An outcropping overhangs a stream running through a forest.
Jenkins tract Ohio is focusing land acquisition efforts on high priority parcels that help reconnect fragmented habitats while protecting biodiversity of plants and wildlife. © Terry Seidel/TNC

Stories in Ohio

Protecting Places Crucial for Nature in Ohio

Ohio’s natural areas are as bountiful as they are beautiful. Discover how we're safeguarding biodiversity through land protection across the state.

Ohio's Land Protection Efforts Prioritize Biodiversity

Climate change and loss of biodiversity threaten the future of people and nature worldwide. The Nature Conservancy is addressing these interconnected issues by conserving the lands and waters on which all life depends. As part of our 2030 goals, we are working to protect 30% of land and water to help stop irreversible biodiversity loss this decade. This includes conserving 1.6 billion acres of land, 620,000 miles of river and 74 million acres of lakes and wetlands globally.

Here in Ohio, we’re doing our part by conserving valuable habitats that will help us achieve our climate and biodiversity goals. By protecting and restoring habitats like wetlands, streams, rivers, lakes and forests, TNC is helping to reconnect fragmented habitats for plants and wildlife while ensuring the resiliency of these systems to support people and nature in a changing climate.

Here Are Four Natural Areas We've Recently Protected

Mackenzie Run

Restored in 2022

Mackenzie Run property.
Mackenzie Run Boat Ramp.
Milkweed flowers.
Mackenzie Run.

TNC finished restoration work at Mackenzie Run in summer 2022. The property was purchased in 2021, thanks to support from local county commissioners and township trustees and funding from the Clean Ohio Fund and ODNR-Division of Wildlife. Portions of the southern Ohio property were once home to a bar, dirt racetrack and campground. TNC worked alongside many partners and volunteers, including Rural Action members and students from West Union High School Agriculture and Science classes, to restore the 37-acre area to natural habitat while providing public access through the enhancement of a boat and canoe launch. The purchase of the Mackenzie Run property also allowed TNC to conserve the last unprotected piece of the Mackenzie Run watershed, a rare cold-water creek habitat that supports an array of wildlife.

Ladd Tract

Acquired in March 2022

Trees sit at the edge of a slope in a forest.
Small purple flowers grow amongst green vegetation.
A small stream runs through a forest.
Shrubs grow among trees in forest.
Large rock formation overhangs ridge.
Delicate flowers growing on a stem in the forest.
Rocky stream flows through forest.
Lichen covered rocks sit amongst colorful leaves on forest floor.
Man looks at trees while standing next to an old wooden barn in the forest.
Trees stand along ridge overlooking forest.

In March 2022, TNC acquired the 128-acre Ladd tract in southern Ohio at our Richard and Lucile Durrell Edge of Appalachia Preserve. The property protects the lower half of Pine Fork Hollow, one of the deep narrow valleys that cut into the south slope of Sunshine ridge. This ridge is the prominent topographic feature of TNC’s Sunshine Corridor Project, an effort to link the 20,000-acre preserve and the 65,000-acre Shawnee State Forest.

The primary habitat of the Ladd tract is Appalachian hardwood forest with slopes comprised of white, red, scarlet oaks, various hickory species, beech, sugar maple and tulip tree. High, dry ridges support acid-loving species such as chestnut oak, pitch and Virginia pine, sourwood and occasional mountain laurel. The land sustains numerous species of wildlife from rare black bear and bobcat to turkey and whitetail deer and more diminutive species like cerulean and worm-eating warblers and spotted salamanders. This acquisition was funded by generous donations from private donors.

Jenkins Tract

Acquired in February 2022

A stream flows through a forest.
A delicate orange flower blossoms among vegetation.
A small stream flows from open field into forest.
Yellow flowers bloom in a prairie.
Purple flowers grow on single stem in a green field.
Small spiky flower grows along grass blades.
Bright red flowers grow in field.
Purple flowers grow in green field.
Small downward hanging white flowers grow from single stem.
Red and green plants grow along rocks.

In early February, TNC closed on the 94-acre Jenkins tract, an important addition to the Edge of Appalachia Preserve. The acquisition was funded by the Ohio EPA’s Water Resource Restoration Sponsor Program (WRRSP). WRRSP targets the protection and restoration of Ohio’s high-quality streams and wetlands. The Jenkins tract has an abundance of important aquatic habitats including many spring-fed tributaries and a long section of Mill Creek, a tributary of Scioto Brush Creek. The property also protects deciduous forest and red cedar thickets as well as rare dry limestone prairie that bursts with color in midsummer. A number of state-listed species are found in this habitat, including crested coralroot orchid (Hexalectris spicata), scaly blazing star (Liatris squarrosa) and the green-star sedge (Carex viridistellata).

Gray Tract

Acquired in Summer 2021

Forest and prairie habitat at the Edge of Appalachia Preserve.
Mossy log rests in a creek bed at the Edge of Appalachia Preserve.
Fall trees at the Edge of Appalachia Preserve.
Headwaters of Blue Creek, a tributary to the very high quality Scioto Brush Creek.

The Gray tract is a 20-acre addition to the Edge of Appalachia Preserve. Sitting at the junction of Blue Creek Road and Sunshine Ridge Road, the tract serves as a gateway to the Sunshine Corridor, an effort to link the 20,000-acre Edge of Appalachia preserve to the 65,000-acre Shawnee State Forest. Protecting the Gray Tract helps safeguard the gateway while minimizing habitat fragmentation in the corridor, which serves as a link in the chain of connected deciduous forest habitat along the corridor. It also protects the headwaters of Blue Creek, a tributary to the very high-quality Scioto Brush Creek.