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Ohio’s Buckeye Could Move into "Enemy" Territory

September 12, 2008

Columbus, OH – While OSU prepares to take on USC this weekend, a group of Buckeye fans, sportsmen and environmentalists are focusing on the potential loss of Ohio's state symbol. They're launching a campaign today to stop Ohio's buckeye tree from becoming Michigan's buckeye.

State Forester David Lytle says global warming is shifting buckeye tree habitat to the northwest.

"Buckeyes prefer cooler, moister sites with rich soil. If the climate were to cause those habitats to became drier in Ohio, they would become less suitable for buckeyes."

Jim Wentz, with the League of Ohio Sportsmen, says while the buckeye tree isn't as common and widely dispersed as the sugar maple, it still holds a special place in the hearts of Ohioans.

"Certainly, Ohio is known for it, and it's one of the things the settlers noticed when they came to Ohio hundreds of years ago. We do not want to see the habitat for the buckeye reduced."

Ohio State University Student Kristen Arnold is concerned about losing this important symbol.

"Michigan is OSU's biggest rival--one of the biggest rivalries in the country is between Ohio State and Michigan. It's also our state tree, so we can't let that happen."

Experts say warmer temperatures, more intense rainfalls and a shorter frost season could all cause the habitat to shift. The "Save the Buckeye" Campaign will kick off in front of a large Ohio buckeye tree on the Statehouse lawn at 10:30 a.m. More information is available at

Mary Kuhlman/Don Mathisen, Public News Service - OH