Flora-Quest is still a major topic in my conversations... mostly folks asking, "How did it go?"
Honestly, all the Flora-Quests in the last 9 years have been amazing, informative and fun, but this year's was almost magical. Whether the good fairy of ecology put us under a spell or we just had the precisely the right combination of people, presenters and places to go, the results were superlative.
|Greg Lipps studies a "first capture" Hellbender. Photo by Jeff Belth|
|The aquatic team returns victorious. Photo by Jeff Belth.|
|The Clear Fork State Nature Preserve hike. Photo Michelle Goodman.|
|Cheryl Vargas, Chris Riley and Mary Lee Minor study the forest floor. Photo Michelle Goodman.|
Mohican still has much to offer for nature lovers, and should be preserved for the Hemlock Forests, pine plantations, unusual breeding bird populations, mammals and all of the biota which occurs here.
|Mohican's Little Lyons Fall of the Appalachia to Canada tour. Photo by Mark Dilley|
|The Barn at Malabar served us well. Photo by Ed Lux|
|Jim Berry speaks of the Bromfield family in the cemetery at Malabar. Photo by Ed Lux|
|Steve McKee orients his Doris Duke Woods group on the steps to the Big House. Photo Ed Lux|
The Doris Duke connection to Malabar is a lesser-known story, but one of great interest. In fact, Steve McKee's brother, Tim McKee, made a lovely short video about the woods and Bromfield. You can find that story here: The Woods at Malabar.
|The Junglebrook wetlands in bloom. Photo by Mark Dilley|
The little known Junglebrook wetlands at Malabar was one of our attendees' favorite sites. It was an explosion of floristic color and featured a wealth of Ohio's wetland experts and naturalists: Mark Dilley, Jim McCormac, Lisa Rainsong, Larry Rosche and Judy Semroc! Everyone found something of interest on this trip. I even learned later that a few individuals sneaked back for a second tour!
Thank you again to all the fabulous Flora-Quest guides and our patrons. YOU made it magical by your attendance and participation. Thank you, too, for all the wonderful photos provided to me by our talented attendees! It is said a picture is worth a thousand words- and what a story that first photo tells.
Let me leave you with one important thought: our watersheds matter. Let us not be doomed to repeat past mistakes of poor farming practices and short-sighted forest management. Let us cherish the surviving natural areas we have and reclaim more areas for nature, for the health of our watersheds and for future generations.
To learn more about the Hellbender- click on this link below to see an incredible video by the US Forest Service on their efforts to protect this prehistoric animal. It was the one featured by Greg Lipps in his program for Flora-Quest 2015.