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School of Environment and Natural Resources


EPN Summer Field Trip Series: If you listen carefully…It Sounds Like Love

Image highlighting echinacea flowers, echinacea seeds, and artwork created by Cadine Navarro with a background image of a prairie.

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Program Overview

In the beginning was the seed, and the seed made sound, and if you were to listen carefully you might say that it sounds like love...” Cadine Navarro.

In collaboration with The Frank Museum of Art at Otterbein University, this EPN program is a celebration of beauty in the sounds of nine Ohio prairie seeds: Wild Bergamot, Big Blue Stem, Echinacea, Little Blue Stem, Dogbane, Switch Grass, Milkweed, and Black-eyed Susan, and the steps we can take as a bioregional community to help them thrive again1.

For centuries these grasses were foundational to the glaciated prairie ecosystems of north central Ohio and scattered throughout the present-day United States Midwest. Requiring a unique combination climate conditions, soils, and Native American land management.

In recent decades, these seeds were ploughed under, shuffled aside, and silenced through land use conversion in agriculture and infrastructural development, and increasingly through competition with nonnative species. Southern Delaware County and northern Franklin County sit at the center of one of the fastest growing human communities in the United States. While these prairie seeds have remained resilient in the regional soils, stabilizing on the edges of farm fields and the remaining forest systems when able, the opportunities that humans create for these seeds to regenerate themselves is increasingly limited. In the past thirty years Delaware County’s population alone has grown by more over 220%2 and with it a growing conversion of green fields into permanent impervious surface cover – cementing a fixed ceiling over the native prairie seeds below.

In our human-centric lives it can be easy to miss or ignore the vibrational voices of Wild Bergamot, Big Blue Stem, Echinacea, Little Blue Stem, Dogbane, Switch Grass, Milkweed, and Black-eyed Susan seeds in our environment, but they are there. Artist Cadine Navarro will show participants that the seeds still speak. This morning event will guide and immerse participants through series of indoor and outdoor spaces and places showcasing the beauty of native, Ohio prairie ecosystems. Navarro’s artistic feature It Sounds like Love will evoke meaning, place-making and action for greenspace storytelling and conversation on these nine native grasses inside Otterbein University’s Frank Museum of Art, Westerville, OH. Through experiential learning locations such as the Alum Creek Multi-Use Trail, The Point at Otterbein, and Sharon Woods Metro Park, regional environmental scientists, and naturalists, including Jenny Adkins, will address the potential for restoring these grasses to the ecosystems and natural areas, including prairie habitats, that were once native to the northern Franklin County, southern Delaware County, and the broader Alum Creek Watershed area. Terry Hermsen and other local leaders will draw connections between the arts, the sciences, and highlight the many regional partnerships and strategies underway to restore native prairie and other habitats in the north central Ohio. This includes a focus on the Regional Ohio Action for Resilience, which brings together community groups, concerned citizens, religious leaders, social justice leaders, non-profits, businesses, educational institutions, and governmental entities to collaboratively create a more resilient region…planting the seeds of change and watching them grow.

1FLOW, “Prairies, Naturalized Areas, and Pollinator Patches.” Read here.

2Columbus Business First, “Delaware County ranks among America's fastest-growing exurbs.” Tristan Navera. Columbus Business First. Jan 14, 2021. Read here.


7:45 a.m. Doors open at The Point at Otterbein.

8:00 a.m. Coffee and breakfast, provided by the Glass Rooster Cannery, is served.

8:20 a.m. Jeff Sharp, Ph.D., director, Ohio State’s School of Environment and Natural Resources, provides welcome remarks and logistical overview.

8:30 a.m. Group-based immersive tour of It Sounds like Love with Cadine Navarro and Dr. Terry Hermsen.

9:30 a.m. Group-based walking tour of Otterbein Lake and the Alum Creek Multi-Use Trail with Jenny Adkins, and other regional environmental scientists and naturalists.

10:30 a.m. Snacks served, and professional presentation on native grass and ecosystem restoration and preservation strategies in the northern Franklin County, southern Delaware County, and the broader Alum Creek Watershed area.

11:00 a.m. Option available for an extended, optional networking session.


Cadine Navarro

Cadine Navarro, MFA, MLA Harvard Graduate School of Design

While life experiences in seven countries, three continents and fifty-five homes is a resource for Cadine, her first home in Japan and her involvement in Japanese culture, provides the through-line to all of her projects. The core of her work questions the ways we continually adapt and re-define ourselves within the perpetual present. Exploring the language and form that embody modern boundary practices, Navarro often uses her own story as a platform for collaborative work. Recently, ecological transformations have become a driving force in her artistic practice. Cadine was born in Kobe, Japan, is French-American and based in Paris, France. Cadine is currently enrolled in the Harvard Graduate School of Design and was a 2015-17 HISK Laureate (Belgium). Cadine earned her MFA at Goldsmiths University, London (UK) and BFA at Rietveld Akademie (Netherlands). She earned a GradCert at the New York Academy of Art, and earned a BA in Art History, French, Japanese, Sussex University (UK).

Jenny Adkins

Jenny Adkins, Jenny Adkins, Professional Wetland Scientist and Lead Botanist, MAD Scientist Associates

Jenny Adkins is a Professional Wetland Scientist and Lead Botanist at MAD Scientist Associates, an ecological and wetland consulting firm in Westerville. She comes from Miami County, where she got her start in natural resources at the Miami County Park District and Five Rivers MetroParks. She has a BS in Biology and a Masters of Education from Wright State University.

Terry Hermsen

Terry Hermsen, PhD. Professor of English Emeritus, Otterbein University  

Dr. Terry Hermsen, teaches English, Creative Writing and Environmental Literature at Otterbein University in Westerville, Ohio. Dr. Hermsen was recognized as the Ohio Poet of the Year (2009), and taught in the Writers in the Schools program for the Ohio Arts Council from 1979 – 2003. He has published four books of poems, including The River’s Daughter, which was co-recipient of the Ohio Poet of the Year Award in 2009. In 2011 and 2012, he was co-director for a teacher workshop in Cuyahoga Valley National Park called “Reading the Earth: The Language of Nature”. He holds an MFA in Poetry from Goddard College and a PhD from Ohio State in Art Education. 

Headshot of EPN June program speaker, Marci Lininger

Marci Lininger, Environmental Coordinator, Ohio Department of Transportation, and Director, Ohio Pollinator Habitat Initiative

Marci Lininger is a graduate of the Masters of Environment and Natural Resources program at the Ohio State University. Marci serves as the Director for the Ohio Pollinator Habitat Initiative, which is a statewide network of partners who work to increase pollinator awareness and hands-on habitat creation throughout the State of Ohio. Marci also sits on the board for the Ohio Wildlife Management Association. She currently works full time for the Ohio Department of Transportation as the District 6 Environmental Coordinator. Marci has worked in the field of wildlife for several years having experience in research, endangered species, transportation ecology and landscape habitat restoration. In addition, she has studied the use and implementation of wildlife crossings in the State of Ohio including the use of strategic roadside habitats that enhance use and crossing capabilities. In addition to her regular duties, Marci is also a college instructor educating students in the fields of environmental science, ecology and transportation ecology research. 

Addtional Information

This event’s menu features french toast casserole (served with butter, maple syrup, chocolate syrup, strawberry syrup) and sweet rolls and muffins (served with butter and jam). Egg and vegetable strata, and seasonal fruit will also be provided. Coffee, hot tea, orange juice, and water will be served. There will be plates, cups, woodware, and napkins. 

We strive to host events that are inclusive and accessible to everyone. If you have a disability and require accommodations to fully participate in this activity, please reach out to Cecil Okotah ( Requests made five business days in advance will generally allow us to provide seamless access. However, we will make every effort to meet requests made after this time frame. You will be contacted by someone from our staff to discuss your specific needs. 

Masks are optional for all event attendees at this event, in accordance with Ohio State’s Safe and Healthy Protocols as of this date. In-person attendees will be expected to follow Ohio State protocols regarding the prevention of COVID-19 transmission. More health and safety information available on this Personal Safety Practices page

This program may not be recorded. Further details will be provided on livestream opportunities, if available, at a later date.