Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Ohio Natural History Conference

Mark your calendars for Saturday, February 11th - the date of the 9th annual Ohio Natural History Conference. This is a particularly auspicious occasion, as the conference also celebrates the 100th year of the Ohio Biological Survey (OBS), the main sponsor. Together with the Ohio Division of Wildlife, OBS has crafted an interesting and diverse meeting that gets better every year.

The cost is $20.00 - $10.00 for students - and CLICK HERE to be whisked to the online registration. Of course, you can just show up and register at the door, but an additional $5.00 will be plucked from your wallet. This year's shindig will be held at the fabulous ODOT Conference Center at 1980 West Broad Street, Columbus 43223. I've been to a number of events here and the venue is perfect for such affairs.

Following are a few of the conference highlights:

This year's keynote speaker is Dr. David Bonter with the Cornell Lab of Ornithology. Bonter works primarily with the lab's citizen science initiatives, and that includes such well known efforts as eBird, Project Feederwatch, and the Great Backyard Bird Count.

One of Ohio's rarer breeding birds is the Chuck-will's-widow, and here we are face to face with one of the jumbo goatsuckers sitting on its nest. See it? Paul Rodewald and Matt Shumar will summarize the Ohio Breeding Bird Atlas, which has concluded after six years of intensive statewide surveys. Their report will be interesting as all the facts are in, and lots of interesting birds were found.

A giant six-spotted fishing spider rests in a tranquil pool, its legs dimpling the surface but not breaking the surface tension. This species is but one of about 650 species of Ohio spiders, and every one of them is fascinating in its own way. Dr. Richard Bradley, spider expert extraordinaire and author of an upcoming field guide to North American spiders, will give an overview of our arachnids. No one talks up the virtues of spiders like Rich, and this talk alone is worth the price of admission.

This female blue dasher is a miniature objet d'art, as are all of the other dragonflies and damselflies. Ohio has a wealth of Odonate diversity, and who better than to talk about these winged predators than Bob Glotzhober and Dave McShaffrey? These two have devoted much of their lives to the study of these fascinating insects and pitch a powerful message about the insect world's most spectacular flyboys.

Suze Prange with the Division of Wildlife will discuss the distribution of mammals in Ohio, and that includes this giant lumbering brute, the beaver, caught here in the act of shredding an eastern cottonwood. Most of our mammal species are usually out of sight and out of mind, but all are fascinating and this will be an eye-opening talk.

If you can make the event, you'll be in for an interesting and informative day, I'll promise you that. Hope to see you there!



Derek Hennen said...

I will also be presenting a poster over some of my insect research. It should be informative!

Nomadic Birder said...

See you there!

Heather said...

Very much looking forward to this one. See you there!