In October 2015, Western Reserve Land Conservancy acquired a 63-acre property on the southern edge of the City of Oberlin in Lorain County, which is considered part of the Oberlin Great South Woods. The site is located at 425 W. Hamilton Street, Oberlin, OH.
The site holds historical significance, having been a stop on the Underground Railroad, and includes the historic home of John A. Copeland, Jr., an abolitionist who participated in the Raid on Harper’s Ferry.
“Oberlin Preserve offers so much to the people of Oberlin and northern Ohio,” said Andy McDowell, Vice President of Western Field Operations at the Land Conservancy. “Its rich history, beautiful prairie, and diverse flora and fauna make this an ideal location in Lorain County. We are proud to have played an important role in opening this property for the public to enjoy.”
With few prairie areas in the region, the property provides a special glimpse at native grasses, forbs, shrubs and pollinators. Since its initial restoration planting, nearly 600 native wildflower plants, more than 50 native trees and 30 acres of prairie seed have been successfully planted by corporate and community volunteers, as well as students from Oberlin College. Prairie species on site include Big bluestem, Nodding wild rye, Blazing star, Rose milkweed, Rattlesnake master, Prairie dock, Virginia mountain mint and Cup plant.
In addition to native prairie, the Oberlin Preserve also includes diverse habitat types such as fields, woodlands, wet sedge meadow and forested vernal pools. These habitats provide shelter, food, and nesting areas for birds, amphibians, small and large mammals, and other wildlife. The site has been host to scientific research and biological surveys as far back as 1888, according to records at the Cleveland Museum of Natural History.
The preservation of this property as a natural area benefits the public by providing scenic greenspace, areas for groundwater recharge and flood mitigation, diverse habitat for plants and wildlife, and an area for passive recreation and education. This property sits at the head of a tributary flowing into Plum Creek and, eventually, into the Black River. Visitors may see woodcocks and other ground-nesting birds in the spring, as well as bluebirds and migratory warblers stopping over before continuing on their journey. Also look for Chimney Swifts, which roost and nest in a specially designed Chimney Swift Tower constructed on the property in October 2020 by a local Girl Scout Troop in support of the species.
To learn more about Oberlin Preserve and our other special projects, get in touch with the Land Conservancy now.