Catch Up on AOA’s Recent Accomplishments
2021 AOA Year in Review Now Available

AOA 2021 Year in Review

Thanks to your support 2021 was another incredible year for AOA’s land and water conservation efforts. AOA is celebrating the conservation of 32 new properties totaling over 1,750 acres during 2020-21, bringing the total land conserved by AOA so far to 153 properties and more than 14,000 acres.

Recent lands conserved include:

  • 352 acres in the Scioto River Flyway Corridor
  • 476 acres along Big Darby Creek
  • 239 acres to expand Bison Hollow Preserve
  • 396 acres in the Hocking River Conservation Corridor
  • 166 acres in Hocking Hills conservation easements
  • 77 acres in the Salt Creek Narrows

These properties are contributing to our key conservation initiatives and focus areas in Central and South-central Ohio. Over 21 properties and 875 acres were conserved in the Hocking Hills – one of Ohio’s premiere natural and tourism assets.

Check out our most recent activities and accomplishments in our attached Year in Review. If you would like to receive a hard copy via mail, please contact AOA at

2021 Year in Review

Support AOA Through our 2021 Annual Campaign

As the holiday season approaches, the Directors and Staff of the Appalachia Ohio Alliance (AOA) would like to thank you for your interest in and support for our conservation work. The generous contributions of our friends and neighbors enable us to preserve precious land and water resources, making a lasting difference in the sustainability and livability of our region.

The AOA year-end Annual Campaign helps raise some of the monies needed to carry out the numerous actions necessary to protect our valuable land and water resources. We are asking for your help, above and beyond normal membership dues, so that we can continue to fulfill this important mission. Together, we can ensure that our land is both an asset and a legacy for our community.

With your support we have succeeded in protecting many acres of very special natural lands, working family farms, scenic areas and heritage sites – with over 14,000 acres conserved so far. Our 2020-2021 Year in Review summarizes some of our accomplishments and activities during last year – including newly conserved lands and many exciting programs and projects. These are just some examples of how you have empowered AOA and why we need your ongoing support. Although we have achieved a great deal, I am sure you will agree that much more conservation is needed.

During the upcoming year we will work to complete a substantial number of very worthy conservation projects that we have in process, including the protection of several large properties in the Hocking Hills and along the Scioto River. We will also be collaborating with our partners on several major conservation initiatives that will increase conserved lands in Central and South-Central Ohio – creating connectivity and reducing threats to our land and water resources and the many native species which rely on them.

As we celebrate another year of conservation achievement, your financial support is critical to our continued conservation success. We ask you to consider a special year-end gift to our Annual Campaign fund to help strengthen our capacity to better conserve and steward more lands. We will gladly accept charitable gifts in any amount. Please feel free to contact us if you want to volunteer or contribute to our conservation efforts in another way.

Thank you in advance for your support – we very much appreciate your generosity. I hope that you are as excited as I am about our future and will join us as we strive to make our conserved lands a community asset that we can all be proud of.

Best wishes for a wonderful holiday season and the coming new year.

Your Friends at the Appalachia Ohio Alliance

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A Beautiful Day on the River
Big Darby Creek Float

Thirty-five (35) friends and supporters were fortunate to be able to enjoy a float trip on a picturesque section of upper Big Darby Creek. Our flotil- la of 17 watercraft successfully navigated the many twists and turns of Central Ohio’s spectacular Wild and Scenic River.

We stopped at AOA’s Big Darby Oaks preserve, viewing the new beaver lodge and blooming swamp milkweed, while learning about the value of natural riparian corridors and the characteristics of a healthy river system. The many scenic and natural wonders we encountered inspired a sense of wonder and awe at the natural beauty of our local natural habitats – illustrating the importance of AOA’s riparian corridor and water quality protection activities along Darby Creek and other watersheds in our region.

We are grateful to Bob Gable and Heather Doherty of ODNR’s Scenic Rivers Program for leading this fun adventure and sharing their knowledge of the Big Darby and Ohio’s river habitats.

Canoe Float
Canoe Float
Canoe Float
Canoe Float
Canoe Float
Canoe Float
Canoe Float
Canoe Float
Canoe Float
Canoe Float

AOA Plants 12,000 Trees Along Big Darby Creek
Restores Bottomland Forest Habitat at Igel Preserve

Igel 3

AOA planted 12,000 trees last week as part of our riparian corridor restoration activities along the Big Darby. The 34-acre floodplain field portion of our 100-acre Igel preserve was planted with a diverse mix of floodplain species to help restore the site to its original bottomland forest habitat. The field was previously planted in native prairie species as part of the restoration succession plan.

Bottomland forests provide many benefits including: storing floodwater, reducing downstream flooding; improving water quality by filtering nutrients and wastes and reducing sediment and erosion; providing important habitat for waterfowl, songbirds, turkey, bats, and numerous other wildlife; and providing critical migratory corridors for many species of birds and wildlife.

The Igel Preserve retains a mature bottomland forest habit along the river which has a diverse mix of trees and wildflowers – see photo of large (over 1-acre), dense patch of Michigan Lilies and Star-flowered Solomon’s Seal) along the river. The new trees will help expand this forest to the entire floodplain portion of the property.

This project is part of AOA’s water quality initiative along the Big Darby, as well as our efforts to conserve and restore habitat in a known bat corridor that includes several rare species including Indiana Bats. The conservation and planting activities are a collaborative effort of AOA with several partner organizations including The Conservation Fund and OEPA DEFA (Division of Environmental and Financial Assistance).

Read More
Donate to Support Darby Creek Conservation
Igel 1
Igel 2

AOA Preserves Upper Big Darby Creek Property

A beaver lodge appears at the edge of the stream. Majestic sycamores shade the riparian corridor cooling the water for the resident smallmouth bass and mollusks. Stately oaks several hundred years old join the hickory trees on the ridge in providing habitat for the great horned owls and bald eagles often seen here. A snapping turtle slides off a log into the green waters of the creek as a heron takes off from its perch, as kayakers drift by marveling at the quiet beauty so close to the expanding Columbus metropolis.

This property was once home to some of this country’s easternmost tallgrass prairie. An oak savanna consisting of scattered oaks soaring above wildflowers and prairie grass. What stories these 300 year old oaks could tell if they could talk. Perhaps they would explain that prairie wildflowers blanketed the ground all summer, and Native Americans often would use controlled fire to help hunt bison and assist plant management. Or that the first white settler in this area, Jonathan Alder – kidnapped by the Shawnees from Virginia – likely frequented this riverbank as he lived in a cabin not far downstream.

Like in the pioneer times when Jonathan Alder wandered these woods, these are times of change. The native hunters are long gone. The challenges of today are much different, but no less urgent. Pressing urbanization is endangering the protection of a stream that is blessed with tremendous aquatic biodiversity- over 100 species of fish and 40 species of freshwater mollusk. In many ways the Darby is a window back in time to the years before European settlement, yet development remains a serious threat. In 2019, the conservation group “American Rivers” named the Darby one of America’s most threatened rivers.

This Big Darby Oaks property has been forever protected through a recent acquisition by AOA with funding from OEPA. This site includes high bluff along the river with bottomland riparian habitat and fields that are being converted to native prairie. A patch of old forest has been cut but never cleared for farming like most of land in this area.

With your help, more can be done to protect one of our country’s Wild and Scenic Rivers, Big Darby Creek, and the flora and fauna that call it home. Click the link below to make your tax-deductible contribution so AOA can continue its important work in the Big Darby Conservation Corridor.

Donate to Support Darby Creek Conservation

AOA Adds Key Property to Scioto River Flyway Corridor

Scioto River Flyway

Protection and restoration of the Fleming Bend property continues AOA’s ongoing and successful efforts to protect and restore the Lower Scioto River and its tributaries as part of our Scioto River Flyway Corridor Initiative. This 309-acre property which protects 13,880 linear feet of riparian floodplain is an important addition to the corridor. Located in central Pickaway County, immediately west of downtown Circleville, the Fleming Bend site lies on a large bend in the Scioto River. It includes a 50-acre island surrounded by river channel.

The Fleming Bend addition project is being undertaken with Water Resource Restoration Sponsor Program monies designated for protection and restoration of high-quality steams and wetlands in Ohio. This project is administered by the Ohio Department of Environmental Protection (OEPA) which recently completed an environmental assessment process for the project. A complete copy of the environmental documents may be found here. The City of Columbus’ Lower Olentangy Tunnel WPCLF loan project is the municipal sponsor for this property.

Read More About Fleming Bend

AOA Moves Forward with Big Darby Creek Conservation

Over 285 Acres to be Added

Big Darby

AOA is working to add new properties to AOA’s Big Darby Creek Conservation Corridor in Pickaway County. Big Darby Creek is a National and State designated Scenic River that is recognized as “one of the most biologically diverse aquatic systems in the Midwest”. It is home to 38 known state and federally listed species, including numerous freshwater mussels and fish.

These properties will be conserved with funding from the Water Resource Restoration Sponsor Program, which seeks to protect and restore high-quality streams and wetlands in Ohio. This program is administered by the Ohio Department of Environmental Protection which recently completed a limited environmental assessment process for the Big Darby Creek Conservation Corridor Additions project. A complete copy of the environmental documents may be found here. AOA’s new Big Darby conservation properties are being sponsored by the City of Columbus’ Lower Olentangy Tunnel WPCLF loan project.

Read About Two New Big Darby Properties

Our Mission

Appalachia Ohio Alliance is dedicated to the conservation and stewardship of our land and water as sustainable natural resources that are an asset and a legacy for our community

Mission and Goals

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Appalachia Ohio Alliance is a regional non-profit conservancy dedicated to the conservation of land and water resources in central and southeastern Ohio. Find out how you can help our efforts.

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Upcoming Events

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January 2022

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When we consider what it took to create this landscape, we must also consider what we can do to insure that future generations will also be able to marvel at its beauty.
Paul Knoop
The scenic views, diversity of plants and wildlife, and quiet times in the country will all be enhanced by the security of knowing that things can stay this way into the future.
Larry R. Menchhofer

In the end, I decided to sell my property to AOA because I love it so much. It was hard to part with it – but I am not really parting with it – it is there forever thanks to AOA.

Read Full Testimonial

Steve Fought

Latest News

AOA Plants Trees Along Big Darby Creek
Restores Bottomland Forest Habitat at Igel Preserve

April 27th, 2021|Comments Off on AOA Plants Trees Along Big Darby Creek
Restores Bottomland Forest Habitat at Igel Preserve

Bald Eagle Released Back into the Wild Marsha G. Schneider Preserve, Pickaway County

September 17th, 2019|Comments Off on Bald Eagle Released Back into the Wild Marsha G. Schneider Preserve, Pickaway County

AOA Moves Forward with Big Darby Creek Conservation – Adds Over 530 Acres

November 27th, 2018|Comments Off on AOA Moves Forward with Big Darby Creek Conservation – Adds Over 530 Acres

AOA Conserves Hocking Canal Lock

November 20th, 2018|Comments Off on AOA Conserves Hocking Canal Lock

AOA Partners in Ohio Bat Conservation Project
Over 500 Acres to be Conserved

November 1st, 2018|Comments Off on AOA Partners in Ohio Bat Conservation Project
Over 500 Acres to be Conserved