Trella & Ray Romine in 1948

About the Exhibit

Caledonia Conservationists: Prairie Environmentalism Along the Whetstone tells the intertwined story of Marion County’s local history and natural history movements, & highlights the unique role of Terradise Nature Center and its founders, Trella & Ray Romine, in the evolution of those stories. The property now known as Terradise — local poet Ray Romine’s coinage for “heaven on Earth” — was purchased by Marion naturalist couple Trella & Ray Romine in 1952; the fertile riverbottom land along a beloved local bend in the Whetstone River had been used by both settlers & indigenous peoples for centuries before.

While Ray Romine tragically passed away in 1954, under Trella Romine’s organizing, Terradise would go on to play a leading role in the rise of the local history movement, and the related Sandusky Plains prairie conservation movement: both here in Marion County, & regionally, across North-Central Ohio. The grounds & Romine residence, over the decades, became home to countless meetings, & the scheming & dreaming that helped shape the landscape of local & natural history in the region today.

Caledonia Conservationists: Prairie Environmentalism Along the Whetstone, is the first comprehensive exhibit to tell the story of the way Marion County historians mobilized their local history research to spark wide-scale awareness & preservation of local prairies & ecosystems; & highlights the way that everyday organizers like Trella & Ray Romine — & a very extraordinary stretch of land & water like Terradise — became the heart of a regional movement that continues to shape heritage & cultural organizing across the region today. Our exhibit is augmented throughout with links to expanded digital materials & oral history interviews online — just scan!

Welcome to Caledonia Conservationists!