Marsha Gunder Schneider (MGS) Preserve
285.2 acres of bottomland adjacent to the Scioto River in Pickaway County
The MGS Preserve was acquired by AOA in 2015 and consists of 285.2 acres of bottomland adjacent to the Scioto River in Pickaway County. Unique features of this property include Davenport Pond, an unnamed pond and wetland area, two areas of mature bottomland hardwood forest, approximately 3,500 lineal feet of Scioto River frontage and a prehistoric Indian village site with a rectangular earth enclosure. Some of the wetlands are protected by an easement which is owned and monitored by the Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS).
The property has a heron rookery adjacent to the Scioto River and has an exceptionally diverse bird population. An AOA birdwatching hike in May 2022 observed 62 species of birds on the property. The property is frequented by resident ospreys, bald eagles, herons, waterfowl and by numerous neotropical birds that migrate along the Scioto River flyway. The Federally Endangered Northern Long Eared Bat has also been found on the property.
Ohio Natural Heritage Database records show that Davenport Pond, a remnant lake of the old Scioto River alignment, was home to the paddlefish (Polyodon spathula), an Ohio threatened species last observed in 1977. The Heritage Database records also show a population of Round Leaved Spurge (Euphorbia serpens) an Ohio Endangered Species located on the property. Additional Ohio threatened and endangered species in the general area include the Long solid mussell (Endangered), the Tippecanoe darter (Threatened) and the Fawnsfoot mussell (Threatened).
The property is characterized by large open fields with periodic small trees and shrubs that are flooded several times each year. Some of these fields have large numbers of milkweed, dogbane and other prairie species that provide good butterfly and pollinator habitat.
Stewardship work on the property includes periodic mowing of several miles of trail by the previous owner and invasives removal by AOA personnel.