OCVN Sam Sapp, Singer/Songwriter

Nov. 16, 2016

Sam Sapp has been an OCVN with the Cuyahoga Valley Chapter since 2010.  Upon retiring in 2009, he started taking lessons playing the mountain dulcimer.  At that time he was volunteering with Summit Metro Parks leading adults and school groups on nature hikes.

In 2013 he was challenged by his dulcimer teacher to compose some songs.  He chose to write about local animals found in northeast Ohio.  His first song was entitled 'Slug and I.'  The project took on a life of its own and, eventually over three years, he has composed 24 nature songs and produced two CDs (Songs from the Woods and Songs from the Woods Too.  (These CD's and companion book are now available in the The Wilderness Center Nature Store.)

The lyrics for Sam's songs are intentionally educational as well as entertaining.  In 2015 he connected with freelance naturalist Sarah Matheny and together they developed a "Nature Happening" called Songs and "Tails" from the Woods. In the program Sam sings his nature songs along with accompanying slide shows.  This is followed by interactive discussion where the audience discovers more about the native plant or animal in question.  To date there have been over 40 performances.  A majority of their programs are offered free of charge thus providing him volunteer opportunities. Some venues include grade schools, pre-schools, senior citizen groups, scouts, church groups, public libraries, and nature centers while spreading the naturalist message.  In 2016 alone Sam has accummulated over 200 OCVN volunteer hours total, 80 of these hours being from Songs and "Tails" from the Woods programs. Sam was fortunate to discover a talent that could be used to foster environmental education along with volunteer service. His hope is to inspire other OCVN members to explore their talents and do something similar. Visit Sam's website at www.sammytunes.com.

Sarah Matheny is currently a freelance naturalist and environmental chemist. Sarah is a former interpretive park naturalist, aquatic biologist, environmental consultant, and water quality technician. She holds a Bachelor of Science in biology and a Master of Science in natural resources and environmental management. Her passion is environmental stewardship through the connection of all ages with the natural world through education and positive interaction with the natural world. She is an outdoor enthusiast,  avid birder, nature photographer, native plant gardener, and world traveler. Sarah resides in Akron, Ohio. Her favorite local wildlife is the Green Darner dragonfly.