Posted in Nature, Plants and trees

The Return of the American Chestnut Tree

Over a hundred years ago, the American chestnut tree (Castanea dentata) was virtually wiped out. Now the Ohio Department of Natural Resources is working on returning this grand tree to Ohio forests. A long time ago (over 100 years) not far away, giants ruled the Ohio forest. The American chestnut tree grew to heights of 100 to 150 feet. The tree dominated eastern forests from Maine to Georgia. Then one day in 1904, its nemesis arrived from Asia - a fungus by the name of endothia parasitica Read more ➜

Native Cactus in Adams County

We recently made a couple of trips to Adams County. We've written about a few of the sites we visited and will discuss many more in the future. On our trip we briefly stopped at Sandy Springs Cemetery near the Ohio River to view native Ohio cactus. Regular readers of TrekOhio will recall that we previously wrote about cactus at Kitty Todd Nature Preserve near Toledo. Cactus are also found in Adams County. I was about to write an article about the Adams County native cactus when I read Kyle Brooks Read more ➜
Posted in Central Ohio, Flowers, Hiking, Park review

Milford Center Prairie State Natural Area

Between eight and four thousand years ago what later became Ohio experienced a prolonged drought. This allowed the drought-tolerant plants of the Great Plains to displace Ohio's more typical, water-loving plants. This eastward thrust of the prairie into Ohio has been referred to as a "prairie peninsula." The prairie peninsula encompassed nearly 400 square miles of the Darby Plains in western, central Ohio. Today only 1% of this prairie survives. There are a number of MetroParks in the Columbus and Read more ➜
Posted in Flowers, Hiking

Spring Wildflowers 2015

This is a collection of some of my favorite wildflower photos taken in April and May of this year. If you'd like to see a larger version of any flower, just click on its photo. The above photo was taken at the Wahkeena Nature Preserve. The staff there make it really easy to locate their most picturesque wildflowers. We were greeted by the in-house naturalist, Tom Shisler. He actually gave us a map of the grounds with the locations of the orchids identified by pink marks on the map. Read more ➜
Posted in Bugs, Nature

The Luna Moth: Male and Female

While hiking at Tar Hollow this past weekend, we spotted a Luna moth perched on a burnt tree trunk. After studying its photo I realized that we now had photos of both the male and female Luna moth, so I thought I would share with you how to tell the difference between the two genders, plus provide a little background information on this moth. However when I showed the photo to some other people, they were soon telling me that the moth looked like it was about two feet wide. So before going on, try Read more ➜
Posted in Flowers, Hiking, Northeastern Ohio, Park review

Pine Hill Park: Crall Woods

Crall Woods is a 97-acre woodland that's one of two tracts of land making up Pine Hill Park in Ashland County. It was named as a National Natural Landmark by the National Park Service in 1974. According to a sign in the park's kiosk, there are three nature trails at Crall Wood with a total length of 2.45 miles. However, we saw two unlisted trails (one under construction and the other complete) that were not listed on the kiosk. All the trails were wide and well-maintained. In a recent comment Read more ➜
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 Flowers, Hiking, Northeastern Ohio, Park review

Fowler Woods State Nature Preserve

Fowler Woods is a 187-acre, state nature preserve located in Richland Coundy in northeast Ohio. Originally the preserve featured a handicap-accessible, 1 ¼-mile boardwalk, but in 2014 much of the boardwalk was closed to the public due to safety concerns.  The boardwalk passes through mature forest, buttonbush swamps, and an area that was once farmland, but is now reverting to forest. Sadly the lower, wetland region within this area that is now barred to the public.  The preserve used to be one Read more ➜
Posted in Animals, Nature

Great Weather for Polar Bears

This past Saturday was cold and the ground had a thick cover of snow. Perfect weather to go see polar bears in central Ohio. We were at the Columbus Zoo which features a polar bear exhibit. It has a large open area for the bears and a fish stocked pool (chilled in the summer) with an underwater observation room for visitors. The two female bears were snoozing and the male was calmly surveying the terrain. Many of the zoo's animals are indoors for the season, but several of Read more ➜
Posted in Plants and trees, Trees

The American Tulip Tree (Liriodendron tulipifera)

"What are these flower petals?" I asked Deb. They were all over the trail; large petals striped with white, green, and orange. It was mid-May and we were spending a week at Pipestem Resort State Park in West Virginia. It was a hikers paradise. We spent every day on a different trail and that day we were following a trail from the lodge on the rim of Bluestone Gorge all the way down to the river. The striped flower petals were everywhere. Deb didn't know what they were. We kept a lookout for a flower Read more ➜