Our Green Valley
On the mile long boardwalk in Cedar Bog Nature Preserve, it's hard to believe you're still in Ohio. Site manager Eric Doerzbacher says this ecosystem has been untouched since the end of the Ice Age.
"What happened was when the glacier came through, it pushed the dirt off to the sides so we're in a valley. And most of this valley used to look like this. We had all kinds of creatures: mammoths, mastodons, giant beavers - that type of thing. We've actually found lots of evidence of those types of things around here, and the sedges that the mammoths and mastodons used to eat still grow here," says Doerzbacher.
The nature preserve continues to be home to many rare and endangered species including the spotted turtle, the massasauga rattle snake and the fresh water lamprey.
"Then on the plant side, we have two carnivorous plants, the sun-dew and the bladder wart. Of course everybody knows that we have orchids. We have some old growth wood some of which is four feet in diameter. Some of these trees are pretty large and you won't see this most places in Ohio."
Preservation of the area began in 1942 when the state of Ohio bought about 100 acres of wetland technically known as a fen.
"Nobody was able to farm it because it was too mucky. We've got four foot of muck in some places, and it's quite exciting to see everything right now. Everything's very green. It's springtime, and we're definitely ready for a lot of tours to come," says Doerzbacher.
And now, in addition to touring the preserve, the public can visit Cedar Bog's new education center. It features displays of some of the preserve's more elusive creatures and classrooms where Doerzbacher will teach visitors about the ecosystem and it's inhabitants.
"Knowledge is key, and if you don't know that something exists, then you don't know that it needs to be preserved and you can't help," says Doerzbacher.