Olander Youth Conservation Corps 2015: Week One

Milkweed

The second year of the Olander Youth Conservation Corps (OYCC) has officially begun! This year’s group is comprised of 13 middle school-aged youths: all are students from Sylvania area schools. The Olander Park System’s goal for the OYCC is to provide conservation-related work sessions for the corps members at various parks and natural areas in the Northwest Ohio Region. We strive to expose the corps members to as many natural areas as possible in their 12 days scheduled with us.

2015 Youth Conservation Corps walks to their first project at Olander Park.

2015 Youth Conservation Corps walks to their first project at Olander Park.

The first work session included an introduction to conservation activities and discussion of what conservation means to each corps member while crafting beaded tassels for their backpacks. After that, we walked to the far side of Olander Park to prep and plant a new native prairie area of the park.

A variety of plants were put in the ground randomly to imitate a natural prairie. The plants include nodding onion, purple love grass, joe pye weed, grey-headed coneflower, and Ohio spiderwort.

Each plant was carefully removed from its pot to be planted in to the sandy soil.

Each plant was carefully removed from its pot to be planted in to the sandy soil.

 

Corps members first prepped the bed by raking and weeding.

Corps members first prepped the bed by raking and weeding.

Then they plant x native forbs in the new bed!

Then they planted nearly 500 native forbs in the new bed!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

On the second day, we visited Dr. Scott Heckathorn in his botany laboratory at the University of Toledo. The Corps members were assigned two projects: determining the colors of pigments in various plants and the amount of protein in three different food types. They also studied the same plants beneath a dissecting microscope and prepared slides of corn skin and leaf cells beneath a compound microscope.

The plant material was broken down by adding liquid nitrogen and then grinding with mortar and pestle.

The plant material was broken down by adding liquid nitrogen and then grinding with mortar and pestle.

Alayna shows her plant pigment after separating the precipitate plant material from the supernatant pigment.

Alayna shows off her plant’s pigment after taking it out of the centrifuge.

The food was broken down the same way as the plants. They determined the protein content of tater tots, hot dogs, and soy patties.

The food was broken down the same way as the plants. They determined the protein content of tater tots, hot dogs, and soy patties.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The third and final day of the first week was spent picking up litter at the Meilke Road Savanna in Spencer Township. Among the trash and treasures we discovered were old toy trucks, part of a mattress, over 25 intact glass bottles and jars, lots of scrap metal, the remains of an old microwave or radio, and even a kitchen sink! Afterwards we explored the sand dunes at the savanna.

After working hard to clean up the savanna, Corps members enjoyed exploring the sand dunes at Meilke Road

After working hard to clean up the savanna, Corps members enjoyed exploring the sand dunes at Meilke Road

Livie, Alayna, and Alena show off their Earth Star mushrooms

Livie, Alayna, and Alena show off their Earth Star mushrooms

Earth star mushrooms curl up into a ball when they dry out and unfurl into a star-like shape once moistened.

Earth star mushrooms curl up into a ball when they dry out and unfurl into a star-like shape once moistened.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

At the end of the day, we hauled all the trash back to Olander to dispose of or recycle.

At the end of the day, we hauled all the trash back to Olander to dispose of or recycle.

Everyone is excited for next week’s projects! See you then!

Birds at Olander

The Olander Park System’s Conservation Crew, with the help of Maumee Corps employees from Partners for Clean Streams, performed our annual Breeding Bird Survey at Olander Park and Southview Oak Savanna today.

Here’s what we found: (“coolest” birds listed first)  🙂

OLANDER PARK

  • Eastern Screech Owl – 1
  • Cormorant – 1
  • Belted King Fisher – 3
    Female Belted Kingfisher Photo by Teddy Llovet

    Female Belted Kingfisher
    Photo by Teddy Llovet

  • Great Blue Heron – 3
  • Northern Flicker – 2 adults, 2 fledglings
  • Red-bellied Woodpecker – 5
  • Hairy Woodpecker – 1
  • Downy Woodpecker – 2
  • Whitebreasted Nuthatch – 2
  • Cedar Waxwing – 8
  • Eastern Wood Peewee – 2
  • Eastern Phoebe – 2
  • Baltimore Oriole – 1
  • Chipping Sparrow – 2 adults; 2 fledglings; plus 1 adult on nest
  • Song Sparrow – 1
  • Barn Swallow – 1
  • Cliff Swallow – 3
  • Tree Swallow – 2
  • Dark-eyed Junco – 1
  • Redwinged Blackbird – 1
  • American Crow – 2
  • Mourning Dove – 2
  • Turkey Vulture – 2
  • House Sparrow – 12 (some on nest box)
  • American Robin – 22
  • Canada Goose – 63
  • Mallard – 37
  • Common Grackle – 1
  • European Starling – 3

SOUTHVIEW OAK SAVANNA

  • Tufted Titmouse – 4
    Tufted Titmouse

    Tufted Titmouse

  • Chickadee – 1
  • Eastern Phoebe – 1
  • Whitebreasted Nuthatch – 2
  • Cliff Swallow – 1
  • Blue Jay – 8
  • American Robin – 4
  • Mourning Dove – 1

American Beaver

American_Beaver

The American beaver is North Americas largest rodent. Their fur is typically reddish brown in color and very dense. They have a  large flat scaly tail that they use like a rudder in the water. Their back feet are webbed to help propel them thru the water.  Beavers are mainly active at night and are excellent swimmers. They construct their lodges out of twigs and sticks and mud at the edge of ponds. Beavers have one litter of 2-3 kits per year. Offspring will stay with the family for up to 3 years before moving out on their own.

The Olander  conservation crew discovered a beaver lodge at Sylvan Prairie Park late last summer! Much to our surprise! We noticed several trees around a pond in the park that had been felled. Several staff members have seen the beaver swimming in the pond carrying large branches and eventually they discovered the lodge. Go to this website to see videos; www.arkive.org/american-beaver/castor-canadensis/videos.html20100722161014

Ice Fishing on Lake Olander

Lake Olander is now safe to use for ice fishing, ice skating, hockey and just having fun on ice!

Ice Fishing Hut

Ice Fishing Hut

We do not open the Lake for ice activities until the ice on the entire lake is at least 8 inches thick. With a 30-acre lake, it takes several weeks of below freezing temperatures before all areas of the lake have ice that thick.

There is currently one small area on the lake that is not safe, and we have marked that area with orange fencing. There is open water and extremely thin ice inside the orange fence. Our feathered friends, Canada Geese, Mallards, and American Coots, appreciate having some open water to use in the winter. But it is dangerous for us humans.  So stay well away from the orange fence.

Sunfish Caught Ice Fishing

Danielle DiMartini catching a Sunfish through the ice at Lake Olander

Ice Fishing is a popular past time in this part of the world. Here at Lake Olander, the fish are biting. The first day that ice activities were allowed on the lake, Sam Eldridge, an avid ice fisherman and seasonal Olander employee, caught bluegill, largemouth bass, perch and a sunfish. You can also catch an occasional catfish or crappie through the ice here.

Despite all the snow we had earlier this month, the ice on Lake Olander is quite smooth. Ice skaters have made an appearance this afternoon, and the skating looks good!

While you’re here enjoying the lovely winter landscape, remember that Olander Park closes at 6pm in February…which is before it gets dark. Please help our employees out by making sure you’re off the ice and out of the park by 6pm.

So come enjoy the ice here at Olander Park!  But stay safe by paying attention to the orange fence and dressing warmly. It’s going to be COLD this weekend!

Olander Lake On Ice

Olander Lake On Ice

 

 

Ohio Young Birders Club Field Trip

 

Birding from Kayak

Birding from Kayak

The Ohio Young Birders Club (OYBC) is a program developed by the Black Swamp Bird Observatory to encourage, educate, and empower our youth conservation leaders. There are regional chapters of the OYBC, including one here in Northwest Ohio, started and led by TOPS own Robin Parker and Patty Toneff from Woodlawn Cemetery and Arboretum. Each month student members participate in field trips to exciting places in Ohio and in service projects focused on habitat restoration and other cool projects like creating bird feeding areas. 

OYBC field trips are open to all OYBC student members. To find out more about OYBC and how to join, visit the OYBC Website.

AUGUST 2014 Field Trip

Shorebirds Galore!
Saturday, August 16th
9:30 AM – 2:00 PM

Winous Point Marsh
(3500 S Lattimore Rd, Port Clinton, OH 43452)

Winous Point is one of the nation’s oldest hunt clubs. This private club is managed for all types of wildlife. We got special permission to visit Winous Point to look for shorebirds and see lots of other marsh wildlife! 

Please wear sturdy shoes and bring a packed lunch, water, snacks, bug spray, sunscreen, and bincos!

If you have any questions, please contact Kate Zimmerman at katezimmerman@bsbo.org

*Hosted by the Northwest, Northeast, Central, and Holmes County OYBC Chapters.

MOTHS??

2014-07-15_08-58-56_79Observed this unusual paring at the oak savanna behind Sylvania Southview H.S.

We thought it was a large bird dropping but a closer look revealed two moths,  we think,  mating. When we would lightly touch them they would flutter their wings.

Looking thru photos on the web I came across a blog that had a similar looking moth-a Buck moth. Not sure if this is what we saw???

Sylvan Prairie In Bloom

Our largest park, Sylvan Prairie Park, is full of native wildflowers in bloom!

Greyheaded Coneflower, Black-Eyed Susan, Bergamot

Grey-headed Coneflower, Black-Eyed Susan, Bergamot

Get an up-close view of these beauties by biking, walking or rollerblading on the 3-mile section of the Quarry Ridge Bike Trail that loops through the park.

Sylvan Prairie Park’s parking lots are located at 8601 Brint Road.  More info about Sylvan Priarie : http://www.olanderpark.com/pages/Sylvan

Native wildflowers you can see blooming there right now include:

  • Black-eyed Susan
  • Brown-eyed Susan
  • Swamp Milkweed
  • Common Milkweed
  • Butterfly Milkweed
  • Dogbane
  • Grey-headed Coneflower
    Grey-headed Coneflower

    Grey-headed Coneflower

  • Obedient Plant
  • Spiderwort
  • Virginia Mountain Mint
  • Wild Bergamot
  • Whorled Rosinweed
  • Oxeye Sunflower
  • Sawtooth Sunflower
  • Foxglove Beardtongue (Penstemon)
  • Monkey Flower
  • Bushclover
  • Smooth Hedge Nettle
  • Blue Vervain
  • Hoary Vervain
  • White Vervain
  • Ground Cherries
  • Heal All

Youth Conservation Corps – Week 4 Summary

The fourth and final week of the Olander Youth Conservation Corps is complete! This last week has been packed with great activities that will be sure to leave lasting memories in the minds of all involved. Here’s a peek at what we did this week:

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On Tuesday we learned how to sample fish in Tenmile Creek at Harroun Community Park!

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Dr. Todd Crail of the University of Toledo visited and told us about the great diversity of fish that can be found in our local streams and rivers.

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On Wednesday, Pat O’Brien, the superintendent of the Sylvania Parks, visited us and introduced us to the management that has been going on at Harroun Community Park over the past few years.

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Afterwards, we cleared woody species at the park! We really worked hard and made a big impact on the woody plants that have been growing more dense every year.

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On Thursday, our final day, we had a blast learning about beekeeping from Mr. Bill Buri, a Maumee resident.

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Mr. Buri showed us his three colonies of bees while teaching us about the importance of pollinators. Several of the kids got to dress in beekeeper’s protective gear!

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We finished our final day hunting for fossils at Olander’s Fossil Park. We found several fossils, including coral and brachiopods!

This marks the end of the first Olander Youth Conservation Corps. We have all had a great time working with these children this year, and they have been dedicated to learning about nature conservation. We hope that this program will touch more lives in the future and that those who participate have positive experiences that create conscientious and responsible individuals. On behalf of the entire Olander Youth Conservation Corps: Thank You!

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See you next year!

Youth Conservation Corps – Week 3 Done, 1 More to Go!

It’s hard to believe that there is only one week left in this year’s program. One of our main goals has been to get the youth engaged and dedicated to conservation activities. This goal has required us to try to strike a balance between education, hard work, and fun. Through the help of several special visitors and local organizations, we have successfully kept our participants excited and enthusiastic about nature conservation. Take a look at what we did during week 3!

20140701_115427On Tuesday we visited the Southview Oak Savanna to pull invasive plants and collect seeds from native plants. 

20140702_115838On Wednesday, Dr. Mike Weintraub of the University of Toledo taught us about the importance of soil in the Oak Openings!20140702_111854Part of Dr. Weintraub’s presentation included group projects in which the participants took soil samples to measure the length of the A horizon, tested the water infiltration rate into the ground, performed a soil ribboning analysis, and sampled earthworms!

20140703_125543On Thursday we picked up trash at both the Waterberry Wetwoods and Herr Road Property. Look at all the amazing stuff we cleared away!

Stay tuned for the final update!