Friday, November 25, 2016

#Opt Outside on Black Friday

Does nature speak to you?  It has plenty to say, if only we'll take time to listen: Relax. Reduce your stress levels.  Improve your health.  Breath easier.  

Spend time on a nature trail today.  I guarantee shopping in Black Friday crowds will provide none of those health benefits to you.

White Cedar tree trunk at an Adams County State Nature Preserve
Go outside and breathe deeply.  Find a path awash in fall beauty.  Ohio's countless State Parks and State Nature Preserves are calling to you.  Or find your oasis in a locally funded county park or land trust preserve.  

The Lyons Falls at Mohican State Park attract hikers from around the world.
When friends and family visit our house, my first instinct is to take them some place "wild".  Let's get back to nature and opt out of shopping on Black Friday.  Go take a hike instead!

For more information, follow these links to Trust for Public Land and REI- the retailer who has closed their doors today to get you OUTDOORS!

Trust for Public Land -  Protect our lands

#OptOutside with REI on Black Friday -

I hope you'll join my friends and me  as we improve our health and release happy thoughts and
good vibrations into the natural world.  While you are at it, hug a tree!

Kick your endorphins up a notch- #OptOutside !

Wednesday, November 9, 2016

Scenes from a Covered Bridge

Let us ponder on lovely and peaceable things.  My best advice is to go forth into nature, breath deep and re-set your inner compass. The Stoics offer some wisdom for times of unrest.  Go within your heart and mind.  Immerse yourself in good thoughts and mental images. 

You have power over your mind - not outside events. 
Realize this, and you will find strength. 
                                                        Marcus Aurelius

A fall photo from the covered bridge within the Mohican State Park and Forest reminds me to simply be. Today will continue as tomorrow and this river will flow.  Know that good exists in the world.  We only need to look within ourselves for love and kindness. 

Mohican Covered Bridge  
Click here for map

Offering you peace like a river...

Friday, November 4, 2016

Thursday, September 1, 2016

More Meadowbrook

 It is no secret, one of my favorite places in Marblehead, Ohio is Meadowbrook Marsh. It is a park opperated by the Danbury Township Trustees.  It has turned out to be a birding hotspot and a nature fix for those in need of a little natural TLC.

A young Bald Eagle circles over head with a full white-headed adult.
Today's surprise was found overhead. Two Bald Eagles circled above and conducted a series of dives and aerial flip flops.  The recovery story of Bald Eagles on our North Coast never ceases to make me smile.  How lucky are we to see these magnificent birds high in our skies!

Red-Spotted Purple butterfly
 Butterflies were numerous today as well.  Red-spotted Purples have been in short supply this year, but we saw numerous warming up in this morning's sun.

Under wing of Red-spotted Purple
 People always seem puzzled when we announce a blue butterfly as a "Red-spotted Purple." It is the under wing that tells the true story, Ah, red spots on a field of purple, now it makes sense

Hackberry Emperor, 
One of my favorite trees at Meadowbrook is the Northern Hackberry.  But why am I talking trees when this obviously a butterfly photo?  The Hackberry tree is the ONLY host plant for the Hackberry Emperor.  Three types of butterflies feed on Hackberry in their larva stage: Tawney Emperor, Hackberry Emperor,  and the American Snout.  This particular Emperor was resting on a Common Milkweed plant.  

Milkweed does not play a role in the life cycle of the Tawney Emperor, but it is the host plant of the Monarch butterfly. When you think of butterflies- remember it is not just the Monarch at needs a host plant to survive.  Hackberry trees are important, too.

Wetland species Swamp Milkweed and American Lotus
Meadowbrook is known for its marsh and Swamp Milkweed is right at home in a marsh. These beautiful pink flowers are perfect for young Monarch butterfly larva.  Just beyond the water edge, those large circular leaves belong to the American Lotus.  One of our most beautiful native aquatic plants is just finishing its bloom cycle.  (To see more on American Lotus

American Lotus seed head.
The stunning white lotus flowers have given way to the seed heads, which famously look like shower heads!  Some believe the seed pods are as striking as the flowers.

Come on out to Flora-Quest 2016 and you can choose your own trip to see aquatic specialties in the marshes and wetlands on the North Coast.

Registration has been extended to Sept. 15, 2016.  Sign up now for an eco-tourism adventure!

Saturday, July 16, 2016

I'll BEE there: Native Plants and Pollinators

Our friends at the Midwest Native Plant Society are hosting a Pollinator Workshop at Caesar Creek on August 13th, 2016.  In my book, this is a not-to-miss event.  There is a tremendous amount of interest in pollinators all across the country and it is not all European honeybees doing the work!

Get ready to "Bumble"!

Bumblebees come in many "flavors."
 There are several types of bumblebees native to Ohio. It would be great to understand their differences!

Tiger Swallowtail and Spicebush Swallowtail!
 Butterflies are pollinators, too! And while we have heard plenty about declining numbers of Monarchs, there is more to the world of Lepidoptera than all gloom and doom.

We can help you sort out the common butterfly species on our  afternoon field trips.

Native bees and pollinating flies abound!
I can't wait to learn more about the unique relationships between native plants and pollinators.

Good thing we have Heather Holm speaking at this Pollinator Workshop at Caesar Creek on August 13th, 2016.  She will have her awesome book for sale too!

Pollinators of Native Plants is "an excellent guide that will help you attract, observe and identify native pollinators! Her presentation is a fascinating journey showcasing the development of different flower types and the presentation of floral resources to pollinators.  Heather will provide many specific examples of how native plants are pollinated and what pollinator is most effective and why."*

Heather Holm and her fabulous book.
"Author of Pollinators of Native Plants, Heather Holm owns a Minnesota-based landscape design and consulting firm specializing in pollinator landscapes and native landscape restorations. She is currently working the University of Minnesota Extension faculty on a three year study to determine the types of native bees that visit cultivated blueberries in Minnesota. The study includes developing customized forage plantings for the native bees identified, and providing additional or enhancing existing nesting sites within the farms. Heather is an environmental educator and frequent presenter at conferences in the Midwest and Northeast. She writes for Houzz, a social media website, about pollinators, beneficial insects and native plants."*

I'll be there leading field trips for this event and I hope to see you there, too!

 Registration at

*Quoted text from Midwest Native Plant's website.