Ashland University Environmental Preserves
Ashland University manages five environmental preserves that support undergraduate and faculty research and habitat conservation. Each region contains unique habitats and wildlife, offering plenty of study opportunities.
The five preserves are located in the Glaciated Allegheny Plateau (Black Fork Wetlands, Canfield, Rupp, Stoffer), which was once covered by glaciers, and the Unglaciated Allegheny Plateau (Dayspring).
Black Fork Wetlands
Diverse wetlands, upland habitats
At 305 acres, the Black Fork Wetlands Preserve is the largest of Ashland University’s five environmental preserves and the source of important ecological research. Here, students may study wildlife in their natural habitat and observe trends and changes in the ecosystem. Hundreds of species live in the preserve, but commonly-observed animals include beavers, trumpeter swans, bald eagles, soras and sandhill cranes. These animals live in different habitats throughout the Black Fork Wetlands Preserve, including buttonbush swamps, swamp forests, marshes, riparian corridors and upland areas. Their presence contributes to the rich and varied landscape that makes the preserve such a beauty to behold.
Deciduous forest, cobble-stream
This one-acre region may be small, but the deciduous forest and stream that runs through it provide unique opportunities for research. No other preserve near AU boasts a cobble-stream habitat.
Forested ravine, stream
This region features a mature deciduous forest, a deep ravine and a healthy stream that flows across much of the area. These habitats are home to geologic formations unlike those found in AU’s other preserves, as Dayspring is located in an unglaciated area of Ohio.
Second-growth forest, old field, restored prairie
The Rupp-Stahley Preserve is a study site for a statewide research project. This research, which investigates the habits and habitats of bumblebees in Ohio, is led by the Ohio Bee Team. This group is composed of researchers from the University of Akron and Ohio State University.
Old field and mature forest
The Thomas and Donna Stoffer Environmental Preserve contains 10 acres of old fields and 20 acres of deciduous forest with streams.