Naturalist-led walk planned at Irwin Prairie

Experience a beautiful floral display along a wetland boardwalk in northwest Ohio by joining a free naturalist-led walk on Saturday, June 27 beginning at 10 a.m. at Irwin Prairie State Nature Preserve.

Sponsored by the Ohio Department of Natural Resources’ Division of Natural Areas and Preserves, this walk will focus on identifying the many rare and endangered plants found within the mosaic of distinctive wetland communities, the core of which is a treeless, wet sedge meadow, considered the finest remaining sedge meadow in the state.

The tall-grass wet prairie community is dominated by big bluestem and spiked blazing-star; the sedge meadow is dominated by twig-rush; the shrub swamp is occupied by dogwood and willow; blue-joint grass and northern reed-grass grow in the grass meadow; and the swamp forest is dominated by pin oaks and cottonwoods. More than 26 state-listed species of plants occur here including red baneberry, Sartwell’s sedge, fringed gentian, Kalm’s St. John’s-wort, Riddell’s goldenrod and grass-leaf arrowhead.

From the parking lot the boardwalk sets off through a small grassy oak savanna which eventually gives way to a pin oak-dominated swamp forest. Once through the swamp forest the wet prairie opens to its greatest expanse. After walking for approximately 1/2 mile the boardwalk then enters another swamp forest area, then opens up in to another section of secluded wet prairie called Grass Lake, which is surrounded by trees and can be observed by elevated observation deck.

The parking lot is on Bancroft Street near Irwin Road, northeast of Swanton and south of Secor Metropark.