Creek canoeing © Cheryl Blair

Don't forget to bring your binoculars when you explore the extensive system of trails—there's even a herd of bison nearby!

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Pickerington Ponds observation deck at Ellis Pond © Karl Hassel

This 1,600-acre site is a haven for many bird varieties, including the osprey and great blue heron. Visit the four observation decks and see how many different types of birds you can find.

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Old Man's Cave © Bruce Faling

Waterfalls, waterfalls, waterfalls—how many can you count along the mile-long trail? See who can be the first to spot Sphinx Head—a rock formation that looks like a sphinx head.

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Charleston Fall Preserve © Miami County Park District

You can visit the Falls Observation Boardwalk for a view of "Miniature Niagara," stroll along the Cedar Pond Trail, or try the Red Bud Valley Trail. Keep your eyes open for animals such as red fox, pileated woodpeckers and wild turkeys that live in the 216 acres of prairie and forests.

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Brush Creek © TNC

With its forests, prairies and streams, Edge of Appalachia is one of the most biologically diverse areas in the Midwest. The preserve's forests are a haven for wildlife like bobcat, green salamander and migratory birds so see which ones you can spot.

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Englewood MetroPark © frted

Fishing, bird-watching, picnicking, horseback riding, canoeing and camping are just some of the activities available on Park’s 1,900 acres of lakes, woods, wetlands and meadows located just outside of Dayton.

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Forest magnolias at Mt. Airy Forest © Cincinnati Parks

Only 10 minutes from downtown Cincinnati, you can visit the arboretum to explore more than 5,000 plants, stop by Everybody’s Tree House, check out the disc golf course or look for fossils along the three-mile Ponderosa Trail.

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Ault Pavillion © Cincinnati Parks

An urban greenspace in Cincinnati, Ault Park is an oasis for people and an important refuge for wildlife.

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Blue Hole at Clifton Gorge © Arkntina/Flickr Creative Commons

Explore the overlooks some of which feature scenic waterfalls. While on the trail, keep your eyes open for Butler’s garter snake, which is rare to spot in Ohio.

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Wild lupine at Kitty Todd Preserve © Randall Schieber

This beautiful 1,000 acre preserve has one the highest concentrations of rare species of any preserve in the state and protects the unique geography of the Oak Openings Region that formed on the sand and clay left by glacial Lake Warren.

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Great Egret Marsh © ODNR

This marsh is not just for the many Egrets, and other waterfowl and wading birds—it is also a fun destination for the public with bird watching, canoe and kayaking and beautiful walks.

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Fishing at Side Cut © Toledo Metroparks

History, breathtaking views, fishing and lots of birds including osprey and eagles are all part of the charm of Side Cut MetroPark.

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Notes from the Road

Family Adventure 'Brought Us All Closer'

For last year's Natural Treasures contest, the Hughes family packed their two daughters—both under age 2—into packs and slings for visits to 29 sites.

"It made our summer full of adventure and wonder and helped to instill in our children a love of all things beautiful and natural. I think, in some ways, it has brought us all closer. Just beginning our little family unit, it's these moments, out in the splendor that is our world and the challenges it brings, that we can learn more about ourselves."

Notes from the Road

Have Toddler, Will Travel

Jennifer Beaver & P.J. Crabtree took their 13-month-old son along and still managed to see 29 Natural Treasures locations in Ohio last year.

"There were parts of the journey that were pretty challenging, especially when carrying a 25-pound child the whole way! But once you arrive, you are rewarded with a spectacular view. We saw parks we didn’t even know existed, it really was like treasure hunting."

Notes from the Road

Out of the House, into the Wild

During the 2013 Natural Treasures contest, Ohio resident Holly Beach and her boyfriend decided to make a summer project of visiting all 30 Natural Treasures destinations.

"It got us out of the house more than we would have otherwise, and we discovered some amazing parks we plan to return to,” Holly said. "I would have loved this as a kid ... I'm nearly 32 and it's still pretty awesome."

Notes from the Road

The Journey is the Destination

In summer of 2013, the Natural Treasures challenge gave retired teacher and administrator Bill Schuette the chance to see firsthand the unique Ohio geology he remembers teaching.

"The challenge of getting there and what you see on your way is as much a part of the experience as the park itself," he said.

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No Purchase Necessary. Open to legal residents of Alabama, Indiana, and Ohio. Must be 18 or older to enter. Sweepstakes begins at 12:00:01 AM ET on August 1st, 2014 and ends at 11:59:59 PM ET on September 30, 2014. Prize Drawing will take place at random in mid-October, 2014.

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