What is a nature preserve?
Cardinal holds the title to 11 nature preserves.
Some of our preserves have been acquired for conservation’s sake, meaning they are not open to the public in order to protect their delicate natural resources. Others are open during special events with programs led by trained zoologists or botanists. This year, we are excited to open four of our recently restored preserves to our members! We seek to connect people to greenspaces near them and to nurture natural resources in SW Ohio.
We invite you to learn, volunteer, or relax at our preserves.
Preserves Opening Summer 2022
See the Preserve Passport rules below.
Rinsky Woods - Opening April 23rd
Todd's Fork Preserve - Opening May 14th
Kope Nature Preserve - Opening June 4th
In Southeast Brown County, the Kope formation (a bedrock formation unique to southern Ohio and Indiana) runs through incredibly diverse woods. A recent native plant survey listed over 100 native species. This property is also graced with five waterfalls, contributing to Roup’s Run, which flows into the Ohio River just beyond the bounds of the property.
Bortz Family Nature Preserve - Opening in July
This 119-acre preserve offers respite in deep and cool woods, as well as views of the wide Ohio and of the Little Miami’s emerald shores. Over the coming months, a 1.8 mile trail loop will be built with help from Cardinal volunteers. The diversity of this land contributes to its appeal for wildlife, as well as humans. The Ohio Department of Natural Resources determined that this land is likely the home of the endangered Indiana Bat, as well as several endangered species of mussels, but they are not alone. Overlooking the confluence of these two great rivers is the nest of an American Bald Eagle, atop a towering cottonwood tree. Watch from our eagle cam.
Other Cardinal Preserves
New in 2021, Westmark Woods is a 25 acre preserve in Springfield Township, Hamilton County. The West Fork of the Mill Creek flows through the preserve on the way to Winton Woods lake. One of the last large forested parcels in central Hamilton County, we are working to clear invasive bush honeysuckle and plant native trees instead.
Laurel Ridge I Preserve
Laurel Ridge I is a small preserve, which protects three tributaries to Taylor Creek, and preserves a length of the viewshed from i-74. This small, protected area is not open to the public.
Hunter Glen Preserve
The last remaining wooded area in the small Wilmington-area neighborhood of Highland Addition, Hunter Glen features maturing woods and a streams which run into Lytle Creek. The preservation of this place serves to prevent erosion and improve stream water quality, but it is also a testament to the power of volunteerism. The preserve is named for Bud Hunter, who maintained the preserve for years.
A small gem near the White Water River. The preserve sits on a wooded ridge with varied flora, ephemeral wetlands, and patches of old growth woods. The understory provides an ideal sanctuary for birds and wildlife in landscape that is mostly residential.
Berninghaus Preserve was designed to protect an unnamed tributary to the Mill Creek, which runs through the Westwood neighborhood, and preserve greenspace within this residential area. This small, protected area is not open to the public.