Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Wildlife Diversity Conference approaches!

Mark your calendars for Wednesday, March 9! Put in for a day off, if need be. You'll not want to miss the now legendary Wildlife Diversity Conference. This event began some 20 years ago, with perhaps a few dozen enthusiasts gathered in a back room somewhere. Since then, it has mushroomed into what is surely one of the biggest one-day natural history conferences, anywhere. Last year, nearly 1,000 people came together to hear experts deliver presentations on a wide range of subjects, and I'd bet that this year is bigger and better than ever.

The Wildlife Diversity Conference is sponsored by the Ohio Division of Wildlife, and takes place in the fabulous and roomy Aladdin Shriner's Complex on the east side of Columbus. Access to the site is a snap - it's right off I-270, Columbus' outerbelt - and registration is a breeze. Just click RIGHT HERE.

Below is a taste of what the program offers:

This is a face only a mother could love, and probably only a wrinkled, slimy and gelatinous mother. It's an Eastern Hellbender, a massive stream-dwelling salamander. They've become exceeedingly rare in Ohio and much of their range, and we'll learn much about them from veterinarian Barb Wolfe.

Huge prehistoric-looking beasts with primitive rattling calls, Sandhill Cranes always excite observers. We're learning lots more about cranes in Ohio thanks to biologist Dave Sherman, and he'll share his info with us.

Looks like a bit of a sourpuss, this pie-plate of a turtle. And they get WAY bigger, and surlier! Spiny Softshells - and their rarer brethren the Smooth Softshell - are extremely cool turtles. They may look ungainly in my hands, but stick them in water and they move with the gracefulness of a professional synchronized swimmer. Yep, there'll be a talk on these strange reptiles, too, courtesy of one of Ohio's most knowledgeable herpetologists, Jeff Davis.

Northern Ravine Salamander showing off its sinuous, slinky shape. Lisle Gibbs of OSU will get into the fascinating world of genetics in our salamanders and snakes.

There's more. Other talks will focus on wildlife-watching and the people that partake; ways we can interest others in birding and the out-of-doors; and protecting stream corridors and all of the benefits that come as a result. Couple all of this with the tremendous array of vendors and displays and the chance to fraternize with hundreds of other like-minded people, and you'll squeeze a lot of value from the day.

Again, go RIGHT HERE to register, and I'll see you there!


Texas Travelers said...

I hope you meant that as a pun.
"Below is a taste of what the program offers:"
I could eat the Cranes and turtles, but will pass on the salamanders.

Any way it looks like fun and a great program.

Nice photos and discussion.

Anonymous said...

Is this conference truly for anyone? I saw it on the ODNR website, and I'm interested, but I'm just a member of the public interested in wildlife, natural history, etc. Would I feel out of place because there would be a lot of profeesionals there, or would it be informational and interesting to anyone?

Jim McCormac said...

This conference is truly designed for everyone, not just experts. Presenters tend to be very good at giving talks that are clear, interesting, and easily understood. I think you'd like it.