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Nature and Conservation Department

By its very nature, stepping out into our gardens is stepping out into nature. Conservation efforts have always been a focal point of the OAGC. Beautification projects, highways plantings, and other programs have been accomplished by garden clubs for decades. And, in fact, the first Nature Study Camp (now called Nature Study Retreat) was started back in 1945!

Today, with new attention placed on the health of planet Earth, OAGC encourages gardeners to incorporate best environmental practices into their work. Planting pollinator gardens, creating interconnected habitat, learning about invasive plants, and imparting knowledge to future generations are part of an effort to protect the “small blue dot” — our world. 

Under these overarching ideals, the  Nature and Conservation Department promotes beautification projects, nature outings, ways to help pollinators, and more. Taken one garden, one project, and one step at a time, members of the OAGC can make an enormous impact!

“If you look the right way, you can see that the whole world is in a garden.”   - Frances Hodgson Burnett

going for a hike

faqs about nature and conservation

What is the Wahkeena Nature Preserve and how does OAGC support it?

Wahkeena is a 150-acre nature preserve located on the edge of the Hocking Hills. It is one of 58 sites owned by the Ohio Nature Connection (formerly the Ohio Historical Society) and is now managed by the Fairfield County Park District. OAGC member Carmen Warner (who also founded the Nature Study Retreat) turned a rundown hill farm into a place of beauty. Carmen named it “Wahkeena” —  a Pacific Northwest Native American word meaning “most beautiful.” This outdoor education area is used for nature study and is a preserve for birds and other wildlife. The OAGC supports the preserve through donations and two restricted funds: the Sarah Budnick Memorial Fund, which assists school field trips with transportation expenses, and a fund to provide bird seed. 

What is the Daisy Sticksel Conservation Award?
The conservation award is granted for outstanding service in the field of nature and conservation. It may be awarded to an OAGC member of non-member. It was established in 1962 and named in honor of OAGC past president Mrs. Cleveland P. Sticksel. Nominations are submitted, and the executive committee determines the winner; a plaque is presented at the annual convention.

What are the Beautification Awards?
Beautification monetary awards recognize projects completed by clubs and regions that enhance the aesthetics of the community. Projects can be permanent or temporary (seasonal) in nature, and awards are made in both categories. More information is located under the Beautification tab on this page. 

What is Nature Study Retreat?
Originally called “Nature Study Camp,” this annual event presents a week-long opportunity to study nature, conservation, and the environment. Nature hikes, bird walks, programs on many topics, visits to local sites of interest, and crafts are key features of the retreat. More information is located under the Nature Outings link on this page.

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