Session Choices

You are required to submit your registration form before making your session choices. If you are not planning on attending the full week, you may not select sessions until April of 2020, as preference is given to full time participants. Please use the contact page if you have any questions.

Please Choose One Session For Each Time Slot
Monday AM

The Science Guys – Recommended for 1st time participants. An understandable introduction to the geology of Ohio from two of Ohio’s top naturalists! This session will include an inside lab/lecture session with hands-on activities. Presenters: Steve McKee, Retired Director, Gorman Nature Center; Paul Knoop, Retired Education Director, Aullwood Audubon Center and Farm

Edibles and Medicinals in Your BackyardThis session is full. People have been using plants for food and medicine since the dawn of time. While this is swiftly becoming a lost art in our modern western society, many cultures throughout the world still rely on these gifts of nature. We will tour the grounds in search of edible and/or medicinal plants, sampling many, discuss safety and maybe even take something home. Presenter: Robb Clifford, Chief Naturalist, Darke County Park District

I Notice, I Wonder, It Reminds Me of… – Making observations is a key foundation for the methods and activities all scientists use to better understand the natural world. This session helps participants directly engage students with nature through scientific observation. It provides participants with basic skills, behaviors and tools to use with students to help them become curious about nature.  These kinds of experiences support the goal of empowering students to be able to engage with nature on their own, even after they leave an outdoor science class. Presenter: Darcy Higgins, Environmental Education Program Manager, Rural Action

Monday PM

Bringing it all Together: Nature, Classroom and Assessment – Wonder, observe, and explore nature as a classroom student. Make connections between state standards and the natural environment. Bring discoveries together as an assessment. Presenters: Empress Bethel, 5th Grade Science Teacher, Logan Elm Schools; Lorrie Huysman, 6th Grade Science Teacher, Logan Elm Schools

Spiders’ Silken Signs – Spiders are fascinating animals who inhabit an amazing variety of niches in just about every terrestrial habitat there is! Learn how to find and observe these valuable members of the ecosystem from an expert arachnologist. The program will start with a brief talk about tricks and tips for finding and observing spiders, followed by a spider walk to put your new skills into action. Presenter: Sarah Jane Rose, Ph.D. 

Forest Fungi FunThis session is full. Explore the ultimate recyclers of eastern forests. Learn about their biology, ecology and their importance to forest ecosystems and humans. Activities will include forest foraging, identification, and lively discussion. Lots of hands on activities and lesson ideas for your middle and high school students. Presenter: Joanne Rebbeck, Ph.D., Retired Research Plant Physiologist, Northern Research Station, USDA Forest Service; Martha Bishop, Instructor of Biology of Fungi, Ohio University

Tuesday AM

The Science of Glass Blowing – Participants will learn the physics and chemistry behind blowing glass. Inspired by nature, Jack’s glass blowing technique dates back to the 19th century Tiffany style, which impregnates precious metals into hot glass. The session will include a glass blowing demonstration. Presenters: Jack Pine, Master Glass Blower; Matt Fullen, Glass Gallery Technician

I Think That I Shall Never See… – This session will begin indoors with a primer on Ohio forest types, history, and ecology.  Then we will hike through the rich forests of Camp Oty’Okwa to learn how to identify trees based on bark, shape, leaves and fruits. Presenter: Dave Nolan, retired Director of Conservation for Five Rivers MetroParks

Keepers of the Land – This session combines the Native American flair for storytelling with modern western understandings of science and education and help reacquaint children with the natural world and our relationships with it. It is a rather unique approach to guiding our children to a more sustainable future. The overall concept of our program is that our heritage affects our views, practices and use of our natural resources and environment. Conversely our historical and future use of our land is a reflection of and will be shaped by our myths, legends, customs, songs and art.” Presenter: John DeBoer, Steven Pope, Amalee Houk, Naturalists, Miami County Parks

Tuesday PM

Naturalists Panel – A session for all naturalists! Hear descriptions of programs being offered by other naturalists, discuss what makes a good program, knowing the needs of your audience, incorporating standards into your school programs, managing details for programming, and planning your programs for the year. Presenters: Steve McKee, Retired Director, Gorman Nature Center; Robyn Wright-Strauss, Chief Naturalist, Cincinnati Museum Center/Edge of Appalachia Preserve System; Joe Brehm, Education Director, Rural Action; Susan Condy, Naturalist, Miami County Parks; Marcey Shafer, Education Services Coordinator, Fairfield County Parks

Photosynthesis Fun with Floating Chads and Chromatography – This session is full. This session will begin with a review of several photosynthetic pigments to learn what they are and several of their functions that benefit plants.  Next participants will perform chromatography experiments and investigate the scientific principles involved in the process.  Lastly, participants will perform a photosynthetic experiment using leaf chads to investigate oxygen production.  After learning the base experiment, participants will manipulate the experimental variables to create an experiment of their own design.  The activities in this presentation can be adapted to meet the needs of elementary through high school students. Presenter: Jessica Niemantsverdriet, Biological Science Teacher, Medina High School

Marvelous Measurement – Looking for memorable, meaningful ways to teach measurement skills? Games, challenges and cooperative activities for grades 3-5. Many can be used indoors or outdoors and some relate to plants and animals. Presenter: Lauren Metcalf, 4th Grade Math Teacher, Vinton County Schools

Wednesday AM

Newcomb’s Wildflower ID – The overwhelming favorite wildflower book for most Midwest naturalists is Newcomb’s Wildflower Guide.  Although the book is loved for its ease of use, it helps to have someone walk you through its key system.  This session will teach the basics of Newcomb’s and then use it to practice identifying wildflowers around camp.  A few extra copies of the book will be available for use, but bring your own if you have one. Presenter: Steve McKee, Retired Director, Gorman Nature Center

Color Chemistry – Chemistry can seem like magic. This class explores that “magic” such as how color changing markers work. We will investigate color and pH, hydration and dehydration, alloy formation, and UV radiation exposure.  The activities can be adapted for various age levels. You may use them as demos to spark interest or as student investigations to find out the how or why of chemical and physical changes that affect the color of substances. Presenter: Betty Altfater, Retired High School Educator

Wahkeena Discovery and Exploration – Spend the day at Wahkeena Nature Preserve discovering new ways to engage young learners in the classroom, schoolyard, and wilderness. Presenters: Tom Shisler, Site Manager, Wahkeena Nature Preserve; Nora Steele, Naturalist, Wahkeena Nature Preserve; Marcey Shafer, Education Services Coordinator, Fairfield County Parks; Holly Borer, Kindergarten Teacher, Logan-Hocking Schools

Wednesday PM

A Wilderness Species- Rattlesnakes are amazing reptiles and a dynamic wilderness species! Learn about this Ohio reptile, the research that is being done in Ohio and the techniques used for this research.  You may even experience some surgery! Presenter: Doug Wynn, Visiting scholar, Ohio State University: Specialist – rattlesnake research

Ditch the GPS, You Have a Phone! – Help orient yourself in the woods, record data, and learn to incorporate GIS and GPS skills in the indoor and outdoor classroom using your smartphone. We will look at several free apps and try them out in the field as we wander off trail and explore Camp. Presenter: Joseph Moosbrugger, Assistant Preserve Manager, Crane Hollow Preserve

Thursday AM

Water Quality? Ask the Bugs! – Participants will receive one copy of the Project WET Sampler Guide. In groups of three or four (will vary based on numbers) each participant will be provided instruction and have the opportunity to work through the activity entitled Water Quality? Ask the Bugs! Preserved specimens will be on display and other resources will be made available from Project WET. Presenter: Dennis L. Clement, Ohio EPA, Office of EE and Project WET Statewide Coordinator

Bird Banding and ID – This session is full. In this session we will try to capture, examine, band, and release unharmed some of the breeding season resident birds of Camp Oty’Okwa. Done over time, this helps to answer some questions we have about the lives of these birds such as: How abundant are various species? How long might they live in the wild? Do the migrant birds return here from year to year? Whatever we can learn helps us both to be better naturalists/educators and more capable of sharing the wonders of birds with others. Presenter: Bob Placier, Retired, Hocking College; President Ohio Bird Banding

Tracking: The First Science – This session will focus on identifying tracks and sign of common Ohio animals through a brief slide show and time in the field. We will also demonstrate ways to engage younger students in mammal tracks and sign, such as making edible scat and plaster casts of animal tracks. Presenter: Joe Brehm, Environmental Education Director, Rural Action

Thursday PM

Ohio Environmental Education Fund (OEEF) Grant Writing – Participants will learn what makes a good Environmental Education (EE) grant application with do’s and don’ts of grant writing and learn about other resources available for funding on the local and national levels. Examples will be provided of OEEF funded EE applications. Presenter: Dennis L. Clement, Ohio EPA, Office of EE and Project WET Statewide Coordinator

Math and Science in the Forest: Engaging Students Through Research and Inquiry – Explore hands-on math and science-related activities that connect students to current forestry issues such as managing and sustaining healthy forests, balancing forest resources, water quality, wildlife habitat and recreation needs, and climate change impacts. This session will present field exercises and activities as well as research and monitoring techniques targeted for middle and high school students. Participants will be introduced to Project Learning Tree (PLT), an environmental education program which provides lesson plans and activities easily incorporated into existing curriculum. We will demonstrate using low-tech and low-cost tools for engaging math, biology, ecology, and physical science exercises in the forest. Presenters: Joanne Rebbeck, US Forest Service Researcher, Retired; Dave Apsley, Natural Resources Specialist, Ohio State University Extension; Jamie Dah, Forest Outreach Coordinator; Central State University Extension & McIntire-Stennis Program

Fish and Aquatic Insect ID in the Field – The aquatic life in a stream can tell you so much about water quality.  From this session, you will learn how to identify common species of fish and aquatic insects in a headwater stream and use this knowledge to determine if a stream is healthy.  You will also learn about stream habitat and what the fish and bugs need to survive. Presenter: Kelly Capuzzi, Ohio Certified Volunteer Naturalist (OCVN) for Hocking Hills Regions/OSU Extension

Friday All Day

Exploration and Discovery at Crane Hollow Preserve Please join us as we hike into Gold Mine and Early Hollows, part of Crane Hollow    Preserve.  The hike will showcase the beautiful oak forest above the cliffs to the picturesque northern hardwood-hemlock forest below.  We will discuss the ecology and the plant and animals found in these habitats, including those found by the ongoing breeding bird species count. This section of the Preserve contains a natural arch we can explore, interesting rockhouses, waterfalls, and cliffs.  Pack plenty of water for the trail.  The hike will be held rain or shine so dress appropriately for hiking and weather.  Your feet may get wet so wear waterproof shoes or bring a spare pair to change into.  Long pants and sturdy hiking shoes are recommended.   Feel free to bring a hiking stick or poles. Crane Hollow does not have an organized system of maintained hiking trails.  Participants need to be physically capable of hiking about 1.5 off-trail miles in sometimes strenuous terrain that includes rocks and steep slopes. Presenters: Heather Stehle, Executive Director, Preserve Manager, Crane Hollow Preserve; John Watts, Director of Education, Columbus and Franklin County Metro Parks

The Wonders of Hocking Hill Parks – This session will be a much more detailed look at the flora, fauna and geology that is the Hocking Hills.  Emphasis will be placed on teaching and sharing these natural features from an educator’s perspective.  Including hands on activities for educators to share.  This trip will also include a close look at the new Hocking Hills State Park Visitor Center. Presenter: Pat Quackenbush, Chief Naturalist, Hocking Hills Park Region

Glaciated Ohio – This Ohio geology tour explores kames, eskers, moraines and fens in glaciated Ohio. An all-day motor tour explores parts of glaciated Ohio that are pictured in textbooks. Since participants will have time to explore these areas – bring a camera to document the features in this amazing part of Ohio! Presenters: Tom Shisler: Director/ Educator/Naturalist, Wahkeena Nature Preserve, Fairfield County Park District and Paul Knoop: Retired Education Director, Aullwood Audubon Center and Farm.