Contributions to Ohio’s Income Tax Check-Off Programs help protect natural areas and wildlife

COLUMBUS, OH– The best of Ohio’s unique ecosystems and their wild inhabitants are better protected thanks to donations to the state’s income tax check-off programs benefiting wildlife and natural areas.

Now that Ohioans are in the midst of tax preparation season, the Ohio Department of Natural Resources (ODNR) is urging taxpayers to remember these programs when filing their state income tax returns. Donations help ODNR protect natural areas and manage endangered wildlife.

“Some of the finest natural areas in the state benefit from funds collected through the check-off,” said Josh Knights, executive director of The Nature Conservancy in Ohio, a private conservation organization.

“The state’s check-off program is an easy way for Ohioans to make an investment in conservation,” Knights said. “Contributions of only a few dollars go a long way in protecting our native species and healthy habitats.”

Check-off monies also help purchase critical habitat and fund wildlife research programs.

A recent check-off program success story is the proposal to remove the Lake Erie watersnake, only found on the islands of Lake Erie, from the federal listing of endangered and threatened wildlife. Donations have helped protect the snake’s habitat, which is one of the smallest geographic ranges of any vertebrate in the world.

Last year, Ohioans also helped ODNR preserve unique landscapes. ODNR’s Division of Natural Areas and Preserves acquired Ohio’s 135th state nature preserve—Daughmer Savannah in Crawford County—using donations from the Natural Areas check-off fund. The 35-acre site is the largest surviving portion of the Sandusky Plains, which once covered nearly 200,000 acres in north-central Ohio. This burr oak savannah is perhaps the best remaining example of this plant community type in Ohio.

Ohioans can donate all or part of their state income tax refund by checking the appropriate boxes on the state tax return form (line 25B or 25C on the IT-1040 form and line 18B or 18C on the IT-1040 EZ form) for the amount they wish to donate to either or both programs.

Taxpayers not eligible to receive a refund may send a check to either the ODNR Division of Natural Areas & Preserves' Natural Areas Fund or the ODNR Division of Wildlife's Wildlife Diversity Fund at 2045 Morse Road, Columbus, Ohio 43224.

The Ohio Department of Natural Resources ensures a balance between wise use and protection of our natural resources for the benefit of all. Visit the ODNR Web site at