Ohio University - Home

Place Holder
Nature Center - Public Programs

The Nature Center’s first program for public participation was on snakes. It drew about 30 people and we were really pleased with the turnout. The next program on snakes drew about 60 people and we were standing room only. We actually had people standing outside looking through the windows. The third program on snakes was moved to the amphitheater, behind the classroom building, to accommodate the crowd. The amphitheater seats approximately 200 people.


TThe following are descriptions of community programs:

IRON FURANCE ERA BROUGHT TO LIFE DURING FURNACE DAYS
More than 100 years ago, the iron furnaces of the Hanging Rock Iron Region were casting the iron used to manufacturer ships and artillery used in the Civil War. They were the source of the rails that would cross our continent. And for the hands of homesteader and pioneers looking for a brighter future, they produced the nails and barbed wire that would help to settle the American West. Discover the legacy of Ohio’s iron industry with interpreters dressed in period costume from the Lawrence County Historical Museum. The historical interpreters explain the making of iron and the tools used in the process. Many of these antiques will be on display for viewing. Today, the Vesuvius Furnace stack, a historic structure managed by the Wayne National Forest, sets silently next to the Nature Center. It is a remnant of the “Age of Iron” reminding us of the important role Southern Ohio has played in the dramatic history of our country. Everyone is welcome. No fee or registration required.

HIKE IN SEARCH OF THE FIRST SPRING WILD FLOWER
Come see the first wildflower of spring, the Skunk Cabbage. Join Nature Center Naturalist, Adam Wilson in search of Skunk Cabbage that marks the beginning of the spring wildflowers. Here is your chance to shake off the winter blues and at least pretend it could be spring. Meet at the Nature Center. Hiking location is approximately 15-minutes from Lake Vesuvius. The hike is strenuous and will be in a swampy remote area, be prepared for rough terrain and swampy ground. Wear sturdy, comfortable shoes. Daypack or fanny pack recommended. (Boy Scouts, see Scout Manual, Chapter 8, Hiking.) Rain or Shine. Open to the public.

NINE-MILE HIKE
Hike the Wayne National Forest with Nature Center Naturalist, Adam Wilson. Hike through the beautiful hardwoods of Southern Ohio discovering wildlife, wildflowers, rock shelters and more. Spend a few hours in the great outdoors, you won’t be sorry. This is a strenuous hike with hilly terrain. Bring a daypack with water/lunch and wear sturdy, comfortable shoes. (Boy Scouts, see Scout Manual, Chapter 8, Hiking.) No pets. Open to the public. Rain or Shine.

NATURE’S GARDEN: THE WILD AZALEAS OF SOUTHERN OHIO
Hike the Lake Vesuvius Trail with local botanist, Judith Dumke. Enjoy colorful displays along the trail and end with the spectacular show of wild azaleas located in Ohio’s only national forest. Four miles of flat and hilly terrain. Moderate to strenuous. Pack a lunch; we’ll eat with the wild azaleas. Bring your camera, light jacket recommended, and wear sturdy, comfortable footwear. No pets. Open to the public.

TREE IDENTIFICATION
Learn how to recognize our local trees. Students, this is the place to be if you have a leaf collection due for school. Naturalist, Adam Wilson will lead you on a hike and help you identify many Ohio trees. Bring your camera to collect pictures of the leaves and a pencil and notepad to take notes.

EAGLE WATCH FIELD TRIP
Join us as we travel to Cave Run Kentucky for a day with the eagles. Cave Run is a birding “hot spot” where eagles visit the waters and hatchery in the winter season. Our day will be spent looking for eagles and enjoying time in the outdoors. Come and experience this rare opportunity. Trip leader: Gary Rankin.

OWL PROWL
Join birder, Wendell Argabrite, and the Nature Center staff for an evening of owls. The program begins at the Nature Center with an introduction to owl habits, calls and more. Following the lecture program, the Nature Center will furnish vans to drive to locations in the woods in search of owls.

SPRING BIRD HIKE
Spend a day birding along the Lake Vesuvius shore in search of a variety of early spring birds. Learn how to identify local birds found in our region. Bring a sack lunch, binoculars and a desire to watch birds. Trip leader: Gary Rankin

GRASSLAND BIRD FIELD TRIP
Join Jim McCormack from Ohio Department of Natural Areas and Preserves, for a day of bird watching and study. The field trip will begin at the Nature Center with a slide show, and facts on a variety of bird species. We will then walk the Lake Vesuvius Recreation Area in search of woodland birds. Afterwards, we will travel to the Crown City Wildlife Area. Crown City is home to 11,000 acres of reclaimed grasslands where many species that we might view are quite rare in Ohio, including Blue Grosbeak, Dickcissel and Henslow's Sparrow. Bring a sack lunch, binoculars, camera, hat (recommended) and comfortable, sturdy footwear. This field trip is open to adults; especially educators, youth group organizers, scout leaders, and home-schoolers. Registration required.

EARTH DAY CELEBRATION AND OPEN HOUSE
SWEEP INTO SPRING AT LAKE VESUVIUS! Earth Day Celebration marks the Nature Center season opening. In an effort to preserve and restore the natural beauty of Lake Vesuvius, the Nature Center and Wayne National Forest will be kicking off our participation in the statewide Adopt-A-Waterway program by cleaning up the shores around Lake Vesuvius. We would like to invite everyone to join us in celebrating Earth Day and start the ball rolling for another great new season.

FALL FOLIAGE HIKE
H ike the Rock House Trail at the Lake Vesuvius Recreation Area for a glorious day of fall colors. Naturalist, Patricia Hollingshead, will guide you on a leisurely hike through the hardwood forest. Bring a sack lunch for a picnic at the Pine Knob Picnic Area following the hike.

INTRODUCTION TO SNAKES
Introduction to Ohio’s native snake species. Slide presentation and general overview of snakes and their habits. The presentation will focus on identification, habitat, and behavior of all snakes with a specific concentration Ohio’s species and particularly those found in the Lake Vesuvius area. Live Specimens will be on hand. Please join local herpetologist, Larry Cartmill and Nature Center assistants for an in-depth look at these misunderstood creatures. (Webelo Scouts see Outdoor Group (Naturalist).) No fee or registration required. Everyone is welcome.

SNAKE BITE PROGRAM
Snakebite prevention and treatment will be the focus of this program. The main discussion will center on ways to identify venomous snakes and how to avoid an accident while outdoors. The most recent and modern snakebite treatment will be covered with a concentration on Ohio's venomous species. Presenter: Larry Cartmill. Open to the public.

TERRIFIC TURTLES
Terrific Turtles is part of a summer long herpetology lecture series funded by Ohio's Wildlife Diversity Fund. Presentation focuses on aquatic and terrestrial species of turtles and tortoises. Live specimens of both types of turtles will be on hand, and the presentation will cover classification and natural history of the species. Everyone is welcome. No fee or registration required. Presenter: Larry Cartmill.

HERPETOLOGY OF OHIO
This day will familiarize educators and interested participants about the biology, natural history, and ecology of amphibians and reptiles. Emphasis will be placed upon species of the Tri-State area and those of Southern Ohio in particular. The day's program will include classroom activities, live presentations, and fieldwork. This program will also serve to educate and inform participants about the recent phenomenon of the sudden decline and disappearance of certain species of frogs. Join Herpetologist, Larry Cartmill, for a day of scales, tales, and shells. Registration is required. Limited Enrollment. 1-hour Graduate Credit offered. Workshop Cost: $65/per credit hour.

HERPETOLOGY DAY FOR STUDENTS
This day will familiarize middle and senior high school students about the biology, natural history, and ecology of amphibians and reptiles. Emphasis will be placed upon species of the Tri-State area and those of Southern Ohio in particular. The day's program will include classroom activities, live presentations, and an afternoon hike searching for reptiles and amphibians in their natural habitat. Instructor: Larry Cartmill, Herpetologist. Registration is required. Limited Enrollment. For middle and senior high school students. No fee. Lunch will be provided.

TIMBER RATTLESNAKES
Did you know Timber Rattlesnakes are on Ohio’s Endangered Species List? You can be subject to a $10,000 fine if you kill one. Do you really know what a Timber Rattlesnake looks like? To whom do you report a rattlesnake sighting? The answer to these questions and more will be the focus of this informative program. Live specimens will be on hand. Join Herpetologist, Larry Cartmill and Nature Center assistants for an in-depth look at the wondrous Timber Rattlesnake. (Webelo Scouts see Outdoor Group Naturalist.) Everyone is welcome.

ROCK HOUNDS – WONDERS OF THE GEODES
What is a geode? Where does it come from? What is inside a geode? These are just a few question answered by OUS student and gemologist, Jan Rader. Anyone who has ever picked up a rock and taken it home is a beginning rock collector. If your enjoy collecting rocks and have an interest in geology, then this day is for you. (Wolf Cub Scouts see Achievement 6; Webelo Scouts see Outdoor Group (geologist).) Recommended age 5 years and up, including adults and senior citizens.

ROCK HOUNDS – NATIVE AMERICAN ARTIFACTS
When worked by gifted craftsmen, stone has proved to be a durable, surprisingly versatile, and often stunningly beautiful material. Explore the use of stone by Native Americans and how skillfully worked stone became tools used for hunting, cooking, cleaning and more. Join OUS student and gemologist, Jan Rader for a look at stone artifacts. (Wolf Cubs see achievement 6; Webelo Scouts see Outdoor Group.) Recommended for age 5 years and up, including adults and senior citizens.

ROCK HOUNDS – ALL ABOUT GEMSTONES
Precious stones are rare. They are prized for their color, luster, and hardness. Any combination of these properties makes a precious stone desirable and costly. Explore the use of minerals as cut and polished gemstones. Many 7-9 grade textbooks discuss how minerals are used – teachers and students welcome. Join OUS student and gemologist, Jan Rader for a morning of shiny, polished stones. (Wolf Cubs see Achievement 6; Webelo Scouts see Outdoor Group.) Recommended for age 5 years and up, including adults and senior citizens.

SPIDERS -- INTRODUCTION
This program is the first of a three-part series. Explore the wonderful world of spiders. Learn about Arachnids, a class of animal including spiders, scorpions, mites, and ticks. According to fossil records, spiders have been here for approximately 380 million years. Examine live and preserved animals with undeserving reputations. Join OUS student, Merri Warden, for part one of a three part series on spiders. (Webelo Scouts see Outdoor Group (Naturalist).)

SPIDERS -- WEBS
Examine the fascinating facts about spiders and their silk webs. Each species of spider has its own version of a web and there are certainly a variety of webs. For instance, orb weavers create round webs. But there are also purse webs, zigzag webs, funnel webs and more. Join OUS student, Merri Warden for part two of the three part series on spiders. (Webelo Scouts see Outdoor Group (Naturalist).)

SPIDERS – FRIEND OR FOE
Despite their reputation as long-legged monsters, very few spider species are capable of harming humans. Discover the truth behind the myths of this diverse group of small problem-solvers and learn how they hunt, trap, glue their prey to a surface with adhesive spitballs, and make a getaway by winging off like Tarzan on a silken thread. Find out just how many insects spiders consume annually and other remarkable facts. Join OUS student, Merri Warden for part three of the three part series on spiders. (Webelo Scouts see Outdoor Group (Naturalist).)

SCIENCE WIZARD – MAKING WIZARD PUTTY
Introduction to polymer chemistry. This hands-on science program examines polymer reactions by making Wizard Putty. The putty can be molded, bounced, and lift print from newspapers. Join OUS student and Master Wizard, Chris Sanders, for a morning of fun with science. Recommended age 5 years and up, including adults and senior citizens.

SCIENCE WIZARD -- ROCKETS
Examine the theory of rocketry and the action-reaction principals of the physics behind rockets. Isaac Newton’s third law explains how rocket engines work. And how will we test Newton’s law? That’s right – we will fire 8-10 rockets! Join OUS student and Master Wizard, Chris Sanders, for a morning of physics and fun. (Webelo Scouts please find rocketry in the “Technology Group” in your Scout book.)

SCIENCE WIZARD – MIRROR IN A BOTTLE
Want to learn more about chemical reactions? Mirror in this bottle is about just that – a chemical reaction with starches to make your own mirror in a bottle. WOW! Please join OUS student and Master Wizard, Chris Sanders, for a morning of chemistry. Recommended age 5 years and up, including adults and senior citizens.

SCOUT MERIT BADGE COLLEGE
Join the OUS Science Wizard and fulfill your requirements for the Chemistry Merit Badge. Workshops are scheduled every two hours. Spend time with the OUS Science Wizard in the OUS chemistry labs, perform chemistry experiments that help you understand the merit badge requirements, and discuss the job opportunities in the field of chemistry.

SCOUTING DAY
Need to fulfill merit badge requirements for geology, naturalist, and forestry? This day is for you! Join the OUS Nature Center staff and Ohio University faculty for a day of investigation, observation and fun. Rain or Shine. Registration is required.

READING OF THE LEGEND OF SLEEPY HOLLOW
Are you looking for a way to spend quality time with family and friends? Then join us at the Lake Vesuvius Recreation Area for a reading of the "Legend of Sleepy Hollow" adapted for children. The reading will take place deep in the woods at the “Rock House Cave” by the light of jack-o-lanterns. For your comfort, please bring a blanket or lawn chairs to sit on. The reading is presented by The Honorable John Elam, Mayor of Ironton, Ohio. (Bear Scouts see Achievement 4, & Achievement 10; Wolf Cubs see Wolf Trail requirements 10b & 10e.) Park at the Vesuvius Boat Ramp parking lot and follow the lighted pumpkins and lanterns.