Poston Preserve

Shale Cliffs and Mature Swamp Oak Forest Outstanding Habitat Diversity 1.1 Miles of High Quality Steam Habitat

AOA recently purchased 225 acres of the Poston farm along Alum Creek in Morrow County, Ohio. This was the first purchase of a new initiative to protect the upper reaches of the Alum Creek watershed.   This property provides outstanding habitat diversity for plant and animal species which includes a mature swamp oak forest, high-quality riparian corridors, primary headwater streams, forested floodplains, shale cliffs and barrens, upland hardwood forests and agricultural grasslands. 

 

Potters Tavern. The original home on the property is a very early relic of Ohio settlement. The home was originally built circa 1818 and was later modified and renamed Potter’s Tavern. An old stagecoach road and wagon known as Worthington-New Haven Road which opened in 1825 passed by the tavern site. Later in history, the home served as a stop on the underground railroad.  Further information on the history of this home and tavern is presented in the article The History of The Poston Farm and Potter’s  Tavern. 

 

3,000 Observations of Flora and Fauna.  An Ohio botanist recently recorded an astounding 438 species of vascular plants on the preserve during a one-day site assessment.   These vascular plants included noteworthy species such as the satin brome, glomerate sedge, weak spear grass and heart-leaved skullcap.  In all, more than 800 species of flora and fauna have been recorded in the preserve during various surveys conducted since 2018.  These species include seven State threatened or endangered birds and mammals.   The Izaac Walton League website Upper Alum Creek (upperalumcreekproject.com) is being used to track the locations of plant and animal species recorded in Inaturalist for the preserve.  As of March 2024, more than 3,000 observations with photos have been recorded and shown on the website map.

 

Unique Geology.  Alum Creek, West Branch Alum Creek and their tributaries have cut through formations of Ohio shale resulting in towering outcrops of exposed shale. Some of these scenic rock outcrops are 65 to 100 feet high and nearly vertical to the stream bed.  There are also exposed fossils and glacially-deposited erratic boulders in the streambeds.

 

Two High Quality Stream Corridors.  The preserve protects both sides of two high quality stream corridors: about 1,960 linear feet of Alum Creek and 2,960 linear feet of the West Branch of Alum Creek.   Both streams in this area have been classified as Superior High-Quality Waters.

 

The preserve also protects two unnamed primary headwater tributaries of Alum Creek with a total length of 720 and 1,240 lineal feet, respectively.    These streams both achieved a Class 3B Spring Water Stream designation, the highest water quality classification in Ohio.

 

Mature Old Growth Forest Wetlands.  The preserve includes Category 3 wetlands including a 7.5-acre forested wetland with mature old growth forest trees as large as 5-foot diameter. There are also several small, forested Category 3 wetlands along Alum Creek.

 

State and Federally Endangered Bat Species.  ODNR/USFWS bat surveys were conducted on the Preserve property in 2020 and 2021. The acoustic bat survey confirmed that presence of state endangered tricolored bats.  The mist net bat survey captured and positively identified a Northern Long Eared Bat (Myotis septentrionalis, Federally Endangered), Eastern red bat (Lasiurus borealis, Ohio Species of Concern) and a big brown bat (Eptesicus fuscus, Ohio Species of Concern). The captured, Federally endangered Northern Long-Eared bat was tracked back to a maternity colony site located on the preserve.  In June, 2024, additional mist netting on the Preserve captured a Federally endangered Tricolor bat.  The presence of so many bats in this area indicates the importance of mature, forested riparian corridors as preferred bat habitat.

 

Restoration Activities. Restoration plans for the Preserve are currently under development.  AOA will continue to work with the Poston family to preserve Potter’s Tavern on the property. 

 

Volunteers organized by AOA & IWL planted 2,000 hybrid chestnut trees on the property on April 20, 2024. These trees were planted in two farm fields fronting County Road 24 (Worthington New Haven Road). Additional tree plantings and invasives removal are proposed to reforest additional farm fields in the future.