Tours of Sandusky Plains Prairie Remnants scheduled for July 12 and 19

Two prairie tours, the first of the Claridon Prairie located five miles east of Marion, and the other of the Trella Romine Prairie Preserve near Green Camp will be conducted this year. The Claridon Tour is on Sunday, July 12, and the Trella Romine Preserve tour will be held on Sunday, July 19, each starting at 1:00 P.M and continuing until approximately 3 P.M.

These tours, sponsored by the Marion County Historical Society, will focus on wildflower identification, and the need for conservation of native species. Each tour visitor will receive a free potted prairie plant from Natives in Harmony, a native plant nursery, as a gift for taking the tour.

The Claridon Prairie is a one-mile strip along the CSX Railroad and contains about two acres. It is a remnant of the Sandusky Plains that in pre-settlement days covered over 200,000 acres in present-day northern Marion County and southern Wyandot and Crawford Counties. Recent surveys reveal that more than 100 species of prairie plants survive here—more than any other remnant in the state. When visiting Claridon expect to be awed by the yellow gold of the partridge pea and grey-headed coneflower and delighted by the purple spikes of Dense Blazing Star and see Leiburg’s Panic Grass, a state listed as threatened species. The Claridon Prairie area is easily accessible by walking along County Road 114C on the south side of the CSX Railroad Tracks east of State Route 98, just north of State Route 309. The tour will start at the Ohio Historical Marker erected in 1978. Gale Martin director of the Marion County Historical Society will conduct the Claridon tour. A brochure will be available listing the prairie species and giving a short history of the prairie.

The Trella Romine Prairie Preserve is also a mile-long strip along the abandoned Erie/Dayton Railroad right-of-way near corner of State Routes 203 and 739. Donated to MCHS by Trella Romine in 1996, this area contains about two acres and over 80 native species of prairie plants. Among the interesting species found here are Wild-potato Vine, Butterflyweed, Royal Catchfly (state-listed as threatened) and an unusual color form of Sawtooth Sunflower. Attendees will meet near the Blockhouse marker on State Route 203. The tour will be led by Gale Martin, director of the Marion County Historical Society.

In July, the prairie is near full maturity, with most of the tallgrasses and wildflowers at maximum height. Many of the grasses reach six to eight feet high and flowers, such as prairie dock, tall coreopsis, and many others bloom in profusion on tall stems that match the height of the grasses. When encountering a prairie for the first time, you can hardly believe your eyes at the abundance of movement, color, birds and butterflies. An Ohio Prairie in bloom is truly a delight.

For more information call 740-387-4255 or contact: Gale at [email protected] or visit