Posted in Nature

Foraging Morels

Although I don't have expertise in this area, the Ohio Department of Natural Resources (ODNR) just published a series of videos on foraging for morels that I'd like to share with you. ODNR naturalist, Erin Shaw, hosts four videos about hunting for morels. I've created a playlist of all four in order here. Individuals videos are around a couple minutes long. To watch all four in order will take about 8½ minutes. Links to each individual video in the playlist are also provided at the Read more ➜
Posted in Geology, Uncategorized

Waterfalls!!!

Spring is a great time to see Ohio waterfalls. Many Ohio waterfalls dry up in the summer heat. But in spring, with melting snow, saturated ground, and rain showers, these waterfalls can be quite spectacular. Below is a list of some of the Ohio waterfalls we've visited categorized by geographic region. Central Ohio Hayden Falls (Franklin County) - an easily accessible waterfall in the city limits of Columbus Honey Run Falls (Knox County) - a waterfall across from a park with hiking Read more ➜
Posted in Plants and trees

Basic Fern Identification

For some time I had been wanting to learn more about ferns, so I took advantage of a workshop on fern identification being held at the Wahkeena Nature Preserve in Fairfield County, Ohio. Wahkeena is a great place to learn about ferns since 29 species of fern grow there (Wahkeena's official blog publishes a list of their local fern species). Naturalist Tom Shisler led the workshop which is called Focus on Ferns. In this post I'm going to introduce you to a number of common ferns found in Ohio by Read more ➜
Posted in Hiking

Ohio Backpacking Trails

Looking for a local Ohio hike longer than a day-hike but shorter than hiking the Appalachian Trail? There are several sites where you can go backpacking in Ohio, ranging from overnight trips to trips of several days. Northeast Ohio Cuyahoga Valley National Park This is the only national park in Ohio. The Cuyahoga Valley National Park features a 19-mile hiking trail along a former Erie Canal towpath. Camping facilities are available for backpackers along the trail. The park service Read more ➜
Posted in Helpful hints

Hazards of the Ohio Outdoors: Part 1

The Ohio outdoors is relatively tame compared to other parts of the country. We have no mountains, no swamps with large carnivorous reptiles, no blistering hot deserts, and no oceans. Still there are dangers facing the unwary and people do get killed and injured in the Ohio outdoors. The purpose of this article is to discuss some of those dangers as well as ways to mitigate them. Dangerous Cliffs Ohio does not have mountains, but we do have sandstone and dolomite cliffs. A fall Read more ➜
Posted in Animals

Snake Species of Ohio at a Glance

This post is meant as an aid to snake identification. In addition to posting photos of all the snakes, I try to point out color variations within a species, where the species is found in Ohio, and what the typical length of an adult is. I have tried to group snakes to make it easier to distinguish between similar-looking species. I focus on the visual characteristics of the snakes; for a more detailed description of the snake (its habitats, behavior, etc.), I have provided links to three sources Read more ➜
Posted in History

Ohio Covered Bridges

In our visits to Ohio's parks and preserves we've seen many wooden, covered bridges. Since wood was a cheap and plentiful in the 19th century, it was used in the construction of bridges across the many creeks and streams of Ohio. Unfortunately, a wooden bridge exposed to the elements - sun, rain, snow, ice has a a short lifespan - perhaps as short as 10 years. By adding wood siding and a pitched roof, the bridges lifespan can be greatly extended - perhaps as long as 80 or 100 years. This was the Read more ➜
Posted in Flowers

Common Spring Wildflowers in Ohio

This post illustrates a couple of dozen, common species of spring wildflowers in Ohio. The scientific name in each caption links to an article where you can learn more about that species (a Wikipedia article, if possible). It also lists the months in which you can expect to see each species bloom in central Ohio. In southern Ohio they will bloom a little earlier and in northern Ohio a little later. Cutleaf Toothwort The photo below shows some of the foliage. Mayapple The Read more ➜
Posted in Bugs

Bad tick-related news for Ohio

Although Ohio has a number of tick species, the species which carries Lyme disease has been relatively absent from our state… until now. The Lyme-carrying tick is the Black Legged Tick, also known as the Deer Tick (Ixodes scapularis). There are now established populations of Black Legged Ticks in 26 Ohio counties including Franklin and Delaware counties in Central Ohio. Most of the affected counties are east of Interstate 71 (see the link to the Toledo Blade at the end of this post for a map of Read more ➜
Posted in Plants and trees

Poison Ivy & Poison Sumac

If you hike in Ohio, sooner or later you'll run into poison ivy or poison sumac. Probably sooner than later. They produce an irritating resin called urushiol that can produce a strong allergic reaction on contact in most people. The resin is found in all portions of the plant. Merely touching the plant can result in a rash and blisters within a few days. Poison Ivy Poison ivy (toxicodendron radicans) is often found in wooded areas as either a ground cover or as a climbing vine clinging Read more ➜