Preserving Marion County’s Natural + Cultural Heritage
The Terradise Nature Center — along a traditional fishing spot at a bend in the Whetstone (Olentangy) River near the Village of Caledonia — is the culmination of a life’s dream for visionary Marion County preservationist & naturalist Trella Hemmerly Romine. Built to Trella’s specifications — “in a woods, on a hill, near a stream” — by Trella & husband Ray Romine, the property they named “Terradise” (heaven on earth) has been protected & restored, since the 1950s, as a rare sanctuary for native flora & fauna. The right bank of the Whetstone River was donated by Trella to the Marion Parks District — an organization she helped form — and became the first nature preserve in its system. In 2018, the remainder of the Terradise property, and the Romine Family Home, became the 501(c)(3) non-profit Terradise Nature Center — managed by a Board of Directors presided over by Trella’s son, David Haldeman, and run by Executive Director & naturalist Tyler Butler, fulfilling Trella’s dream of putting her beloved property to work to help protect, steward, & interpret the natural & cultural history of Marion County forevermore.
Trella Romine was a beloved, unstoppable Marion County historian, historic preservationist, conservationist, & naturalist, with an unflinching vision for a glorious future for the Village of Caledonia and the Whetstone River. Trella ran her family’s flower shop, Hemmerly’s Flowers, from the 1950’s until her retirement in 1982; in her free time, she was a founding charter member & President of the Marion County Historical Society, a president of the Ohio Local History Alliance, and she became a passionate advocate for native plant restoration.
Along with her good friend Kensel Clutter, Trella is perhaps best known for her pioneering work in prairie restoration in Marion County — helping identify, and then restore, remnant parcels of western Marion County’s once-abundant Sandusky Plains. A parcel of remnant prairie near the Village of Green Camp was first purchased & preserved by Trella in the 1970s; it is now named in her honor.
Trella is also remembered fondly for her tireless efforts to preserve the history & ensure the future of the Village of Caledonia — including her organization of a short-lived Caledonia history newsletter, The Caledonia Call, in the 1990s to early 2000’s, for which she wrote a column about Caledonia history & memory. In the 1970s, she worked with a group led by then-mayor Randall Underwood to help bring a historic bowstring bridge — now known as the “Caledonia bowstring bridge” — from Espyville to where it now stands, astride the Whetstone River on Caledonia-Northern Road; and led efforts to raise funds & secure grants to renovate the historic bridge as an entrance to a then-planned 37-acre Caledonia Community Park & Nature Center, planned for the opposite bank of the Whetstone River. Those plans fell through by the 1980s, and what’s become the Caledonia Nature Preserve — inaccessible by pedestrians — was donated to the Marion Parks District in the 1990s. Nevertheless, Trella’s incredible vision & organizing to mobilize interest in Caledonia’s rich past as a tool for sustaining vibrant futures lives in on in the spirit of a new generation of community cultural organizers today.
Today, the Terradise Nature Center is a dynamic young community non-profit, providing environmental education & hands-on experiential education on the Whetstone for K-12 students, educators, and families from the bi-county area. Contact Terradise for opportunities to book naturalist Tyler Butler for a classroom visit or after-school program; or simply swing by and visit Terradise, and come to understand why Trella & Ray stewarded their little slice of the Whetstone as “heaven on earth!”
SHOP // ADDRESS:
Terradise Nature Center: 1536 Whetstone River Road North || Caledonia, Ohio || 43314
Executive Director: Tyler Butler — tel. 614.507.9611 || firstname.lastname@example.org
President of the Board: David Haldeman — tel. 513.484.9729 || email@example.com
Chief Financial Officer: Jed Haldeman — tel. 614.353.3801 || firstname.lastname@example.org
On-site tours; on-site environmental education; classroom and/or remote off-site environmental education; native plant restoration; conservation consulting; naturalist services
Natural History; Native Plant Restoration & Conservation; Prairie Restoration; Local History