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School of Environment and Natural Resources


Conference to focus on protecting, restoring, and interpreting Ohio’s unique natural areas

May. 14, 2018
Emergent Tower - Photo Credit: Pat Biliter

Ohio Certified Volunteer Naturalists (OCVNs) and the general public are invited to attend the June 8-9 conference on protecting, restoring, and interpreting Ohio’s unique natural areas. Hosting the conference is a great way for our OCVNs to meet their continuing education requirement, to network with other volunteer naturalists and environmental professionals, learn about OCVN volunteer service and see some of Ohio’s unique natural areas, says Anne Baird, program director for the OCVN program with Ohio State University Extension, the outreach arm of the College of Food, Agricultural, and Environmental Sciences (CFAES) at The Ohio State University.  

Field Trips, June 8

Beginning the afternoon of June 8, conference attendees will have the opportunity to select from two field trip options, one that explores Stebbins Gulch, a National Natural Landmark at the Holden Arboretum, or tour Lake Erie Bluffs, one of the of the few remaining natural lakefront habitats on Lake Erie. The Holden Arboretum will host a barbecue after the field trips. Field trip capacity is limited so register early, Baird said.

Conference features two keynotes on wildlife

Harvey Webster, director of wildlife resources at the Cleveland Museum of Natural History will kick off the conference on Saturday, June 9 at the Lake County Environmental Learning Center, with one of two keynote presentations featured at the event, “Wildlife at the Edge.”  In the afternoon, Gabe Karns, visiting assistant professor, School of Environment and Natural Resources, The Ohio State University will present, “Helping Wildlife Get the Edge.” 

“Both keynotes will address the maintenance of healthy wildlife populations—through a variety of approaches including habitat management strategies and wildlife education and interpretation,” Baird said. “Our OCVNs will be inspired to ask some big questions such as what does it mean to be a naturalist and why is the term 'natural history' often misunderstood by modern audiences, especially young people and how do we change those misconceptions?  They”ll also be learning about research on managing habitat edges and transitional areas.”

Sessions to expand knowledge and skills of natural area stewardship

Conference attendees can select from three breakout sessions depending on their interests, with sessions offered on:

  • Earthworms Above and Below Ground—Earthworms have brought gradual but enormous changes to soil structure, soil chemistry and soil life, impacting not only relationships among the organisms both below and above the ground but also the atmosphere.  Earthworm identification will be part of the session.
  • Waving the Green Flag in Fighting Phragmites—Mentor Marsh’s sheer size makes it a treasure on Ohio’s Lake Erie coast event with its invasion of Phragmites. Learn how Mentor Marsh has changed over the years and how recent restoration efforts, hard work, and many partnerships have led to both increases in biodiversity and community engagement. 

Registration for the field trips and conference can be done online at



Anne Baird
Program Director, Ohio Certified Volunteer Naturalists