Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Ohio Natural History Conference - February 28

The cavalcade of interesting conferences and symposia is rapidly coming down the pike, and I'll plug them here from time to time.

Here's one that you won't want to miss: The annual Ohio Natural History Conference, sponsored by the Ohio Biological Survey and the Ohio Division of Wildlife. This conference is always interesting, and full of great speakers on all manner of topics. To add to the allure, it is held at the always interesting Ohio Historical Society building, a very apropos venue for this affair. Just CLICK HERE for the complete skinny, and to register.

I was especially pleased to learn that Gary Meszaros is the keynote speaker. Gary is one of North America's premier wildlife photographers, and his images are sure to dazzle. We collaborated on a book entitled Wild Ohio: The Best of Our Natural Heritage, which should be released early this spring, from Kent State University Press. The book is a romp through forty of Ohio's very best remaining natural areas, and is full of Gary's wonderful imagery.

Below is a taste of some of Meszaros' work, which will appear in our book, and is the sort of stuff you can expect to see at his program at the Ohio Natural History Conference.

Five species of dace inhabit Ohio streams. Breeding in clear pools, redside dace populations are found along the unglaciated Allegheny Plateau.

Wild lupine, with its racemes of blue flowers, contrasts with the orange flowers of plains puccoon. Both plants are rare in Ohio. Wild lupine is the host plant for the endangered Karner blue butterfly.

The small fringed gentian appears in late summer, growing in wet meadows and seeps. The beauty of this plant inspired poet William Cullen Bryant to pen a poem entitled “To the Fringed Gentian”.

The dominant plant in the wet meadows at Irwin Prairie is a sedge; twig-rush. The yellow rail may be the most significant bird species occurring here. There are more records of this secretive bird at Irwin Prairie than any other Ohio locale.

Wilson’s snipe are at the extreme southern end of their breeding range in Ohio. Irwin Prairie is one of few reliable sites where the peculiar aerial courtship displays of male snipe can be observed.

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