Guest Instructor: Chris Bedel, Preserve Director, Edge of Appalachia Preserve System, Cincinnati Museum Center
Freshwater mussels are one of the most imperiled groups of animals on our planet. They have complex and fascinating life histories and are important indicators of water quality. They have even played major roles throughout history in the fashion industry. Ohio Brush Creek has been home to over 40 different species of mussels making it a prime place to study these amazing animals. This workshop will focus on the life cycle of freshwater mussels and include a field trip to Ohio Brush Creek to view mussel shells and practice ID skills learned in the classroom. Participants will also learn about current threats to the remaining species of mussels through hands-on activities.
Wonderful World of Lichens – Thursday, October 7, 2021
Found in all habitats and on all seven continents of the planet, including Antarctica, lichens are an overlooked yet integral component of the world’s ecosystems. As a part of many different systems and cycles including food webs and the nitrogen cycle, lichens role as an organism cannot be touted enough. Lichens are also important indicators of environmental health and have been used to monitor air pollution. Finally, cultural connections to lichens from around the world make for an interesting study on how humans are influenced by the natural world.
The Science of Animal Tracks and Signs – Thursday, November 18, 2021
Join us for an exciting day of learning about the tracks and signs of Ohio mammals with track expert, Joe Brehm. This workshop will give you the tools to distinguish wild and domestic dog species, bobcat, otter, mink, skunk and other local animals. Indoor prep and outdoor practice identifying tracks will help you hone your skills. Later, apply your knowledge while engaging in activities geared towards assessing what you know and things to do with your students. Recommended field guide: Mammal Tracks and Sign by Mark Elbroch.
Ohio Bats – Thursday, March 17, 2022
Consumers of insects, pollinators of plants, dispersers of seeds and the only mammal that can fly! Who is it? Bats of course! Bats have many interesting adaptations and fill a wide variety of ecological niches making them captivating animals to learn about. This workshop will be filled with great information, plenty of field time, hands on activities, and participants will get to meet a live education bat. In addition, Katrina Schultes, one of the best bat experts in Ohio, will fill us in on all the latest bat related science news. In the field, she will also help us identify habitats and foraging areas used by Ohio bats.
Spring Wildflowers – Thursday April 21, 2022
Experience the rush of spring bursting to life in this exciting hands-on workshop. Learn how to identify our common spring wildflowers, find out who pollinates them, and how their seeds are transported through the forest. Investigate the effects of non-native invasive species and discover some great citizen science projects that teachers and students can participate in. Plenty of hands-on activities and field time will satisfy the need for fresh air and nature after a long winter.
Soil Health and Conservation in Agriculture – Thursday, May 5, 2022
Healthy soils are crucial for feeding the world yet most of us know very little about what is underneath our feet. Get your hands dirty while learning about soil, its horizons, properties and features. Understand what it takes to keep soil healthy, and discover how the history of soil conservation has changed over time. Finally, explore a working farm which employs a variety of conservation practices including rotational grazing.