I just returned from a very intense weekend-long immersion in biology. The Ohio Division of Wildlife partnered for the second year with a group called the Ohio Certified Volunteer Naturalists (OCVN) to put on a workshop that covers a variety of natural history subjects. As last year, we chose Killdeer Plains Wildlife Area in north-central Ohio as the venue. Killdeer is a nearly 9,000 acre remnant of the Sandusky Plains, one of Ohio's largest wet prairie complexes. The place abounds with biodiversity, and I'll share a bit of what we found over the next few posts.
Thanks to Rae Johnson with the Licking County OCVN Chapter for spearheading the event, and everyone who graciously volunteers to help. We had 36 attendees, a perfect number as our formula involves lectures from experts coupled with field trips. Divided into four groups, it's only 9 per field trip and that's a perfect size for teaching. The mornings are devoted to lectures, and the afternoons to field work. The four focus areas this year were beetles, birds, botany, and butterflies.
Fortunately for us, the weather cooperated and it was bright and sunny. A bit hot, yes, but everyone managed well.
Bob Placier of Hocking College - blue shirt, facing away - teaches us about birds inside the Killdeer Plains Sportsman's Center. This is a great place to do this, as the center sits smack dab in the middle of a mammoth prairie. A couple Sedge Wrens were singing right outside the doors, and Bob got his groups many other species on the field trips - everything from Orchard Oriole to Bald Eagle. At one point I was standing in a site where I could hear - simultaneously! - Sedge, Marsh, House, and Carolina wrens.
Dave is also the author of the just-released National Wildlife Federation Field Guide to Wildflowers of North America. This is THE book to have if you are interested in plants. It is a benchmark for how these sorts of guides should be done. HERE IS A LINK to a review that I wrote of Dave's guide. I highly recommend it.
Well, a siesta is much deserved and needed, but I'll slap some other cool stuff from the Killdeer weekend up here later.