Boyer Nature Preserve452 East Park Street
Westerville, Ohio 43081
614-901-6515 | www.westerville.org/parks
Urban Wildlife Refuge
Filled with plant life deemed unique and irreplaceable, Boyer Nature Preserve was saved for us to observe and enjoy.
Frogs, turtles and a family of muskrats were living among tall cattails and floating yellow pond lilies, while migrant and resident birds were seeking food and cover. For years, students used Boyer Park as an education laboratory for observing wildlife and learning about life-cycles in a wilderness area. Then, in the late-1970s, a new sewer line was to be channeled through the park that would result in draining the pond at the heart of the preserve. When teachers and students at nearby Whittier School found out, they mounted a campaign to “Save Boyer Park.” City officials agreed to use an alternative route for the sewer line, and with fundraising by the children and money from the city, .61 acres of adjacent land was purchased for the sewer line. Filled with plant life deemed by park naturalists to be unique and, therefore, irreplaceable, Boyer Nature Preserve was saved for us to observe and enjoy. The story of how the children saved the park was published by Scott Foresman in the 1979 Social Studies 3 book and in Ranger Rick’s Nature Magazine.
This is such a unique space in Westerville, both for its natural history, its contemporary ecosystem, and for the way the suburban world is always present. That Boyer Nature Preserve even exists is a sign of the power of the environmental movement in the aftermath of Earth Day. In that moment when Americans were losing touch with so much of the natural world as suburbs swallowed agricultural areas around big cities, one finds a concerted effort to continue to honor the distinctiveness of the land in an era of the bulldozer and the tract house. However, to be at Boyer Nature Preserve is to be always aware that you are in someone's manicured backyard, which present a startling contrast to the natural disorder of the marsh.