The Nature Conservancy to Open Nature Center in Ashtabula County.

Grand Opening Event on October 21st in Rock Creek


The public is invited to join The Nature Conservancy’s grand opening celebration for its Dr. James K. Bissell Nature Center, located in Ashtabula County’s Rock Creek, to be held on Saturday, October 21 from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m.

Located at the Conservancy’s Grand River Conservation Campus at Morgan Swamp Preserve, the new nature center features interactive exhibits that interpret the natural history of Morgan Swamp Preserve and the Grand State Wild & Scenic River.

The free celebration includes a ribbon-cutting ceremony from 10 – 11 a.m. and guided nature center and preserve tours from 11 a.m. – 1 p.m.

The creation of the nature center was made possible through a team of more than 15 local volunteers that has contributed thousands of hours over the last several years—including 1600 hours in 2016 alone. It is the first center of its kind in Ashtabula County, as well as the Conservancy’s first nature center in the state, and is used by local schools for field trips and special programs.

Historically, the land now known as the Grand River Conservation Campus at Morgan Swamp Preserve has been home to the Calendar Farm, a private hunting retreat, and the Workmen’s Circle’s Camp Vladek as a Jewish community retreat.

In 1965, the property was purchased by the City Mission of Cleveland to establish a Christian camp for urban youth. In 2011, the Conservancy acquired the Campus through a donation from the City Mission.

The nature center is named after Dr. James K. Bissell, a leading Ohio botanist and career employee of the Cleveland Museum of Natural History. Bissell has been a strong advocate of conserving the rare and unique habitats throughout northeast Ohio—especially within the Grand River watershed. It was through his efforts that the first tracts of land now known as Morgan Swamp Preserve were successfully protected by the Conservancy in 1985.

Today, the Conservancy’s Morgan Swamp Preserve encompasses nearly 2,000 acres and is one of the largest privately protected forested wetlands in Ohio. The preserve is home to an abundance of wetlands including swamps, bogs, beaver ponds and vernal pools. Statewide, the Conservancy has protected more than 60,000 acres of some of Ohio’s most important and beloved lands and waters.

Beginning on October 21, 2017, The Dr. James K. Bissell Nature Center is open Saturdays and Sundays from 1:00 pm – 5:00 pm the first weekend in April through the first weekend in December. Special events, programs and tours are offered seasonally. More at

The Nature Conservancy is a global conservation organization dedicated to conserving the lands and waters on which all life depends. Guided by science, we create innovative, on-the-ground solutions to our world's toughest challenges so that nature and people can thrive together. We are tackling climate change, conserving lands, waters and oceans at an unprecedented scale, providing food and water sustainably and helping make cities more sustainable. Working in 79 countries and territories, we use a collaborative approach that engages local communities, governments, the private sector, and other partners. To learn more, visit or follow @nature_press on Twitter.