Greenspace Gems Celebrate Greater Cincinnati’s Leadership in Land Conservation

March 13, 2018 1:44 PM | Anonymous member

Cincinnati’s parks already rank top 10 among the largest 100 U.S. cities by The Trust for Public Land’s Parkscore index. Now the region seeks to be known for its extraordinary 116,000 acres of protected greenspace. A new initiative called “Greenspace Gems” recognizes and celebrates natural areas in the Tri-State area for their outstanding scenic value, biological diversity, scientific importance, or historic interest. By telling the stories of these protected places, Green Umbrella – Greater Cincinnati’s hub for environmental sustainability – seeks to grow public support for greenspace conservation and the organizations who are leading this work in our region.
Right: Rowe Woods, courtesy of Cincinnati Nature Center

Greenspace Gems are selected by a team of conservation experts from Green Umbrella’s Greenspace Action Team. “These acres of conserved greenspace help preserve the quality of our air, water and soil. Embedded within the protected landscape are geologic, topographic and historic places that often support species with declining populations. These sites not only provide valuable field study opportunities for scientists and students, but also allow visitors to observe the natural, pre-settlement communities that once covered the Tri-State region,” says Stan Hedeen, Emeritus Professor of Biology at Xavier University.

The first five Greenspace Gems were just released:

20 years ago, Green Umbrella was originally organized to conserve greenspace and unite citizens and groups concerned about preserving and restoring the abundant diversity of wildlife and plants that thrive in the Ohio-Kentucky-Indiana area. Launching this initiative now, two decades later, highlights the region’s great achievement in having protected over 116,000 acres of greenspace to date.

Caldwell Nature Preserve, courtesy of Cincinnati Parks

“Greenspace protection is another way our region is staying on the leading edge of sustainability,” says Ryan Mooney-Bullock, Communications and Program Manager for Green Umbrella. Last year, Greater Cincinnati was recognized as being the nation’s #1 metro area for sustainability by Site Selection magazine, an important resource for economic development professionals and corporate leaders looking for where to expand and locate their businesses. 

Big Bone Lick State Historic Site, courtesy of Kentucky State Parks

Cities around the world are setting sustainability goals related to greenspace. For example, Vancouver, which seeks to be the world’s Greenest City, has a goal that every resident lives within a 5 minute walk of a park, greenway, or other greenspace by 2020. Vancouver’s latest progress report indicates that 92.7% of their city land area is within a 5 minute walk to greenspace. “Cincinnati can tout its greenspace stats too," says Margaret Minzner, member of Green Umbrella's Greenspace Action Team and senior environmental planner for OKI Regional Council of Governments. "In the City of Cincinnati, 94% of the land area is within a half mile or about 10 minute walk to greenspace,” says Minzner, "and 96% of our Tri-State population lives within 2 miles of protected greenspace."

To learn more, visit Gems will be considered for addition several times a year on a rolling basis. To recommend a site as a Greenspace Gem, send a description of what makes the site unique, who manages it, and how it was protected to

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