Kent Bog State Nature Preserve

Dedicated in 1987 and named for Tom Cooperrider, Emeritus Professor of Biology at Kent State University and a renowned Ohio Botanist, the Kent Bog State Nature Preserve protects a 45 acre bog meadow that developed from a kettle lake as the Pleistocene gave way to the Holocene.  Surrounded by boreal forest, the lake gradually filled with peat as vegetative debris, aquatic plants and sphagnum moss invaded from the shoreline, a process that began about 12,000 years ago and continues today.

Accessed by a half-mile boardwalk loop, the bog is famous for its glacial-relic vegetation, including gray birch trees and tamaracks; the later deciduous conifers, now primarily found across northern Canada and Alaska, survive in cool, post-glacial valleys and depressions where Pleistocene glaciers once scoured the landscape and Kent Bog harbors one of the largest and most southern groves of these trees.  Among other vegetation at the bog are highbush blueberry, winterberry, leatherleaf, various ferns and, of course, sphagnum mosses.

As one might expect, this nature preserve attracts a wide variety of woodland songbirds, dominated this morning by a noisy assembly of gray catbirds.  The bog is also home to a diverse group of amphibians and reptiles, including the endangered spotted turtle.  The entrance to this fascinating refuge is off Meloy Road, a short distance west of Route 43 (south of downtown Kent and north of Interstate 76).