About Us

Stories Our Land Tells 

Learning to Live Lightly on the Land: Restoration and Sustainability

The Cincinnati Nature Center community strives to preserve, protect and restore this land and to educate people about ways to minimize their own ecological footprint on the land. Through environmental education, “leave no trace” trail rules, stream and wetland mitigation, invasive species removal, native plant propagation, green building techniques, and research, the Nature Center seeks to help people enhance and protect the earth’s biodiversity for generations to come.

Natural History: A Forest Over Sea

Our lands are part of an Eastern deciduous forest which once covered more than 90% of Ohio’s landscape. The old growth trees at Rowe Woods have been spared while many forests throughout the state have been destroyed. Forest is still the state’s dominant plant community, but other habitats occur, including ponds, fields, streams, and wetlands providing an incredible diversity of habitats and plant and animal species. The fields and pastures at Long Branch Farm & Trails have been managed for food production since the forests were cleared by pioneers. Long before the forests, a shallow ocean covered this land, as evident by fossils found in the Ordovician shale and limestone bedrock. Throughout the long span of history, this area has seen continent shifting, climate change, and geologic change which carved the landscape and influenced species diversity. 

Cultural Heritage:
People Connected to this Land

Decisions and actions of people in the past have influenced current use of the land, just as our decisions and actions today will influence future use of this land. Through time, humans have depended on and loved this land. Native peoples lived and hunted here, followed by pioneers who cleared the forest for crops and homes. The Krippendorfs and neighboring Groesbecks left a legacy of botanical abundance while welcoming friends and family to experience the restorative powers of nature. At Long Branch Farm & Trails, the McElroy family continued a legacy of agriculture with a desire for people to understand the source of their food and fiber.

Incredible Community in Nature

Common values of love, respect, and hope for the land inspire today’s Cincinnati Nature Center community of volunteers, visitors, and generations of members who have developed spiritual, emotional, and/or intellectual connections to this land. Generosity, in both life and death, characterize the founders and supporters of the Nature Center.