The Wildlife Preserve (& Nahorn Arboretum)

at the 1811 Historic Shupe Homestead

“The Old White Oak” Oldest tree at the preserve (250-300 years old)

The 1811 Historic Shupe Homestead property is comprised of 20 acres of the core of the original Shupe Homestead, and at one area it encompasses both sides of Beaver Creek.

The entire property contains approximately seventeen hundred linear feet of the Beaver Creek and important floodplain forestland for the Creek.  Upland and lowland mature wooded forest is found throughout.  Wetlands, vernal pools, important floodplain and riparian forestland comprise the preserved land.  Mature woods, grassland habitat, and mowed grass habitat is also found here.  The majority of the wooded lots is of mid- to late-successional growth, and portions have never been cut.  Several trees are over one hundred years old, and there is a white oak that has been estimated to be two-hundred fifty years to three hundred years old.  The older growth trees include red and white oak.  The property contains numerous and diverse trees species (about 32) and wildflower species (about 50).  There have also been about fifty species of birds found to be using this important property.  Wetlands on the property boast several fern types, buttonbushes, pawpaw trees, and native green dragon wildflowers, just to name a few highlights.

Wild turkeys roam the grassland habitat at the Wildlife Preserve. 

The property contains wetlands that cleanse the water for the Beaver Creek.  Also, a class 1 ephemeral headwaters stream of the Beaver Creek is located in the northern-most portion of the property.  This stream has been named “Shupe Creek” to honor the original settler of the Amherst, who settled this property.  Over the years, the Beaver Creek has been an important watercourse in the Amherst area, especially.  It served as a power source for Jacob Shupe’s saw and gristmills and distillery that he operated.  The Beaver Creek is the largest watershed located entirely within Lorain County, flowing directly into Lake Erie.

Right: the Beaver Creek at the Historic Shupe Homestead Wildlife Preserve in Amherst, OH.

The stream begins in the southern part of the county, just north of Oberlin, Ohio and flows generally north to Lake Erie.  The main stem is about 12.2 miles long and drains approximately 43.92 square miles.  The average gradient of the creek is 19.1 feet/mile.  There are about 25.70 miles of streams that flow into Beaver Creek’s main stem.  About 8.4 million gallons of water enter Lake Erie per day.  Beaver Creek ultimately discharges into Lake Erie through the Beaver Park Marina, located within the City of Lorain, at the shore of Lake Erie.  The land in this area is chiefly distinguished by small, rolling hills throughout the landscape.  There is an exception, near the main stem of the Creek, which is characterized by high cliffs and deep flood plains, many of which are wooded and natural.  The latter sentence describes the property documented here.  The Shupe Homestead has numerous scenic views and provides several different habitats for many natural life forms.

In September 2008, the historic and ecologically significant property was permanently protected through the donation of a land conservation easement to the Western Reserve Land Conservancy, in cooperation with the Nahorn Family.

Andy McDowell (Firelands Field Director of the Western Reserve Land Conservancy) and Matt Nahorn at the W. R. L. C. offices in Oberlin.

On September 29, 2010 a Liberty Elm (Ulmus americana – ‘Liberty’) was planted at Preserve in participation with the Liberty Elm Research Society and their “Re-Elming America” program to repopulate America with American Elms that are tolerant of the Dutch Elm Disease (that has eradicated many Elm trees throughout the country).  The front portion of the Preserve serves as an arboretum and contains a collection of native tree species that have been carefully selected and maintained.  


A buck eats seed at the 1811 Historic Shupe Homestead Wildlife Preserve.

The Historic Jacob Shupe House, the oldest house in Amherst, Ohio and one of the earliest of its kind still standing in Lorain County, is squarely situated on the Wildlife Preserve’s beautiful property, along the Beaver Creek.  For over 200 years, the house’s main use has remained as a private residence, and since 1992 it has been home to the Nahorn family.  Many original aspects of the house remain preserved.

William & Diane Nahorn, owners of the property, signed the Western Reserve Land Conservancy’s land conservation easement into law in September 2008, after extensive discussions.

Nahorn Arboretum at the Historic Shupe Homestead Wildlife Preserve

The “Nahorn Arboretum” portion of the wildlife preserve is an area located in the front portion of the Shupe Homestead, where several unique and (mostly) native tree specimens have been planted.  This largely native collection of trees continues to be built and is maintained by Col. Nahorn specifically for its beauty, scientific study, and overall positive contribution to the Wildlife Preserve and Beaver Creek Watershed as a whole.  This is one of the portions of the Preserve that is mowed regularly.  We continue to regularly add to the list of plantings.  Below is a listing of the trees growing in the Arboretum:

-American Beech (Fagus grandifolia) 

-American Chestnut (Castanea dentata) – ‘blight resistant cross’

-American Holly (Ilex opaca)

-Baldcypress (Taxodium distichum)

-Black Gum (Nyssa sylvatica) (Black Tupelo)

-Black Willow (Salix nigra)

-Bur Oak (Quercus bicolor)

-Chestnut Oak (Qurecus prinus)

-Chinquapin Oak (Quercus muehlenbergii)

-Cucumbertree (Magnolia acuminata)

-Honey Locust (Gleditsia triacanthos)

-Liberty Elm, American (Ulmus americana liberty) This is a unique specimen that has been bred by the Elm Research Institute in New Hampshire by crossing six different American Elm trees that were found to be resistant to the Dutch Elm Disease, creating one that has a high level of resistance.

-Northern Hemlock (Tsuga canadensis)

-Ohio Buckeye (Aesculus glabra)

-Quaking Aspen (Populus tremuloides)

-Red Maple (Acer rubrum)

-Shingle Oak (Quercus imbricaria)

-Swamp White Oak (Quercus macrocarpa)

-Sweetgum (Liquidambar straciflua)

-Sycamore, American (Platanus occidentalis

-Tulip Poplar (Liriodendron tulipifera)

-Various pine tree specimens

-Wye Oak, White Oak (Quercus alba) This is a direct descendant of the nearly 500 year old famous Wye Oak of Massachusetts.

-White Oak (Quercus alba), direct offspring from Lorain County’s Great White Oak

Article (Oct. 22, 2022) highlighting an annexation to the Wildlife Preserve.