Wednesday, December 30, 2015

Bringing The Best to The Edge

With the start of 2016 just days away it seems appropriate to take a minute to reflect on 2015. One of the highlights of this past season was having world class researchers visit the preserve to instruct the museum's Advanced Naturalist Workshop Series #11. Bringing the best teachers to The Edge has been a yearly affair now for 11 years and we're very proud and thankful to be able to bring this caliber of education to southern Ohio.  Here was the lineup with some pics and a bit of info:

April 24-26, 2015
Crustose Lichens
Dr. James Lendemer, Post-Doctoral Researcher, New York Botanical Garden

Dr. Lendemer is one of but a handful of professional lichenologists working in the United States. His voluminous knowledge of all things lichen is awe inspiring and humbling. His casual demeanor belies his world authority status and his ocean-deep knowledge of lichens. After spending the weekend with James I can only say that he is pure genius. He had an eager audience for the workshop with everyone-who-is-anyone doing work on lichens in Ohio attending the workshop. Ray Showman, co-author of The Macrolichens of Ohio attended along with founding members of The Ohio Moss & Lichen Association, folks from the USDA Forest Service and beyond. A great group that managed to produce the most inclusive voucher collection of crustose lichens for the preserve to date. A few interesting highlight species found were Xyleborus sporodochifer which was recently described from The Ozarks and the Dolly Parton lichen  Japewiella dollypartoniana. Recently named by Dr. Lendemer to honor Dolly Parton's work to conserve the Appalachians.

Dr. Lendemer (right) viewing crustose lichens on a tree

Dr. Lendemer (left) with students looking for Zyleborus sporodochifer.

Saturday, June 20, 2015
Ohio’s Rubus
Dr. Mark Widrlechner, Iowa State University

Mark Widrlechner is the undisputed King of Rubus. He is one of the few people in the United States considered an expert in this difficult genus. For those unaware, the Rubus genus includes the blackberries, raspberries and dewberries, to name a few. It is a difficult group to identify specimens to species with much work still to be done with genetics and subsequent taxonomy. Dr. Widrlechner took us through the finer points of identifying this group and the participants prepared voucher specimens that are now housed in the museum's herbarium at The Edge.

A specimen produced at the workshop and now in the preserve's herbarium.

June 26-28, 2015
Bobcats & The Art of Remote Monitoring
Dr. Suzie Prange, Wildlife Research Biologist, ODNR Division of Wildlife
Tim Prange, Environmental Educator, Rural Action
Eric Householder, Wildlife Technician, USDA, APHIS Wildlife Services
Laura & David Hughes, avid remote monitoring practitioners

This workshop marked the first attempt to document the presence of bobcats on the preserve with remote cameras. The instructor team was a powerhouse of the best in their fields at working with these elusive cats. The team was led by Dr. Susie Prange who has been doing groundbreaking work on bobcats in Ohio. The team's efforts paid off with simply amazing videos of bobcats that were captured not a hundred yards from our education center. Several videos were taken at sites frequented by endangered Allegheny woodrats begging the question whether or not bobcats are actively hunting these rare rodents? A special thanks goes out to Laura and David Hughes who not only taught at the workshop but set many of the camera traps that captured the most amazing bobcat footage. Their innate sense of where animals frequent coupled with their penchant for detail and artistic flair made all the difference in the film that was captured. A sample of what they can do:

Video from Laura & David Hughes

July 24-26, 2015
Bumble Bees & Pollination Ecology
Mike Arduser, Retired Biologist, Missouri Department of Conservation

Five species of living bumble bee were identified during the workshop with the balance of Ohio bumble bee species identified through collections brought by Mike Arduser. Mike is a recently retired conservation biologist with a deep background in bee work. His bee work with The Nature Conservancy and other organizations is well respected. Would you like to learn more from this incredible instructor? Don't miss the Bees of the Midwest identification workshop taught by Mike Arduser at The Edge March 14-18,2016. Here's the link to register.

Mike Arduser (left) catching bumble bees with net in Lynx Prairie

Male Bombus impatiens with swamp milkweed pollinia (orange) attached to its feet.

September 18-20, 2015
Dr. R. Edward Dewalt, Aquatic Entomologist, Illinois Natural History Survey
Dr. Scott A. Grubbs, Associate Professor, Western Kentucky University

Two of the greatest minds working on Plecoptera visited The Edge this summer to offer the most comprehensive stonefly identification workshop ever to be held in Ohio. Dr. Grubbs and DeWalt are leading scientists in researching stonefly distribution, both past and present, and what impacts global warming may have on these cold water loving specialists. Participants identified stonefly specimens from around the country that Ed and Scott brought along and some participants brought their own material to resolve long-nagging difficult identifications. Many stream biologists attended, including folks from the U.S. and Ohio EPAs, OSU and others to take part is this special training session.
Dr. Scott Grubbs teaching at the screen with Dr. Ed DeWalt co-instructing from the chair.

October 9-11, 2015
Land Snails
Dan Dourson, Senior Wildlife Biologist, Copperhead Consulting

Dan and Judy Dourson would certainly win the Friends of Mollusks Lifetime Achievement Award if there were such an award. Their dedication to land snail and slug conservation is laudatory and their efforts to teach others how to identify these animals is without bounds. We were fortunate to have them visit the preserve this past fall with 10 lucky workshop participants. See Mark Zloba's post on slugs for Dan's contact and to purchase his fantastic books on land snail identification/ecology of surrounding states that are very applicable to Ohio.

Adult land snails on a penny for size reference.

Dan Dourson teaching the finer points of slug identification..

Posted by; Chris Bedel