Gleason Family Nature Reserve was acquired after receiving two large grants from the Clean Ohio Fund. These were made possible by the extremely generous private donations from William and Kathleen Hurdle, Jack Fishburn, Brenda Dean and from the parks namesake Jennine and Carrol Gleason. The park lies between a series of glacier features called moraines created when the slow intermittent advance and retreat of the last continental ice sheet (referred to as the Wisconsin Glacier) covered almost two thirds of Ohio. The resulting rolling hills and gentle sloping valleys create an impressive sight for the visitor especially for those knowledgeable in glacier terminology. The deeper open water portions of the park seldom, if ever, dry up, thus providing excellent year round habitat for waterfowl, amphibians and reptiles. Eventually, the drainage patterns combine and its waters meander their way to join with the Kokosing River, located just a few hundred yards to the North. The upland watershed is relatively free of significant external pollution and the park’s natural processes of water filtration and ground water replacement seem to be exceptional.
Preliminary research indicates the presence of a relatively healthy plant and animal population. Bird nesting census figures are impressive! Extensive reforestation plantings and grassland restoration in the spring of 2008 were conducted by the Park District in an effort to quickly restore the previously farmed agricultural fields into even more diverse habitat suitable for long term wildlife and ecological benefits.
The park is undergoing a rapid ecological transformation. The large expanses of former pasture and cultivated crop lands are being replaced by the earlier tree plantings and by natural succession. Perhaps even more noticeable has been the migration of beaver into the park since 2017. This has resulted in the backwater flooding of nearly 20 acres of previously wet forest which has in turn created a much larger ecological diversity of aquatic plant and animal life!
Location: 3095 State Route 314
one mile South of Chesterville, East side of State Route 314
Gleason Family Nature Reserve, a component of the Morrow County Park District, was made possible by a large Grant received through the Clean Ohio Fund’s Green Space Conservation Program in conjunction with other generous contributions.