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Then & Now: Ohio Bird Sanctuary 1946

Scouts at site of future Ohio Bird Sanctuary

One of the rare and lovely blossoms in Richland County’s garden of natural life is the Ohio Bird Sanctuary. Visit there today and you will find a place so natural in its setting it seems like it has always been there. It wasn’t that long ago, however, when the site of our quiet avian preserve was the summer home of a thousand screaming Boy Scouts howling happily in the cold waters of their Scout camp pool.

Known for 50 years as Camp Avery Hand, the rolling and wooded hills above the Clear Fork Reservoir was established as a Scout reservation in 1941 when the growing Scout organization outgrew its former campground at Fleming Falls northeast of Mansfield.

Roughly half of the grounds of the Scout camp are today rededicated as the setting of the Ohio Bird Sanctuary, and several of the former Scout buildings have been repurposed to the uses of the Sanctuary’s educational work.

Once known as a resort for Eagle Scouts, today the hillside rising from the Clear Fork is home to different kinds of eagles, as well as various raptors, owls, and songbirds.

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Timothy Brian McKee is a featured columnist on our site every Sunday with a column titled Native SonEvery Tuesday, he taps into his knowledge and collection of historical photos and bring us Then & Now, a brief glance at the way things were.