COLUMBUS, Ohio – Ohioans contributed more than $750,000 in 2021 to the conservation of state nature preserves and endangered wildlife through the annual income tax checkoff program, according to the Ohio Department of Natural Resources (ODNR). The donations collected go directly to programs that protect Ohio’s wildlife and natural areas.
“We would not be able to achieve our conservation goals without the support we get from the people of Ohio,” said ODNR Director Mary Mertz. “These tax donations help us to restore and protect endangered wildlife and preserve the natural habitats they call home.”
The Division of Natural Areas and Preserves oversees Ohio’s 139 state nature preserves. The 2021 tax checkoff program provided more than $400,000, donated by more than 24,000 Ohioans, to help fund facility improvements, invasive species management, land purchases, education opportunities, and scientific research. A portion of the funds will be used to purchase a tract of land along Little Beaver Creek that will protect an additional half-mile of habitat along one of Ohio’s most scenic rivers. The monies will also be used to purchase additional lands at Eagle Creek, Goll Woods, and Whipple state nature preserves; and to make various trail improvements including ADA accessible trails.
Natural areas and preserves are open year-round and available to all Ohioans. Donations to the state nature preserves help protect Ohio’s prairies, old-growth forests, wetlands, and rare geologic formations, and provide critical habitat for endangered species. Hiking, birding, and wildlife photography are but a few of the activities that are enjoyed at Ohio’s nature preserves.
The mission of the Division of Wildlife is to manage, protect, and restore wildlife populations for the benefit of all Ohioans. More than $372,000 from nearly 25,000 donations were made to the Wildlife Diversity Fund to help support critical management activities in Ohio. Just a few of the projects these funds support include monitoring sandhill cranes, trumpeter swans, and dragonflies and damselflies; restoring native hellbenders and barn owls; creating monarch butterfly habitat and other conservation efforts benefiting pollinators; and wildlife education efforts through the production and distribution of field guides and posters.
The Division of Wildlife cares about all wildlife and maintaining stable, healthy wildlife populations. Donations through the tax checkoff program connect wildlife enthusiasts to restoring and protecting endangered and threatened wildlife.
Since its inception more than 35 years ago, the tax checkoff program has received widespread public support. Millions of dollars have been donated to natural land conservation and wildlife management. The program provides a convenient and efficient way for all Ohioans to contribute to conservation work in Ohio. For more information on the tax checkoff program and to find other ways to contribute to conservation efforts, visit ohiodnr.gov.