‘It’s a real experiential learning process for the students’

Wilma H. Schiermeier Olentangy River Wetland Research Park  CFAES Dr. Mazeika SullivanSome returning CFAES students are finding their classroom all wet, by design. In fact, you might see them in waders. Five courses taught through the School of Environment and Natural Resources are meeting at, and in, the Wilma H. Schiermeier Olentangy River Wetland Research Park during autumn semester 2014, part of a plan to increasingly use its 52 acres of marsh and mud, frogs and geese, fish and water for teaching. Read the story. (Photo: K.D. Chamberlain, CFAES Communications.)

Plenty to sink your beak into

great blue heronA panel discussion at the next Environmental Professionals Network breakfast, which will focus on restoring the Olentangy River, will feature Laura Shinn, planning director, Ohio State; Byron Ringley, senior principal, Stantec; Anthony Sasson, freshwater conservation manager, The Nature Conservancy; and Alice Waldhauer, watershed coordinator, Friends of the Lower Olentangy Watershed. Also, come early and go birding at the Wilma H. Shiermeier Olentangy River Wetland Research Park (the breakfast program’s location) with Jim McCormac, avian education specialist with the Ohio Division of Wildlife and Columbus Dispatch nature columnist. Details.

August breakfast program to feature Olentangy River restoration

olentangy dam for GBThe Environmental Professionals Network, a service of CFAES’s School of Environment and Natural Resources (SENR), has announced its “breakfast club” program for August. The topic is the 5th Avenue dam removal project on the Olentangy River, and the location, which is a change from the usual, is SENR’s Wilma H. Schiermeier Olentangy River Wetland Research Park. If you’re interested, register soon, because attendance, due to the smaller venue this month, is limited to 60.

A Riverine National Park? Why not?

Donald L. Hey, co-founder of The Wetlands Initiative, will help Ohio State’s Olentangy River Wetland Research Park celebrate National Wetlands Month on Wednesday with a discussion on the opportunities for establishing a national park specific to inland freshwater rivers. The talk is 8:30-9:30 a.m. in the Heffner Wetland Building, 352 W. Dodridge St., just north of campus. For details, download the flyer at http://swamp.osu.edu/news/Hey051111.pdf. And don’t forget to celebrate National Wetlands Month: Hug a swamp!

An Earth Day Present: Rare bird visits wetland

Visitors at the Earth Day Bird Walk at the Wilma H.Schiermeier Olentangy River Wetland Research Park got a surprise this morning: the siting of a rare American Bittern.

During the walk, led by renowned birder Bernie Master, the bird was flushed from cattails in one of the created wetlands on the site. It was later observed flying over the wetlands by all of the bird walk participants.

Photo courtesy of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service

Master noted, “The American Bittern’s migratory travels are little known and it is rare in central Ohio at any time of the year.”

Wetlands Director Bill Mitsch reports that this is the first sighting of this rare wading bird at the Olentangy River Wetlands.

The American Bittern is listed on Ohio’s Endangered Species list.