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The Comeback Kid

Reviving Ohio's Natural Areas

- Jessica Keith

Imagine for a minute what your backyard may have looked like 300 years ago.

If you live in northwest Ohio, you’re standing perhaps hip deep in the Great Black Swamp—a 1,500-square-mile wetland that was gradually drained and settled in the 19th century; today it’s productive farmland.

If you’re in southern Ohio, your backyard lies in the middle of an extensive forest that blankets the backbone, foothills and valleys of the Appalachian Mountains, which stretch from Alabama to Maine. Over the years this forest was felled for development and fuel.

For those in the central part of the state, odds are good that you’re standing in a sea of grasses on the fringe of a prairie ecosystem, which once supported species like bison but over time was converted to agricultural lands.

A quick glance around Ohio today and it’s clear that people have touched these natural systems and others—from Lake Erie to the Ohio River and everything in between.

But look closely and you’ll also see the healing touch of people, at work in those special places that offer glimpses of Ohio’s natural past and, if protected and restored, hold the promise of a sustainable future. With your help, The Nature Conservancy is nurturing Ohio back to health.



TOP COMEBACKS

Big Darby Headwaters Nature Preserve

Kitty Todd Nature Preserve

Appalachian Foothill Forests

Lake Erie Coasts and Tributaries

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