NEW PROGRAMMING SERIES debuts this spring

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					                                    Vol. 26, No. 2                                                                    Spring 2004




NEW PROGRAMMING SERIES                                                                    TNC LENDS
                                                                                          PROFESSIONAL SUPPORT
debuts this spring                                                                        to Natural Heritage Database
                                                                                          The following excerpted article, written by Jessica
Looking to spend some quality time outside? Check out                                     Sharon, was featured in The Nature Conservancy,
                                                                                          Ohio Chapter newsletter, Ohio Landscapes. The article
the 2004 Natural Areas Discovery Series, presented by                                     features two TNC employees who are on loan to the
                                                                                          Division of Natural Areas and Preserves for a few hours
the Division of Natural Areas and Preserves.                                              each week.
The division has begun hosting open          The first event took place at Clifton        Field work may be solitary, but The
house-styled events, one Saturday each       Gorge State Nature Preserve in late April.   Nature Conservancy’s (TNC) botanist Rick
month from April until October. Many         Preserve Manager Tim Snyder, working         Gardner also spends time working with
of the events feature scheduled hikes,       with other preserve staff, coordinated       other ecologists to discuss restoration and
interpretative programming and a             three hikes. Visitors had a chance to        protection issues. Because of the limited
chance to meet division staff.               see the many wildflowers gracing the         number of botanists across the state,
                                             preserve’s trails as they wind along the     knowing where to look for threatened
The popularity of past programming           Little Miami State and National Scenic       species is extremely helpful.
activities prompted the division to begin    River.
offering regional events that could reach                                                                              continues on page 3
more participants than some of its past      “Clifton Gorge has always been known
programs.                                    for its brilliant display of spring
                                             wildflowers,” said Snyder.“Although
“Ohio’s state nature preserves have a        flowers were the center of attention,
lot to offer visitors–scenic vistas, rare    visitors were also introduced to the
plants and a variety of landscapes in any    equally interesting geology and cultural
season,” said Nancy Strayer, Division of     history of the area.”
Natural Areas and Preserves’ acting chief.
“Our new programming series is a great                              continues on page 2
way to discover a new preserve, or visit
an old favorite.”




                                                                                                                               Rick Gardner


Fowler Woods                                                                                In This Issue
                                                                                            Best Plant Finds of 2003 ...... 3
                                                                                            Preserve Spotlight................. 4
                                                                                            SQM Workshops................... 5
                                                                                            Conkle’s Hollow Closed........ 5
                                                                                            Islands in the Sky.................. 7
                                                                                            Cranberry Bog Lottery .......... 8
         The division invites you
 and your family to try one of this year’s
Natural Areas Discovery Series’ programs
WILDFLOWER RAMBLES                                THE BEST OF BOTH WORLDS
IN PORTAGE COUNTY                                 IN WARREN COUNTY
Eagle Creek State Nature Preserve                 Little Miami State and National
May 8, 7:30 a.m. – 3 p.m.                         Scenic River & Caesar Creek Gorge
Whether you love the colors of spring             State Nature Preserve
wildflowers or spotting birds in flight           July 10, 9 a.m. – 4 p.m.
along a scenic creek, you’ll have your            By land or by water… choose your
choice of outdoor fun. The 7:30 a.m.              nature adventure. About 35 visitors
hike along Beaver Run Trail will focus on         will have an opportunity to canoe
the birds of Eagle Creek. Two wildflower          along the Caesar Creek and before
walks (10 a.m. and noon) will feature             returning, take a short hike into
the varieties of spring blooms seen from          Caesar Creek State Nature Preserve.
on and off the preserve’s trails. The 10
                                                  For visitors who prefer their
a.m. walk will be longer and visitors are
                                                  adventures on land, a 2-mile hike
encouraged to bring water or a snack.
                                                  along the preserve’s Caesar Trace Trail
“The 10 a.m. hike will take visitors to           will highlight the best of the preserve’s
a rarely visited area on the southern             habitats. Hikes are scheduled for 10
side of the preserve,” said Emliss                a.m. and 2 p.m.
Ricks. “They’ll see acres of large-               Canoes will be provided on a first-come,        BIRDING ON THE COASTAL
flowered trilliums and other spectacular          first-serve basis for the 10 a.m. canoe         DUNES OF LAKE COUNTY
wildflowers.”                                     float session. Transportation will be           Headlands Dunes State Nature Preserve
All walks will start at the preserve’s parking    provided from the take-out point back
                                                  to the Shelter House where the trip             September 18, 8 a.m. – 3 p.m.
lot. Eagle Creek is located on Hopkins Road,
one mile south of Center Road in Nelson           begins. Personal flotation devices will be      As summer turns to autumn, Headlands Dunes
Township, which is located 2 miles east of        available, but participants weighing less       is a wonderful place to experience one of Ohio’s
Garrettsville. For more information, contact      than 90 pounds must bring their own. All        best coastal dunes communities. Whether your
(330) 527-5118.                                   participants will be required to sign release   interest is botanical or avian, there is plenty to
                                                  forms, and anyone under age 18 must by          see at this Lake Erie preserve. Many rare plants
                                                  accompanied by a parent or legal guardian
CELEBRATING GREAT LAKE                            to participate. The area is remote and
                                                                                                  grow on the sand dunes and a variety of shore
ESTUARIES IN ERIE COUNTY                          refreshments are not provided, so please        birds can be seen resting along the beach. Begin
                                                  plan accordingly.                               your visit with an 8 a.m. bird hike, or learn more
Old Woman Creek State Nature
                                                                                                  about coastal plants by joining one of two hikes
Preserve & National Estuarine                     Caesar Creek Gorge is located 3 miles           (11 a.m. or 1 p.m.) focusing on the unique
Research Research                                 north of Oregonia on Corwin Road on the
                                                                                                  vegetation of the dunes.
June 19, 9 a.m. – 4 p.m.                          east side of the Little Miami State Scenic
                                                  River. For more information, contact            Located west of Fairport Harbor on the north end of
Early summer is a beautiful time to visit         (513) 934-0751.                                 State Route 44 and extreme east end of Headlands
the shores of Lake Erie and this event is                                                         Beach State Park. Parking and restrooms are available
sure to please visitors of all ages. A full       A BLAZE OF PRAIRIE GLORY                        in the state park. For more information, contact
day of activities includes hourly tours of                                                        (440) 632-3010.
                                                  IN ADAMS COUNTY
the new environmentally friendly Visitor’s
Center, research exhibits, guided hikes           Chaparral Prairie                               LEAF PEEPING IN RICHLAND
through the various habitats of the               State Nature Preserve                           AND WAYNE COUNTIES
preserve and, if conditions permit, short         August 7, 10 a.m. – 3 p.m.
                                                                                                  Fowler Woods and Johnson Woods
canoe trips into the estuary.                     The prairies of Adams County are                State Nature Preserves
Old Woman Creek is located 3 miles east           near peak bloom in early August.
                                                                                                  October 16, 10 a.m. – 4 p.m.
of Huron on U.S. Route 6. For more                You won’t forget the bright hues of
information, contact (419) 433-4601.              all the prairie wildflowers on display          Fowler Woods and Johnson Woods will both be
                                                  at Chaparral Prairie and other Adams            hosting fall foliage events, giving you twice the
                                                  County sites. This open house-styled            opportunity to see the best in fall color. Guided,
                                                  event features summer wildflower                fall color hikes will begin at each site at 10 a.m.,
                                                  walks and prairie programming. If you           12 p.m. and 2 p.m. Choose the woods you
                                                  like what you see at Chaparral, staff           haven’t seen yet, or see both beautiful wooded
                                                  will be on-hand to direct you to other          preserves on the same day. Both preserves have
                                                  Adams County prairies.                          good accessibility for a range of visitors.
                                                  From West Union, travel north on State          Fowler Woods is located in Richland County, 6 miles
                                                  Route 247 for 1⁄4 mile. Turn left on            northwest of Olivesburg on Olivesburg-Fitchville Road,
                                                  Chaparral Road for about 2.5 miles. Turn        just south of its junction with Noble Road. For more
                                                  right on Hawk Hills Road; the preserve is on    information about Fowler Woods, contact
                                                  the left. For more information, contact         (419) 981-6319.
                                                  (937) 544-9750                                  Johnson Woods is located in Wayne County about 4
                                                                                                  miles north of Orrville on State Route 57, then travel
                                                                                                  one mile east on Fox Lake Road. Parking is available
                                                                                                  on the north side of Fox Lake Road. For more
                        Large-flowered                                                            information about Johnson Woods, contact
                        trillium at Eagle Creek                                                   (419) 433-4919.


                                                                              2
TNC LENDS PROFESSIONAL SUPPORT              database will tell you when the species      best information available, then it is a
continued from page 1                       was last observed and how many               good investment for the Conservancy to
                                            individuals were seen,” said Marleen         assist in this small way,” said Kromer.
“It’s very important to collaborate         Kromer, the Ohio Chapter’s inter-
with fellow botanists and ecologists        agency program development director.         Just as The Nature Conservancy helped
because we need to share information                                                     establish the program, the Ohio
on rare species and rare habitats,”         The information found in the division’s      Chapter is helping to keep the database
Gardner said.                               growing database allows developers           current. Gardner and Kromer have
                                            and businesses to comply with                been spending several hours each week
The botanist’s work is a little easier,     environmental laws when developing           at the division’s offices, helping to meet
however, thanks to the collaborative        projects. Local governments use the          staffing needs.
efforts of Gardner and other scientists     data to assist in land use planning and
who continue to maintain one of the         municipal agencies are guided by the         “The time that Rick and Marleen
most complete databases available for       Natural Heritage Database to better          have spent working with the Natural
rare plants and animals. While The          manage our public lands.                     Heritage Database has been invaluable,”
Nature Conservancy has been tracking                                                     said Nancy Strayer, acting chief for
species since its inception, it wasn’t      “The Heritage data is important to           the Division of Natural Areas and
until 1974 that the organization helped     many groups, including TNC, because          Preserves. “By being an active partner
to establish a state-by-state listing of    it provides essential information that is    in furthering the division’s mission, The
rare species in the U.S.                    used in developing our conservation          Nature Conservancy’s Ohio Chapter
                                            plans. It’s the basis for our actions. If    continues to help us make a difference
Since then, this database–known as          we can help ensure that it provides the      in Ohio.”
the Natural Heritage Program–has
grown to include a network of public
and private organizations whose goal

                                              Best Plant Finds of 2003
is to produce a single, comprehensive
catalogue of the status and locations
of rare species.

 Marleen Kromer
                                              With more than 1,800 native plants, Ohio is one of the most
                                              floristically diverse states in the Midwest. Ohio botanists continue to
                                              discover an average of two new species annually, and 2003 was no
                                              different. There were many significant endangered and threatened
                                              plant finds last year– more than we have room to print.
                                              Two species previously unrecorded           Minney, who also found it in Scioto
                                              in Ohio were both found in Clermont         County. Also, Phil Zito, recently
                                              County. Cincinnati botanist Dan Boone       retired from the division, found
                                              found both in an unusual acidic             coppery St. John’s wort (Hypericum
                                              wetland dominated by sphagnum               denticulatum) along with division
                                              moss and netted chain fern. Boone           botanist Jim McCormac.
                                              located twining screwstem (Bartonia
                                              paniculata), a tiny member of the           In neighboring Pike County, Boone
                                              gentian family. On a later visit,           relocated buffalo clover (Trifolium
                                              Boone found red chokeberry (Aronia          reflexum). The only modern record
                                              arbutifolia), a large and striking shrub    was from 1990.
                                              with bright red fruit.
                                                                                          It takes a sharp eye to locate the
Working with the Ohio Division of             Another great find, bigtree plum            tiny endangered Carolina leaf-
Natural Areas and Preserves, The              (Prunus mexicana), was found by The         flower (Phyllanthus caroliniensis),
Conservancy set up Ohio’s Nature              Nature Conservancy’s (TNC) botanists        but DNAP volunteer botanist Len
Heritage Database in 1976 and provided        Rick Gardner and Dave Minney, along         Mikles discovered the plant growing
the original staff for the program before     with Lawrence County botanist Judy          in a remote area of Shawnee State
turning it over to the division.              Dumke. The plants were found in             Forest in Scioto County, along with
                                              the Wayne National Forest and it was        volunteer Pat Deering and McCormac.
If you want to know, for example,                                                         Elsewhere in the forest, Shawnee State
                                              Lawrence County’s first record in 52
where in Ohio you’d most likely find a                                                    Park Manager Kevin Bradbury found
                                              years.
grass-pink orchid, or the rare Allegheny                                                  a small colony of the threatened
woodrat or if you’d like to know how          The southernmost region of Ohio             great rhododendron (Rhododendron
many bogs can be found in Portage             produced noteworthy finds. Jackson          maximum), which is only the second
County, you’d go to the Ohio Naturalal        County finds included Tennessee             county record. Another Scioto County
Heritage Database.                            pondweed (Potamogeton tennesseensis)        find, Virginia ground-cherry (Physalis
                                              by Minney and Gardner, and spotted          virginiana), was found by former
“You can search by county, by
                                              panic grass (Panicum yadkinense) by
topographical quad, by watershed. The                                                                           continues on page 6

                                                                3
 Preserve Spotlight




                                                                                                  Within Kiser Lake State
                                                                                                  Park are two distinct
                                                                                                  areas protected within
                                                                                                  the borders of Kiser Lake
                                                                                                  Wetlands State Nature
                                                                                                  Preserve in Champaign
                                                                                                  County. The history of
                                                                                                  the preserve lies in both
                                                                                                  natural and man-made
                                                                                                  forces–forces which
                                                                                                  shaped the landscape
                                                                                                  of today and left behind
                                                                                                  a variety of interesting
                                                                                                  plants, birds and habitats.
                                                                                                         Located in
                                                                                                         Johnson Township
                                                                                                         in Champaign
                                                                                                         County, within Kiser
                                                                                                         Lake State Park,

State Nature Preserve                                                                                   south of the camp-
                                                                                                      ground on Kiser Lake
                                                                                                   Road. Park at the Red
Visit a wet fen meadow in summer                                                                  Oak Trail parking lot.

The preserve is a remnant of a fen that    diverse habitats, such as prairie fen       and smooth gooseberry can be found
was formed after the last Ice Age, when    meadows, woods and marsh. The               growing in the preserve.
the retreating Wisconsinan glacier left    alkaline water percolating to the surface
depressions behind, which later filled     of the preserve’s fen comes from cold       Summer is a great time to visit and
with water to create a lake. As the lake   water springs and seeps. The water          view the vibrantly colored prairie
drained, the low areas still held water    temperature and the 3-foot layer of         and fen wildflowers. Some of Kiser
and were filled with decaying plant                                                    Lake Wetlands’ showiest blooms
                                           nutrient-rich, decaying plant matter, or
material. The original, natural lake was                                               include the fiery queen-of-the-prairie
                                           peat, supplies nutrients to plants not
blocked at one end by the Farmersville                                                 and the lovely small-fringed gentian.
                                           commonly seen in Ohio’s backyards.
moraine and at the other end by the                                                    Interesting preserve plants include
glacier which took a few centuries to      Kiser Lake Wetlands is actually two         shrubby cinquefoil, marsh marigold,
retreat northward. As that lake drained,   distinct areas. Fourteen acres are          grass of Parnassus, big bluestem, Ohio
it left more than 300 acres of peat,       located on the southern shoreline and       goldenrod and poison sumac.
which is now mostly covered by the         37 acres are in the headwater area at       Visitors may also see an assortment
waters of Kiser Lake.                      the southeast corner of Kiser Lake.         of wildlife including whitetail deer,
                                           Although the larger of the two areas is     turkey, owls, hawks and a variety of
In the 1800s, settlers created a lake      open to the public year round, the 14-      woodpeckers.
when a dam was built across Mosquito       acre area is only open to visitors with
Creek, which had flowed through the        access permits. The 37-acre headwater       Kiser Lake Wetlands State Nature
fen, known as Mosquito Lake Bog. As        parcel features a 2/3 mile trail which      Preserve features a boardwalk trail
the dam deteriorated, Mosquito Lake        is partially a boardwalk trail, keeping     in the Headwaters section. For more
emptied and once again revealed the        visitors’ feet dry as they traverse the     information, call (937) 663-4197 or visit
original bog. Later in 1940, Mosquito      wettest areas of the preserve.              our web site at www.ohiodnr.com/
Lake Bog was once again blanketed by                                                   dnap.
water when the dam for the present         Many of the preserve’s most interesting
lake was constructed.                      plant species were transported from                                            Herb Leen
                                                                                                     West District Preserve Manager
                                           the south with the retreat of the
Dedicated in 1975, the preserve’s 51       Wisconsinan glacier. Unique plants like
acres gives visitors a chance to see
                                           prairie sedge, beaked sedge, coolwort
                                                               4
Volunteers make a
difference at Caesar Creek
A group of dedicated high school students from Mason
donated their time and money to Caesar Creek Gorge
State Nature Preserve in Warren County. Working with
their high school advisor, Tim King, students helped the
division protect native plants by cutting invasive bush
honeysuckle. A special thanks to two students, Lyndsay
Tomandi and Kurt Phillips, who raised $300 for the
preserve. The division appreciates the efforts of all the
students who helped improve conditions for visitors at
Caesar Creek Gorge.
If you or a group are interested in donating
your time to a local state nature preserve or
scenic river program, please contact (614) 265-6453 or visit our web site at www.ohiodnr.com/dnap.

                                                                                                 Conkle’s Hollow
                                                                                                 To Close Temporarily
                                                                                                 Beginning June 7, Conkle’s Hollow State
                                                                                                 Nature Preserve in Hocking County will be
                                                                                                 closed to the public.
                                                                                                 Construction on a new footbridge, as well
                                                                                                 as upgrading the Lower Gorge Trail for better
                                                                                                 accessibility, is set to start in early July.
                                                                                                 The division hopes the preserve will
                                                                                                 reopen in November 2004.
                                                                                                 For construction updates, please call
                                                                                                 (740) 420-3445.


Make a splash in river preservation
Stream quality monitoring (SQM) is a fun and easy way to                           Free SQM training workshops are being held around the
help preserve Ohio’s state scenic rivers. The best part? It                        state–reserve your spot by contacting the SQM Coordinator
doesn’t take a lot of time or experience to learn SQM and                          near you.
what a great excuse to splash around in water!
NORTHWEST                                                          NORTHEAST                     CENTRAL OHIO                   SOUTHWEST
Ohio Scenic Rivers                                                 Ohio Scenic Rivers            Scenic Rivers                  Ohio Scenic Rivers
Contact Anne Coburn-Griffis       Paulding County                  Contact Billie Jaegers        Contact Michael Lee            Contact Bob Welch
(419) 981-6319                                                     (330) 527-2961                (614) 265-6453                 (513) 934-0751
                                  Sept. 25, 12:30 p.m.-1:45 p.m.
                                  Antwerp Village Park, meet       Little Beaver Creek           Big Darby Creek                (Workshops to be
Maumee State Scenic River                                                                                                       announced – please call
                                  at east park drive entrance.     State Scenic & Wild River     State Scenic River
  Lucas County                                                                                                                  for schedule.)
                                                                      Columbiana County             Franklin County
   May 8, 10 a.m. – 11:15 a.m.  Sandusky State Scenic River
   Farnsworth Metropark, meet                                     May 11, 5-7 p.m.                  May 20, 6-8 p.m.
                                  Sandusky County                 Gaston Mill, Beaver               June 13, 11 a.m.-1 p.m.
   in Roche de Bouf parking lot
                                  June 5, 12-1 p.m.               Creek State Park.                 June 24, 7-9 p.m.
   near main shelter house.                                                                         July 15, 7-9 p.m.
                                  August 14, 11:00 a.m.-12 p.m.
   June 12, 10 a.m.–11:15 a.m.    Wolf Creek Park, meet in      Grand State Scenic River            Battelle-Darby Metropark,
   Providence Metropark, meet     canoe launch parking lot        Lake County                       meet at Indian Ridge
   in main parking lot near main (second entrance to park                                           bulletin board.
                                                                  May 13, 5-7 p.m.
   shelter house beside dam.      from State Route 53 South).
                                                                  Hidden Valley                  Olentangy State Scenic River
                                  Wyandot County                  Metropark, picnic area.
   Wood County                                                                                      Delaware County
   July 10, 10 a.m.-11:15 a.m.    June 5, 10-11 a.m.                                                May 19, 6-8 p.m.
                                  October 2, 2-3:15 p.m.         Upper Cuyahoga
   September 25, 10 a.m.-11:                                     State Scenic River                 June 12, 11 a.m.-1 p.m.
   15 a.m.                        Indian Mill, park and meet                                        June 23, 7-9 p.m.
                                  in fishing access lot adjacent    Portage County
   Weir Rapids Fishing Access,                                                                      July 14, 7-9 p.m.
   meet in parking lot beside     to main rapids.                   May 19, 5-7 p.m.                Highbanks Metro Park,
   main river rapid.                                                Mantua Village Park.            meet at streamside
                                                                                                    study area.
                                                                               5
BEST PLANT FINDS OF 2003                   History botanist. Two Geauga County         authorities on lichens is Ray Showman,
continued from page 3                      finds included the triangle grape fern      a biologist for American Electric Power.
                      Wayne National       (Botrychium lanceolatum) and the            With his input, the division lists 16
  twining screwstem                                                                    species of extremely rare Ohio lichens.
                      Forest botanist      endangered swamp red currant (Ribes
                      Erin Larson and      triste).                                    Last year, Showman found yet another
                      Dumke. Since                                                     state record, the horny beard lichen
                                           Not content to remain in northeast          (Usnea subscabrosa). It often grows on
                      it was added
                                           Ohio, Bissell waded into the wetlands       sandstone cliff faces, which is where
                      to Ohio’s list in
                                           of Magee Marsh State Wildlife Area in       Showman found it in Jackson County.
                      1996, only a few
                                           Ottawa County and found our rarest
                      sites have been                                                  Barbara Lund, a naturalist from Adams
                                           water lily, the endangered bullhead-
                      found in Adams                                                   County, made an amazing discovery–
                                           lily (Nuphar variegata). This is the
                      County.                                                          she found the first state record of Lea’s
                                           first record in the western Lake Erie
                      In Lawrence          marshes in 33 years.                        shadow lichen (Phaeophyscia leana)
                      County, Dumke                                                    in her home county. This lichen is
                                           Back in northeast Ohio, Portage Parks’      globally rare, with only a few scattered
                      and Gardner
                                           Brad Stemen found the endangered            locales in Illinois, Indiana, Kentucky
                      found the rare
                                           fireweed (Epilobium angustifolium) in       and Tennessee.
                      Sampson’s
                                           Portage County. This is only the third
                      snakeroot                                                        Also in Adams County, Mark Zloba, a
                                           Ohio county where it has been found
                      (Gentiana                                                        fantastic lichenologist and employee
                                           in recent decades.
                      villosa). This                                                   of the Cincinnati Museum Center also
                      endangered,          At Irwin Prairie State Nature Preserve      found a first state record–southern
                      beautiful            division staff have been waging war         soldiers (Cladonia didyma). This
                      gentian may          against the invasive glossy buckthorn,      ground-dwelling species bears
                      be overlooked        which threatens to take over the            red-capped fruiting bodies and is
because it blooms late–sometimes into      rare twig-rush dominated wet sedge          reminiscent of the common lichen
November. Another Lawrence County          meadows. It was exciting when DNAP’s        known as British soldiers (Cladonia
find was made by Jarel Hilton, a TNC       Greg Schneider found the endangered         cristatella).
botanist who found the threatened          narrow-headed panic grass (Panicum
yellowish gentian (Gentiana alba).         spretum) and Canada St. John’s-wort         The Ohio Division of Natural Areas
                                           (Hypericum canadense) in newly              and Preserves depends heavily on the
It is especially encouraging when finds                                                contributions of botanists from around
                                           cleared areas. The panic grass had only
are made on privately owned land.                                                      the state to keep the Ohio Natural
                                           been found in one small area of Lucas
More rare plants have been found on                                                    Heritage Database current. Thanks to
                                           County.
an Adams County prairie owned by                                                       all the botanists and naturalists who
John Howard than any other similarly-      Schneider and other division staff also     contributed to another successful
sized prairie in the county. Two more      found the potentially threatened rock       botanical year.
finds can be added from Howard’s           harlequin (Corydalis sempervirens) in                                    Jim McCormac
prairie, the threatened narrow-leaved      the same area. This gorgeous relative of                                       Botanist
pinweed (Lechea tenuifolia) and three-     Dutchman’s-breeches hasn’t been seen
flowered melic (Melica nitens).            in Lucas County since 1929.
Narrow-leaved pinweed was also             Also in Lucas County, MetroParks of           Old Woman Creek’s
spotted by Gardner and Debbie and
Gary McFadden at the Buzzard’s Roost
                                           the Toledo Area has been innovative
                                           in restoring and managing rare Oak
                                                                                         first manager retires
Preserve in Ross County.                   Openings ecosystems. Volunteer                                         You could say
                                           botanist Ruta Kurta located a new site                                 that Old Woman
Kudos to botanists who know their
                                           for our rarest gentian, the endangered                                 Creek and Gene
sedges. Gardner, Boone and another
                                           prairie gentian (Gentiana puberulenta).                                Wright grew
Cincinnati-area botanist, Marjie Becus,
                                           This is only the third known site. Two                                 up together,
found the endangered false hop sedge
                                           other park volunteers found rarities                                   professionally
(Carex lupuliformis) at Culberson
                                           as well: Kim High documented the                                       speaking at least.
Woods State Nature Preserve in Clinton
                                           endangered old-field toadflax (Linaria
County.                                                                                                          After more than
                                           canadensis) and Chris Free found a
                                                                                                                 25 years, Gene
Moving north, Bob Harter found the         population of the potentially threatened
                                                                                                                 Wright is leaving
showy, purple-flowered Gattinger’s         Virginia meadow-beauty (Rhexia
                                                                                                                 a program he
foxglove (Agalinis gattingeri) along the   virginica). All three finds occurred on
                                                                                         managed since its creation–Old Woman
crests of shale cliffs overlooking Alum    sites where the park district has been
                                                                                         Creek State Nature Preserve and National
Creek Reservoir in Delaware County.        restoring degraded plant communities,
                                                                                         Estuarine Research Reserve.
                                           particularly by using controlled burning.
The northeastern corner of the state
                                                                                         After spending eight years as an
consistently produces great finds, in      Often good barometers of air quality,
                                                                                         engineering draftsman, Wright returned
no small part because of Jim Bissell, a    the status of Ohio’s lichens is important
                                                                                         to college to study for a career
talented Cleveland Museum of Natural       to the division. One of Ohio’s leading

                                                                 6
   Islands in the Sky
   Between the city of Lancaster, in Fairfield County, and the abrupt rise marking the edge of the Appalachian Plateau
   southwest of the city, stands the Knobs. In the far West, these flat-topped outliers of the plateau would be called
   buttes. Here in the East, they have a solid covering of trees which softens their outlines, so the early settlers called
   them “knobs”– Beck’s Knob, Allen’s Knob, Claypool Knob, Ruble Knob.
   The tops of the higher knobs rise          found seem barely able to grow               knobs, but was not able to overtop
   250 feet above the surrounding fields      beyond the sapling stage. The dominant       them. When the ice retreated, it left
   and give fine views south into the         tree on top is chestnut oak (Quercus         behind a thick layer of till over the
   Hocking Hills and north across the         montana), and even it seems to survive       flatlands and lower slopes of the
   lowland plain of central Ohio. To the      mainly on determination. The larger          knobs. It is this till which forms the
   observant climber, however, there          trees appear to split their strength,        rich soil supporting the diverse mixe
   is something even more fascinating         growing two or three trunks of               mesophytic forests. The unglaciated
   here than the view. There is a marked      mediocre size from a common point, as        knob tops rising above the till offer
   difference between the forest at the       though they were afraid to put all their     sanctuary for the dry oak forest of
   base of the knobs and the one which        effort into one main stem which might        the south–in effect forming islands of
   grows on their tops. There are few         not survive. Thickets of mountain laurel     Appalachian habitat in the sky.
   other places in the state where the        crowd around them, but the growth of
                                                                                           Two of Fairfield County’s knobs–Allen
   contrast between two forests is so         blueberry and fern on the open areas
                                                                                           and Ruble–are now protected within
   strikingly evident.                        of the forest floor is noticeably thin.
                                                                                           Shallenberger State Nature Preserve.
   The lowland forest is a rich mix of        What we have here on the knob tops           Trails lead through the rich woodland
   various oaks, maples, beech, cherry,       is an outlier of the forest association      at their feet and up the 80-foot wall of
   walnut, hickory, ash and elm–an            found in the hills farther south. The        caprock to their tops, giving fine views
   association called “mixed mesophytic”      Black Hand sandstone capping the             of the contrasting forest communities
   by foresters. Where they have not          knobs creates a thin, well-drained, dry      and the surrounding terrain.
   been logged, the trees are of an           and acidic soil. Only plants especially
                                                                                           Shallenberger State Nature Preserve
   impressive size. In the spring, the        adapted to these harsh conditions can
                                                                                           is located on Beck’s Knob Road, just
   ground at their feet is carpeted with a    survive.
                                                                                           north of U.S. Route 22 southwest of
   luxuriant growth of wildflowers.
                                              The base of the knobs, on the other          Lancaster. The preserve is open daily,
   On top of the knobs, the forest            hand, felt the touch of the glaciers.        from sunrise to sunset.
   appears poor and straggly. Lowland         Here the ice was brought to a grinding                                          Tim Snyder
   tree types are sparsely represented,       halt against the Appalachian Plateau.               West Central District Preserve Manager
   and the few scattered individuals          It sent probing fingers between the



that might allow him to help the             As the federal-statae program evolved, so     Wright is proud of Old Woman
environment.                                 did Wright’s job. In the early ‘90s, Wright   Creek’s recent sustainable building
                                             was promoted to program administrator.        renovations, completed in 2003.
Wright became Old Woman Creek’s              During Wright’s tenure, Old Woman             But Wright said it is the preserve’s
first preserve manager just as the           Creek became a nationally renowned            international partnership with Belize
Division of Natural Areas and Preserves      estuarine research reserve facility. In       that has been most personally
was establishing a new federal-state         addition, Wright and his staff provided       satisfying. Partnership opportunities
estuarine program there. Working             guidance for more than 100 scientific         have brought new friends and
with the preserve’s other first hire, Dr.    and monitoring projects, and coordinated      colleagues.
David Klarer who headed up research,         numerous training programs about
Wright spent his first few years building    wetlands and coastal management issues.       “I’ve loved working with all the
bridges with local folks.                                                                  different agencies and individuals
                                             Wright described himself as a facilitator     involved in the partnership–the
As preserve manager, Wright also             and troubleshooter. He credits his team       students, their teachers and all the
managed other sites, including Sheldon       members, as well as other staff along the     universities,” said Wright.
Marsh and Erie Sand Barrens. He              way, for all the successes at Old Woman
helped the division acquire Augusta-         Creek.                                        Wright, who retired in January,
Anne Olsen (formerly named Vermilion)                                                      resides in Huron with his wife
State Nature Preserve. He also hired         “I never did anything alone… Linda,           Sandy. He is looking forward to
Linda Feix, who after volunteering,          David, Gary (Obermiller), John                traveling and already has plans to
transitioned into a full-time education      (McFadden) and others… they are the           visit Arizona and Alaska this year.
coordinator in the early 1980s.              people who got the job done,” said
                                             Wright.

                                                                    7
Cranberry Bog
Open House Lottery
Saturday, June 26 • 8 a.m. to 4 p.m.
Have you ever stepped on a floating island of sphagnum
moss? Enter the Cranberry Bog
Open House Lottery for your                                To enter the Open House Lottery,
chance to see one of Ohio’s                                please submit a post card (one
                                                           per family) to:
most unique places.
                                                              Division of Natural Areas and
Cranberry Bog State Nature Preserve
                                                              Preserves, 1889 Fountain Square
is located in Licking County, about
                                                              Court, F-1, Columbus, OH 43224.
30 miles east of Columbus. With the
exception of the annual Open House,                        Only postcards will be accepted and
visitation to Cranberry Bog is limited to                  they must be postmarked between
permit access only. Once 50 acres, the                     May 1-31. Cards postmarked earlier
island has eroded to less than 11 acres.                   or later will not be accepted.            pitcher plant

Located off the north shore of                             Please print the following:
Buckeye Lake, the island contains                                                                   Successful lottery participants will be
unusual northern bog species including                       Contact name                           notified by mail in early June. Tours
grass-pink orchid, large cranberry and                       Street Address                         will be filled in the order of the cards
pitcher plant.                                               City, State, Zip                       drawn. In the event of cancellations,
                                                             Daytime phone number                   walk-ins will be accepted at the Open
Transportation to and from the island                                                               House.
is available, courtesy of the Greater                    Total in your party (not to exceed
Buckeye Lake Historical Society, for a                   4 unless the number of immediate           For more information, please contact
donation of $5 per person.                               family members is greater)                 (614) 265-6453.


     PRESERVING NATURE TODAY FOR THE NEEDS OF TOMORROW                                              This newsletter is a free public service made
                     The Division of Natural Areas and Preserves’ Mission Statement
          Administer a system of nature preserves and scenic rivers by identifying and protecting   possible through your contributions to the Ohio Natural
                                    Ohio’s significant natural features.                            Areas Income Tax Checkoff Program. If you are receiving
                                             Vision Statement                                       duplicate newsletters, please contact (614) 265-6453.
                          Leading Ohio in the stewardship of its natural heritage.

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                 Ohio Department of Natural Resources                                                                                      Prsrt Std
                 Division of Natural Areas and Preserves                                                                                 U.S. Postage
                 1889 Fountain Square, Bldg. F-1                                                                                             PAID
                 Columbus, Ohio 43224-1388                                                                                              Columbus, OH
                 (614) 265-6453                                                                                                         Permit No. 537
                 Bob Taft, Governor
                 Sam Speck, Director
                 Nancy Strayer, Acting Chief

                 An Equal Opportunity Employer--M/F/H




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