Wednesday, March 31, 2010

10 - OCVN Week 5

Today we met at the Grant Nature Nook on McEwen Road in Centerville. The most dangerous part of the day was navigating the traffic and orange barrels on I-75 north between Rt 129 and Rt 63. But I survived the construction and make the drive in about an hour from Fairfield. (Another problem was Google directions - they told me to turn right on McEwen from Rt. 725 but the correct turn was left. Luckily I called the Centerville PD last week to confirm the directions. So I knew the correct way to go.)

Grant Nature Nook is the most beautiful building we have met in thus far. There are skylights and picture windows around three sides of the room. While Kristen Marks presented her Powerpoint show on Program Planning, we could watch the birds outside at the bird feeder. In the corners of the room, the top shelves contained a coyote, blue heron, young red-tailed hawk, and numerous other animals that had been stuffed and preserved by a taxidermist. A huge 65 pound beaver occupied the corner near the door. Looking up, four colorful banners, prints of Charlie Harper art work, hung from the ceiling around the center of the room. Beautiful and inspiring!

Kristen's presentation was informative. But the best part - we went outside and hiked on the nature trail near the creek. We heard a rattle, then saw a kingfisher.
We also observed the leaves and buds of many wildflowers - sensile trillium, trout lily, spring beauty, salt and pepper (harbinger of spring), toothwart, bloodroot, ramp (wild onion).

The dense leaf matter in the woods provided a rich growing environment for these precious little flowers. Unfortunately we also saw garlic mustard, winged euonymous and bush honeysuckle. After the hike we ate lunch outside, sitting on benches and basking in the sun.

Stan Gerht from OSU presented the afternoon program - a powerpoint show on mammals. After giving us an overview of the history of the earth's creatures, he focused on mammals of Ohio. His specialty is bats and we learned quite a bit about these guys. He passed around skins of the red and grey fox as well as skulls of squirrel, mice, rabbitts, vole, beaver, raccoon, coyotes, otter, weasel -to name a few.

We learned many interesting facts today. Take this little quiz to see how much you already know. When did mammals first appear on earth? What is the biggest mammal? What animal makes up 50% of all mammals? What mammal lays eggs? What bat is the largest?

Answers: 300 million years; blue whale; rodents; platypus; hoary. If you got all these correct, you are smarter than me. Maybe you should be in the OCVN program.

At 4:10 pm I got in my car and merged into rush hour traffic going south on I-75 from Dayton. I survived the speeders, cell phone users, narrow lanes, tired cranky drivers, and other road hazards. I feel relieved to be home. Come back for week six of 10.


  1. What about if you get 3 right?

  2. If you got 3 right, you are above average, but you have room to improve.