2024 Summer Festival – June 8th

June 8th Summer Festival

Speakers begin at 8:30 AM

Festival begins at noon!

Gateway Elementary School, Conneaut, Ohio

Speakers announced:

Dr. Beck Swab

An Ohio native, Beck attended the Ohio State University where she received combined bachelor’s and master’s degrees. Beck went on to complete a Ph.D. at the University of

California Riverside, studying how plants respond to stressors such as changing fire intervals and climate change in California, Australia, and Denmark.  Beck was the Director of Restoration Ecology at The Wilds from 2015-2020.  There they gained experience in restoration of a wide variety of ecosystem including prairies, forests, and wetlands.

Currently the Director of Conservation & Community Forestry at Holden Forest and Gardens, Beck’s goal is to serve as a bridge between conservation managers, researchers, policy makers, and the public to improve conservation efforts.

Dr. Swab will be presenting: Bees need trees too! – The importance of forests for pollinators.

If you picture bee habitat, you’ll probably imagine a sunny meadow full of flowers.  But forests are important for pollinators as well- many of our native solitary bees nest primarily in forests and rely on spring wildflowers for their pollen and nectar.  This presentation will discuss how pollinators rely on forests and show examples of forest restoration projects benefitting pollinators.  Finally, we will bring it to you- learn how anyone with a patch of forest on their land can improve it to better benefit bees- while potentially cultivating harvestable products to benefit people, too!



Guy L. Denny, Naturalist


Guy L. Denny is an interpretive naturalist, writer and photographer with a wealth of knowledge about the natural history of Ohio.  Mr. Denny retired in 1999

from his position as Chief of the Ohio Department of Natural Resources Division of Natural Areas and Preserves after a professional career spanning 33 years of public service.  As Chief of DNAP, he was responsible for administering the state’s natural areas and scenic rivers programs.  A native of Toledo, Mr. Denny began his career as a naturalist with the Toledo MetroParks then as a Teacher-Naturalist for the Willoughby-Eastlake School District.  He joined the State of Ohio in 1969 as Chief Naturalist for the ODNR Division of Parks and Recreation before transferring to the Division of Natural Areas and Preserves in 1976 as the first Assistant Chief of that newly formed ODNR Division.  He is author of several booklets and articles on Ohio natural history, and is past editor of the DNAP Newsletter in which he published numerous articles and photographs. More recently, Denny writes articles and provides photos for the ONAPA Newsletter. He also co-authored The Prairie Peninsula with Gary Meszaros and wrote Peatlands of Ohio and the Southern Great Lakes Region; both books published by The Kent State University Press.

Since retiring, Mr. Denny has served on several conservation organizatins.  He served as the Executive Director of the Ohio Biological Survey and Vice-Chair and Chair for District 17 NRAC (Natural Resources Advisory Council for the Clean Ohio Fund), and on the boards of the Midwest Biodiversity Institute, the Ohio Environmental Council, Trust for Public Lands, and the Brown Family Environmental Center at Kenyon College.  Currently, he serves as President of the Ohio Natural Areas & Preserves Association which he helped establish in 2012, and is Secretary-Treasurer for the Outdoor Writers of Ohio.  Denny has also served on the board of The Friends of the Governor’s Residence and Heritage Garden, The Owl Creek Land Conservancy, The Appalachian Ohio Alliance, The Ohio League of Conservation Voters, and as an advisor to The Holden Arboretum, and the Cleveland Museum of Natural History. He was inducted into the State of Ohio ODNR’s Ohio Natural Resources Hall of Fame in 2021. A life-long self-taught naturalist, Mr. Denny received his Bachelor of Business Administration from the University of Toledo in 1967.  He resides on a small farm with a 20-22 acre tallgrass prairie he created which is situated in Knox County, Fredericktown, Ohio.

Guy Denny will be presenting:    Tall Grass Prairies of Ohio  and A Recipe for Making a Prairie Garden

In this presentation we will examine the origin, makeup and occurrences of the tallgrass prairies of North America and specifically the various types of tallgrass prairie remnants still found in Ohio. You will be introduced to a number of prairie species as they make their appearance throughout the growing seasons; plants that are characteristic of Ohio’s remnant native tallgrass prairies. Included in this presentation will be a detailed description on how to go about making and managing your own prairie garden whether covering an area of only a few square yards or several acres in size. Lastly, we will take a look at the benefits of having a tallgrass prairie garden from the beauty of prairie wildflowers themselves to the diversity of wildlife prairie gardens attract and support.


Afternoon Session (Free to attend)

12:00 to 4:00 – Celebration of pollinators at the Outdoor Learning Center

  • Native Plant Vendors – Some of Ohio’s best native plant nnurseries will be selling quality trees, shrubs, and perennials
  • Nature Organizations and Exhibitors promoting their organizations
  • Guided Tours of the award-winning Outdoor Learning Center Butterfly & Pollinator Garden
  • Guided Hikes led by the area’s finest naturalists
  • Kids Activities led by local non-profit service groups
  • Ashtabula County Soil & Water
  • Musical Groups
  • Food Trucks will be available for lunch
  • This year we will have a special appearance from the OSU BUGmobile. This is a wonderful opportunity for kids and adults to experience up close the life and habits of our insect world.