6100 Ridge Road Medina, Ohio 44256Alderfer-Chatfield Wildlife Sanctuary webpage
Also, see all the hotspots at:
Medina County Birding Drive
The 248-acre Alderfer-Chatfield Wildlife Sanctuary is home to the park district’s Oenslager Nature Center. The site is named after Ruth and George Oenslager, who donated the original 103 acres with the provision that the land be used for environmental education in its use as a public park. An additional adjacent 145 acres were acquired in 1999.
Hours: Tuesday through Saturday, from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., Sundays from 12 to 5 p.m.
The nature center opened in October of 2000 and has the feeling of a comfortable rambling farmhouse with its natural wood interior, back porch, and inviting stone fireplace. Its educational spaces include a large gathering room, a laboratory, a library, and a classroom.
Using a curriculum designed to complement State of Ohio content themes for science, Medina County Park District Naturalists guide students in bringing their classroom experiences to life as they encounter the plants and animals living in the wetlands, meadows, and woods of Alderfer-Chatfield Wildlife Sanctuary. And, importantly, Oenslager Nature Center provides a space for “indoor-outdoor education” for those who are unable to hike due to limited mobility.
But you don’t have to be an elementary school student to experience the beauty and diversity of nature at Oenslager Nature Center. The center seeks to meet the needs of all user groups, the general public, schools, and community groups. Access to nature displays, temporary exhibits, educational programs, an indoor bird-watching area, and the education staff is available year-round.
Hiking is encouraged as there are several must-sees on a visit here. More than four miles of trails take you through an amazing array of landscapes — including mature forest, wetlands, meadow, and prairie.
The enchanting tall pine forest is one of the unforgettable experiences to be found in the park district. To step inside is like entering a fragrant green cave – sheltered, shaded, and quiet. The wetlands area offers an extensive boardwalk that zigzags over the water, making visitors feel like they are walking on its surface like water bugs.
An accomplished amateur painter, Ruth Oenslager would be pleased to find that Oenslager Nature Center plays host to arts programs throughout the year. In addition to providing a site for art classes and workshops, it is home to the park district’s popular Nature Art Fest event.
Step into the classroom at Oenslager Nature Center, and you will enjoy a rotating display from the portfolios of members of Photographers of the Parks. It’s a club of nature photo enthusiasts who share a common passion for photography and for the parks. New members of all skill levels are welcome.
Since this site is a wildlife sanctuary, the park district seeks to minimize disturbance to the natural communities. For that reason, pets, fishing, biking, and picnicking are not permitted.
From Alderfer-Chatfield Wildlife Sanctuary webpage
Alderfer-Chatfield Wildlife Sanctuary Trails
Hiking trails at the Alderfer-Chatfield Wildlife Sanctuary include:
Pine Forest Loop – .67 mile – natural
Hardwood Forest Loop – .5 mile – natural
Wetland Loop – .25 mile – paved from the back of Wolf Creek to the boardwalk
Inner Loop – 1 mile – natural
Outer Loop – 2 miles – natural
Red Bud Trail – .125 mile – natural
Restroom on site.
Wheelchair accessible trail.