Nature Center Lands
Cincinnati Nature Center harbors a rich diversity of native habitats including forests, fields, wetlands, ponds, lakes and streams. These habitats are home to thousands of plants and animals. Some animals, such as the barn owl and spotted salamander are rare, while others like white-tail deer can become over-populated and cause damage to these habitats. Some species, like bush honeysuckle and lesser celandine are non-native, invasive species and out-compete native species. These biological invasions can cause a loss in native biodiversity and threaten our high quality habitats.
Land Steward Volunteer Program
Since 2008, land stewardship staff and volunteers have treated over 500 acres of invasive species such as Amur “bush” honeysuckle, oriental bittersweet, multi-flora rose, autumn olive and garlic mustard. Other species, such as tree-of-heaven and lesser celandine have been a focus of stewardship staff members. In total, over 700 acres of land have been treated and/or retreated for invasive species.
Habitat Enhancement & Restoration Project
In 2012, the nature center began converting some old field habitats to native prairies. This included removing non-native, including some invasive species, and replanting with native, warm-season grasses and forbs. These fields included the Lookout (across Tealtown Road) and Redwing Fields at Rowe Woods. Additionally, four fields at Long Branch Farm & Trails are currently in the process of being converted to prairie habitat. Be sure to check out the field adjacent to the maintenance access road next to the Woodpecker Trail in the summer of 2018.
Within the adaptive management cycle, ongoing monitoring is necessary to ensure the intended results are met. Several volunteer monitoring programs have continued or been implemented to measure these results. These programs include vernal pool, bluebird, butterfly, water quality and bird surveys. These surveys help our stewardship staff determine the success or failure of management practices as well as identify potential issues before it is too late.