Glen Helen has become the largest and most visited private nature preserve in the Miami Valley, anchoring the most scenic, most ecologically intact area in Southwest Ohio. Through the Campaign to Secure the Future of Glen Helen, the Glen Helen Association board of trustees has set a goal of $3.5M to secure the purchase, preserve the land, and ensure the reopening of the Glen’s programs.
Initial contributions will be used to keep the Glen open to visitors, address high-risk safety issues, and restart educational programs and ecological stewardship activities — the first steps in sustaining our future. The time to act is now.
The Glen draws visitors from across Ohio and beyond who enjoy the sound of birdsong, the sight of rushing water over cascades, and the simple beauty of the forest. Within the borders of its 1,125 acres, Glen Helen shelters nearly two miles of the Little Miami River, a National Natural Landmark, and the yellow spring that gives the village its name. Its 15-mile trail system hosts more than 125,000 visitors annually who walk, hike, and gain quiet inspiration in nature. Glen Helen is not only a refuge of spectacular beauty, it is also an educational center. The Glen was the first educational forest in Ohio. It is home to the Midwest’s first residential environmental learning center, and it houses Ohio’s first facility for the rehabilitation of birds of prey. The Glen’s educational programs and summer Ecocamps have made Glen Helen a force for good for decades.
The impact has been substantial. Every year, staff and naturalists-in-training give nearly 2,500 children a “hands-dirty and feet-wet” attachment to nature. More than 1,000 Glen Helen trained naturalists have gone on to work in parks, preserves, nature centers, universities and other settings around the world, helping to solve humanity’s urgent environmental issues.
In March of 2020, as the coronavirus pandemic moved into Ohio, public access to Glen Helen was closed. Most Glen staff were furloughed. The Outdoor Education Center suspended its programs and sent the naturalists home, with no plans to reopen. Without urgent action, the region's largest and most visited private nature preserve would no longer be available to the public. Into the fray, the Glen Helen Association stepped forward with the bold commitment to purchase and reopen the preserve.
This is a time of extraordinary urgency and great opportunity for Glen Helen. By executing thoughtful plans for strategic investment in the Glen and its programs, the Glen Helen Association will maintain and continue all that has been accomplished to date, and realize Glen Helen’s potential to become one of America’s leading nature centers, and an engine of regional economic development. The promise is great.