For those who know me, the fact that I devote a good part of my year organizing Flora-Quest comes as no surprise. Flora-Quest was the brain-child of Jim McCormac, and Paula Harper and I provided the first "boots on the ground" so to speak. From 2007-2015 it has been a good run, many of those years were held in Shawnee State Park and Forest. This year it was time for something new, and Flora-Quest 2015 moved to Mohican Forest and Malabar Farm State Park.
|Maidenhair Spleenwort, photo by Steve McKee|
With a name like Flora-Quest one might expect flowers. Most of our Quests have been flora-centric, however this year we focused more on eco-systems. We wanted to convey a better understanding why the hemlock trees and hellbenders are as important as rare ferns, like this Maidenhair Spleenwort, and Roundleaf Orchids.
|Mohican's own Steve McKee, photo by Jennifer Kubicki|
But a long time ago I learned what was really important at Flora-Quest: the people. The incredible guides who share their knowledge. The fascinating attendees - often guides, authors, conservationists and professional naturalists- who bring so much collective intelligence to our programs. Many of them are old friends and even more of them have become our new friends.
|Long-time guide, Bob Scott Placier and friends. Photo by Mark Dilley|
|Bird Banding, photo Zach Pocock|
Many of our guides have dedicated their lives to environmental and outdoor education. Bob Scott Placier recently retired from a long career teaching Dendrology and Ornithology at Hocking College. He is Flora-Quest lifer, and a guide I can always count on to pitch in and help out in the wee hours of the morning. There is nothing in the world to capture one's heart like seeing a tiny wild bird, up-close and personal. Bob makes that happen.
|Judy Semroc, photo by Jennifer Kubicki|
|Greg Lipps and Hellbender, photo by Jeff Belth.|
|Lousie Warner, Chis Riley, Clyde Gosnell|
|Tim McNiven, intern Nicole Hoekstra and Greg Blum|
These are the people of Flora-Quest: intelligent folks who want to share their knowledge and love for nature. People who care.
|Mark and Michelle Goodman- photo selfie|
Sure, we all feel better when we breath clean air. We are happier when we are trotting down a wooded trail. My friends all want to have a personal encounters with a bird, butterfly or beetle. Flora-Questers are the people who help us ensure these special places are here for the next generations as well.
Special thanks to all those who have sent in photos! I rarely have time to get decent pictures during the event. This blog is strictly the result of using the photos I have been given to share. There were 20 fabulous guides, 4 awesome interns, 1 energetic emcee, 4 excellent speakers- and I will hope to share more of their photos in the future. For now I would like to say thank you to the paying participants; YOU make this event happen. "Thank You."