Society, Wahkeena Web Link
Wahkeena State Nature Preserve is located five miles south of Lancaster, Ohio. Mrs. Carmen Warner, who bought Wahkeena as a rundown hill farm and turned into an oasis of natural beauty, was an OAGC member. She willed the farm to the Ohio Historical Society and OAGC has been contributing to a fund, the interest of which is used solely to administer the preserve
and provide educational services there. The Wahkeena Nature preserve is open to the public, and OAGC members are admitted free of charge by showing their membership cards.
|Wahkeena is on Pump Station Road 1 mile west of County Road 86, which is six miles south of Lancaster off of U.S. Route 33 in Fairfield County.
Exit Rt. 33 at Sharp Road (Traffic light) Turn right if coming from the north, turn left if coming from south. Turn at the first right, Old Logan Rd., and continue to Pump Station Road and turn left.
Click on map image to view a larger map, which will load in a new browser window.
Longaberger - Wahkeena Basket
Please note: All donations to Wahkeena should be made out to the
Ohio Association of Garden Clubs Foundation, Inc.
for OAGC funded projects
The small “silt” pond on the
west side of the preserve had become silted in from years of erosion. During the
winter of 2005, it was dredged. Prep work was completed on the pond in earlier
months, including having the pond drained. This pond is used primarily for the
Pond Study segment of our school program. Students have the opportunity to
explore animal and plant life in a pond and discover how those living things
interact with each other.
Winged Euonymus, Euonymus
alatus, is a non-native, invasive species. Non-native/invasive plant species
can be detrimental to native plants species and wildlife. These aliens’ rapid
growth can crowd out native flora. Non-natives can shade out native plants by
leafing out earlier in the spring than that of their native counterparts and
retaining their foliage longer in the season. Also, non-natives in general, do
not provide the same quality of food for wildlife that native plants do. Winged
Euonymus was innocently introduced by Carman Warner as she was rehabbing the old
farm. After more than 50 years of aggressive growth, this shrub had dominated
much of the forest understory at Wahkeena. In the spring of 2005, work began to
remove this unwanted alien. The majority of the work was done the following
fall. However, this is a continuing project due to the undiscovered, isolated
stands that remain, as well as the never ending young shoots and stump sprouts.
Several areas where the Euonymus was removed, a native shrub Spicebush,
Lindera benzoin, was planted in its place.
November and December of 2006 saw a couple of roof
repairs at the preserve. In November, the cedar shingles on the Nature Center’s
entry porch roof were replaced with new, treated cedar shingles. Then, in
December, a new metal standing seam roof was put on the shed portion of the Casa
Burro. This structure originally housed Carman’s pet burros.
Throughout 2006 and 2007, several landscape
improvements were accomplished. Five “tree” Serviceberries, Amelanchier spp.
and one “bush” Serviceberry were planted. Serviceberries bloom early in the
spring, usually in April, with beautiful, white blossoms. Following the blooms
are reddish colored berries that provide excellent wildlife food, especially for
songbirds. One of the tree-type Serviceberries was planted on the northwest
corner of the Nature Center, and the other four were planted in the Fern
Terrace, near the potting shed. The bush-type Serviceberry was planted just
behind the potting shed. These plantings replaced the Winged Euonymus that had
been removed from these areas.
The north side of the Nature Center saw the
creation of a native wildflower shade garden. Used for the border was the same
cast “sandstone” barn stones used on the beds on the south side of the Nature
Center. Most of the species planted in this new garden make their home in a
woodland setting and bloom in the spring before many of the trees have leafed
out. Included among the species of wildflowers planted here are Wild Ginger
Asarum canadense, Bishop’s Cap Mitella diphylla, Foam Flower
Tiarella cordifloia, Green Dragon Arisaema dracontium, Columbine
Aquilegia Canadensis, Jack-in-the-Pulpit Arisaema atrorubens, and our
state wildflower, Large Flowered Trillium Trillium grandiflorum.
In 2007, a new floating boardwalk was installed in
the wetlands area, replacing the wooden one. Constant beaver activity created
fluctuating water levels in this area, resulting in an often flooded boardwalk.
The new floating boardwalk is made up of plastic floats, with plastic decking
sections connecting everything together. Although there are a few minor things
yet to be completed on the boardwalk, it has been useable since early summer of
2007. This new installment will guarantee that the boardwalk trail will not be
closed due to flooding. The boardwalk trail gives visitors a unique opportunity
to view wetland animal and plant species. This is a prime area to view some of
the many dragonflies and damselflies that inhabit Wahkeena.
Tom Shisler will be entering his 29th
year at Wahkeena in June. His tireless efforts ensure that the preserve stays
maintained and improved. Tom’s years of knowledge and experience are invaluable
to the Preserve, its staff, and its visitors.
In 2007, Wahkeena gained a seasonal Assistant
Naturalist. Robyn Wright-Strauss, a former intern, filled the position and has
returned for the 2008 season. One of the projects Robyn worked on was
creating/improving Wahkeena’s sales area. There is now a small area of nature
guides and other nature related items, including the OAGC 75th
Anniversary throw and the Wahkeena Longaberger basket, for sale in the Nature
Wahkeena will have two new interns for the 2008
season, both from Hocking College. Beckie Lawrence is from Henry County and is a
first year Interpretation student. She will be joining the Wahkeena staff for
the spring internship.
Krista Fairclough is from the Toledo area and has
a retail background from her family’s fine jewelry store. She is also in her
first year as an Interp. student, transferring from Lourdes College in Sylvania,
Ohio. Krista will be joining the Wahkeena staff for the fall internship.
Landscape improvements and
wildlife plantings will continue to be a focus in the future.
The current cedar shingle roof on the Nature
Center is 25 years old and deteriorating. All or parts of the roof need to be
replaced with new treated cedar shingles. These new shingles have a 50 year life
span. This is a big project, and will be done in stages over the course of
cannot use the funds for any other operation but only the Wahkeena Fund we have
designated. The General Fund is an endowment from which only the interest
10/1/98 OAGC has distributed
of $70,853.74 to all Wahkeena Funds.
These are both
amounts received in donations, board auctions, and transfers from profit amounts
for trips/ Gardeners Day Out/Convention/Quilt and other raffles.
The Wahkeena Improvement Fund was established in 1996. Contributions help with the upkeep and to make needed improvements at the Nature Preserve.
The current, 2002-3, project will be to update and rejuvenate
the landscaping at the Nature Center and add a butterfly and
hummingbird garden. Additional funds above the amount
needed will benefit the Wahkeena Endowment Fund.
Notes from Wahkeena
During the fall 2002 board meeting of OAGC, Wahkeena Site Manager and Naturalist, Tom Shisler, was presented a check for $9689.04 (in
addition to the $2300 given to him at the summer convention) to be added to the Ohio Historical Society Wahkeena Endowment Fund. These funds came from various activities of OAGC during the past year.
Past President, Anita Roller, with board
approval, directed these profits be added to the Wahkeena Endowment fund. This is a permanent fund that is managed by the OHS and used only for funding the Intern Program. Thousands of school children are educated each year at Wahkeena with the help of the interns working with Tom. The total amount in the fund is more then $76,000 of which only the interest is
spent. President Jo Ann Graham, with the support of all OAGC members, will continue funding for this project during the next year, designating profits from future events to the Wahkeena Endowment Fund.
President Graham also has started a new fund for the landscaping improvements
that are needed at Wahkeena. She gave Tom as "seed" check for
$719.00, which for the most part, was raised at the board meeting auction.
This will give him a start in preparing the new gardens. The
"Wahkeena Landscape Fund" will be used to rejuvenate the landscaping
around the nature center, including the new butterfly/hummingbird gardens that
Go To Wahkeena
Updates for 2004 -05
2001 "Improvement Projects"
1. Two new foot bridges on Shelter Trail
2. New wood shingle roof on Old Guest Cabin (Currently used for school programs)
3. Repairs to large rock spring that feeds the small "frog ponds"
4. 16 new folding chairs for Nature Center.
Beginning in 1996, thanks to the generous contributions from OAGC clubs and individuals several new improvements were made to the Wahkeena Nature Preserve. (During the terms of presidents Faye Collins and Charlene Thornhill)
The largest project was the construction of a new multi-purpose shelter house. The shelter is used by visiting school groups and is also available for garden clubs and other groups. The shelter is equipped with benches that convert to picnic tables and is located on a wooded knoll a short distance from the Nature Center.
Other improvements include new exhibit and storage space in the Nature Center and refurbishing of existing displays. New blinds and carpet were installed in the nature center exhibit area. Also, a new exhibit explains the natural history of the 1 year Periodical Cicada which emerged in large numbers over much of
the eastern part of Ohio that summer.
Major renovation was done to the existing "frog ponds". An existing shelter on the main trail received a new "shake" roof and sill logs were replaced on the interpretive cabin.
All of these projects would not have been possible without the tremendous support from OAGC and the dedicated leadership of past Presidents, Faye Collins and Charlene Thornhill, and the continuing support of current president Anita Roller. Thanks to each and everyone of you who helped to make dreams
Contact Tom Shisler at:
Informative Wahkeena Article by Peggy Case,
Garden Path Editor
Web Design by Jan Harmon for OAGC