Ohioans help support nature preserves and wildlife through tax donations

COLUMBUS – Starting to gather receipts and deductions to file your taxes before the deadline in April? For people who enjoy the great outdoors, the Ohio Department of Natural Resources (ODNR) is asking Ohioans to support their love of nature by donating a portion or all of their state income tax refund to support Ohio’s state nature preserves and wildlife.

“The tax refund donations Ohioans give to ‘State Nature Preserves’ and the ‘Wildlife Diversity Fund’ have greatly furthered the protection of the state’s most endangered and threatened species and natural landscapes,” ODNR Director James Zehringer said.

The ODNR Division of Natural Areas and Preserves oversees the state’s 136 nature preserves across Ohio. These beautiful natural areas are open year-round for people to visit and explore nature. The tax refund donation program directly supports facility improvements, invasive species management, land purchases, education programming and scientific research. Ohio State Nature Preserves provide habitat for endangered species and enhance the quality of life within Ohio’s communities.

Donations to the “State Nature Preserves” fund help protect Ohio’s prairies, old growth forests, wetlands, rare geologic formations and the biodiversity of those habitats. Hiking, birdwatching and photography are but a few of the activities that can be enjoyed at Ohio State Nature Preserves.

Ohioans may also be interested in making donations to the “Wildlife Diversity Fund.” For some background, the ODNR Division of Wildlife was created during a time when wildlife populations were vanishing at an alarming rate across Ohio. The mission of the division was and still is to manage, protect and restore wildlife populations to improve quality of life for Ohioans. The ODNR Division of Wildlife does not receive taxpayer dollars. Nearly all wildlife conservation in Ohio is funded by people who hunt, fish and trap. The tax donation program is an important way that all wildlife enthusiasts can help restore and manage endangered and threatened wildlife and other species of special interest.

By making a tax donation to the “Wildlife Diversity Fund” while filing your taxes, Ohioans will be benefiting wildlife around the state. The Wildlife Diversity Fund supports projects that have worked to reintroduce native Ohio species, such as river otters and ospreys, as well as increase numbers of rare species such as bald eagles, brook trout, lake sturgeon and freshwater mussels. In addition, the Wildlife Diversity Fund allows the ODNR Division of Wildlife to form partnerships with Ohio’s zoos, allowing them to help create exhibits and displays, as well as educational products and publications for students, teachers and wildlife enthusiasts.

ODNR ensures a balance between wise use and protection of our natural resources for the benefit of all. Visit the ODNR website at ohiodnr.gov.