The Nature Conservancy has raised two new barn quilts on its Morgan Swamp properties near Rock Creek.
A quilt with an original “Lake Effect” design was raised on a snowy day last winter and graces the barn at the conservancy’s campus along the Grand River and accessed from Callender Road. The most recent of the quilts to be raised went up March 25 on a barn on Footville-Richmond Road. It features a beaver design.
The conservancy purchased the farm because it would expand their holdings in the Morgan Swamp Preserve. The farm was previously owned by the late Eva Heidecker and had been in that family for decades.
Karen Adair of the TNC said the group plans to keep the primary barn, which has the quilt on it, and restore the balance of the property to “a natural condition.”
Adair designed the quilts with input from TNC staff.
“The images were based on two of the most iconic characteristics of the Morgan Swamp Preserve,” she said in an email. “The beaver design was inspired by (a) picture I took at the overlook deck platform on Footville Richmond Road, just to the west of the (barn) quilt. Beaver have played and continue to play an important role in shaping the swamps of the Grand River lowlands.
“Similarly, the lake effect snow that Ashtabula receives has an impact on the types of forest communities found in the Grand River lowlands. Many of them, like some found in Morgan Swamp, are more typical of northern climates, so Morgan Swamp represents the southern edge of these more boreal communities’ range,” she wrote.
The quilts were painted by Adair and Nathan Randolph.
Adair says TNC was an early adopter of the barn quilt movement in Ohio, starting with the conservancy’s Edge of Appalachia preserve in Adams County, birthplace of the barn quilt movement.
“We see these quilt tours as a great way to participate in our local tourism and get people to know who we are and what we do,” Adair says. “…we do plan to do more all over the state as opportunities arise. If we acquire more barns in Ashtabula County along public roads, I’m sure we’ll try to do more quilts. They are a lot of work, but they’re really fun, too.”