On June 14, 2017, the Fernald Preserve, Ohio, Site received a Zone Conservation Commendation from The Garden Club of America (GCA) for its “ecological restoration and successful transformation of the Fernald nuclear weapons site into a nature preserve, habitat, and safe haven for wildlife.”
The GCA’s regional conservation commendation is presented to individuals or organizations that have made significant contributions to conservation. Composed of Ohio, Indiana, and Michigan, GCA Zone 10 presented the commendation to Fernald Preserve staff at its annual meeting banquet.
Founded in 1913, GCA is a volunteer, nonprofit organization with 200 clubs and approximately 18,000 members throughout the country. The club’s strong conservation focus includes stimulating knowledge and love of gardening; reaching out by means of educational meetings, conferences, and publications, and restoring, improving, and protecting the quality of the environment through educational programs and action in the fields of conservation and civic improvement.
Environmental conservation successes at the Fernald Preserve are evidenced by the 245 bird species observed since opening to the public in 2008, the diverse community of wetland wildlife, and the return of robust resident mammal populations, including bobcats. Ecological restoration at the 1,050-acre site has established and improved regionally significant habitats. A 7-mile network of walking trails crisscrosses acres of grassland, including tallgrass prairie, wet prairie, savanna, mud flats, open water, swamp forest, upland forest, a lengthy riparian corridor, and one of the largest human-made wetlands in Ohio.