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When Dr. Frank Warner of Columbus married his new bride Carmen in 1931, he gave her a rather unusual wedding present: 94 acres of unused farmland. Carmen named her new estate Wahkeena, the Yakima Indian word for beautiful. Clearly, she appreciated the gift.
Over the next 20 years, the Warners expanded and improved the property, adding new buildings and planting over 100,000 trees. Eventually, Wahkeena came to comprise 150 acres of tree-covered hills and a large pond where a cornfield once stood. In 1957, Carmen gave Wahkeena to the Ohio Historical Society under the agreement that it would be used to study nature and as bird and wildlife preserve.
Today, the Warner's legacy is a popular outdoor classroom and a quiet retreat for nature enthusiasts. With it's nature center, hiking trails, stone outcroppings, abundance of plants, native orchids and more than 100 species of birds, this 150-acre preserve truly lives up to its Yakima name, meaning “most beautiful." Be sure to visit the educational exhibits including live animals in the Nature Center and self-guided nature trail during your visit, and take advantage of the knowledgeable naturalists.
Cover photo credit: tshe via Instagram.