If you are looking for a really easy, simple way to support Ohio’s wildlife and Ohio State Nature Preserves, think about your tax return. Huh?Yes, you can donate some or all of your state income tax refund.

The ODNR Division of Wildlife was created during a time when wildlife populations were vanishing at an alarming rate. The mission then, and still is, to manage, protect and restore wildlife populations to improve Ohioans’ quality of life. 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 all wildlife enthusiasts can help restore and manage endangered and threatened wildlife and other species of special interest.

“It would be impossible for us to achieve our conservation goals without the support we receive from Ohio’s taxpayers,” said Ohio Department of Natural Resources (ODNR) Director James Zehringer. “These tax donations support programs that restore our endangered and threatened wildlife and help protect the beautiful natural areas at our Ohio State Nature Preserves.”

Donations made to the “Wildlife Diversity Fund” help support critical ecological management activities in Ohio, including: monitoring Sandhill Cranes, Black Bears and Trumpeter Swans; restoring native butterflies, freshwater mussels and Hellbenders; creating Monarch butterfly habitat and other conservation efforts to benefit pollinators; and wildlife education efforts through the production and distribution of field guides and posters.

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 and available to all Ohioans. The tax refund donation program directly supports facility improvements, invasive species management, land purchases, educational opportunities and scientific research. Ohio State Nature Preserves provide habitat for endangered species and promote a good quality of life within Ohio’s communities.

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

If you won’t have a state tax refund, you still can contribute to these funds. Just make checks payable to the ODNR Division of Natural Areas and Preserves or to the Wildlife Diversity Fund. Send your donations to the ODNR Division of Natural Areas and Preserves or the ODNR Division of Wildlife, both at 2045 Morse Road, Columbus, Ohio 43229.