Stories in Ohio

2020 Highlights: A Year of Tenacity and Positivity

Thank you for making 2020 a year filled with conservation victories!

This page was updated on December 15, 2020.

This year was anything but ordinary. In a time when so many things changed, what didn’t change were the moments of breathtaking dedication to Ohio—by our legislators, our partners and you. We hope you enjoy seeing some of our more recent successes. They wouldn’t have been possible without your support. 

Lush forest foliage and trees surround the view looking down into a gorge while a full river cascades over a waterfall.
Helen C. Black Trail Cedar falls can be seen along the Helen C. Black Trail within the Edge of Appalachia Preserve System in Adams County. © Mark Godfrey/TNC

New Trails

2.85 — This is the number of new miles of trail constructed and waiting to be explored at the Barbara A. Lipscomb Trail at Snow Lake and the Helen C. Black Trail at the Edge of Appalachia Preserve.  Both trails honor long-time supporters of The Nature Conservancy who were passionate about saving Ohio's amazing natural resources. In total, The Nature Conservancy in Ohio has 8 preserves that are open to the public with more than 40 miles of trails to hike across the state.

The front of the Ohio statehouse building with tall stone columns, steps leading up to the doors.
Ohio Statehouse Our work to ensure good policies are in place goes hand in hand with our on the ground conservation work. © David Ike

Supporting Nature through Policy

4—The number of members of Congress who said The Nature Conservancy's advocacy efforts played a role in their eventual sponsorship of the Great American Outdoors Act. This combines two conservation proposals: the Land and Water Conservation Fund (LWCF) and it establishes a National Park and Public Lands Legacy Restoration Fund. The Great American Outdoors Act provides critical support for longstanding efforts to protect public lands, restore public places to be safer and more enjoyable, and increase access to nature for all communities. This commitment to conservation will pay economic, health and societal dividends for generations to come.

Mist rising from a ditch that juts across the landscape of a grassy farm field with white metal barns in the background.
Filter strip on farm field. Brian Nusbaum is the owner of a 750-acre farm in Sherwood, Ohio (Western Lake Erie Basin), where he grows corn and soybeans. Nusbaum uses no-till and cover crop practices © David Ike

4R Program Expands

25 This is the percentage of growth in the number of facilities certified through the 4R Nutrient Stewardship Certification Program, now servicing more than 2.8 million farm acres in Ohio. The 4R program was created to help solve the problem of excess nutrients in our waters that contribute to the rise of harmful algal blooms in Lake Erie and the Ohio River. Meet some of the farmers implemeting practices to improve soil health for water, productivity and climate in this video.

A white bird with a yellow patch and black stripe down its throat, gray head and rust patch down its back, sits on flowers.
Dickcissel (Spiza americana) © Tim Daniel/Ohio Department of Natural Resources

Staying Connected

114—This is the number of members and supporters who registered for the first-ever virtual State of the Conservancy in Ohio webinar as we all transitioned from in-person events to staying connected online. 2021 will bring even more opportunities for virtual engagement. Look for events from our Sustainable Ag Program like this webinar series  that was live-streamed on our facebook page. We'll also have online events with our conservation staff and our volunteer coordinator will hold a series featuring The Nature Conservancy's virtual youth curriculum, Nature Lab.

A sun bean shines through the thick forest onto a narrow dirt road.
Sunshine Ridge Sun shines through the trees and across a dirt road in Adams County called Sunshine Ridge, the namesake of our Sunshine Corridor project. © Lucy Miller/TNC

Protecting Resilient Lands

 163—Our latest acquisition adds 163 acres of land, an important step toward a long-term vision to protect and connect land in the Sunshine Corridor region, a land bridge between the Edge of Appalachia Preserve System and the Shawnee State Forest.  As climate change forces species to move, new science is identifying habitats that—if protected—can help them survive. The Nature Conservancy recently completed research to identify which lands in the United States are most resilient to climate change and can support the most diverse range of plants and animals. The Sunshine Corridor and our Edge of Appalachia Preserve System have been identified as resilient and important habitat to protect in this newly mapped network of lands.   

A bird's eye view of construction equipment moving dirt and recreating a winding stream among a lush forest.
Ohio Mitigation Program Strait Creek project under construction © Dana Ohman/TNC

Ohio Mitigation Program is 5 years and Counting

200—This is the number of acres in conservation lands acquired by the Ohio Mitigation Program, which celebrated its five-year anniversary and restored more than one mile of stream and 1.7 acres of wetlands in its first stream and wetland mitigation project. The program is founded on federal and state laws that require developers to avoid, minimize and offset harm to wetlands and streams. Through the program, TNC is designing the best stream and wetland conservation projects possible, raising the bar for mitigation across the state. 

Looking upstream at a small trickle of water passing through a forest floor of autumn leaves, on each side are high banks.
Cuyahoga Valley National Park Man-made log jams are designed to mimic the natural accumulation of woody debris and organic material key to capturing soil and nutrients, improving water quality and habitat. © Andrew Bishop/TNC

Restoring Lands Across the State

1300—TNC Ohio restoration teams were able to get out in the field safely to restore and improve around 1300 acres across the state in fiscal year 2020. They worked on TNC Ohio preserves: Edge of Appalachia, Big Darby, and Kitty Todd; and also on partner-owned lands within the Cuyahoga Valley National Park, the City of Warren, the Nature Center and Parklands at Shaker Lakes, and Walnut Beach along Lake Erie in Ashtabula.

A butterfly sitting on a stem. The butterfly is gray, brown and white, with a small black spot dotted with a white eye.
Common ringlet butterfly Fewer than 10 of these have been spotted in Ohio. This was found by a volunteer at our Kitty Todd Preserve. Our habitat restoration efforts are paying off. © Jackie Riley

Volunteers Still Going Strong

3,883—Our volunteers still managed to log an impressive amount of hours this year. They worked virtually and individually out in the field. They continued to do things like monitor for butterflies, birds & other wildlife, manage for invasive species, collect native seeds and complete surveys of fragile habitats. We miss seeing everyone in person, but feel grateful to still be connected by our passion for taking care of the places we love. Want to join our community? Learn more about our volunteer program.

A man is kneeling by a row of solar panels on a rooftop.
Denison University Solar array at Denison reduces their carbon footprint and saves the University money. © Denison University

More are Choosing Clean Energy

16,942—A digital ad campaign promoted our Choosing Clean Energy in Ohio webpage and reached nearly 17,000 new visitors. The Choosing Clean Energy in Ohio page aims to inform more people about the benefits of clean and renewable energy sources. Stories and videos on the page illustrate the opportunities already being implemented by many public and private sector businesses in Ohio. It also shows what is next on the bright horizon for clean energy in Ohio.

Standing on a concrete bridge and looking downstream at a calm river with the city of columbus skyline as a backdrop.
City of Columbus, Ohio Skyline © Howard J via Flickr CC

2020 Ballot Measures

$2.2 billion—Voters in seven states passed ballot measures that secured public funding and forward-looking policies to protect nature near them and help address climate change. These measures total $2.2 billion for conservation. This includes the clean energy ballot measure in Columbus and the Metroparks Toledo initiative to revitalize greenspace. Learn how to stay informed on environmental issues and how to speak up for nature with our environmental issues guide.

Thank you for Showing up for Nature! Hear from Nature Conservancy staff about how you showed up for nature this year and the successes we achieved together toward securing a cleaner, healthier future for all.