News

  1. Catching Fish, Making Memories - Passport to Fishing Instructors Needed

    Sep 22, 2012

    Many OCVN's from across the state already support this program, but more certified instructors are needed to help the Ohio Department of Natural Resources get the word out about Fishing!

    This video shows how much fun fishing is for Kids!  http://vimeo.com/99180821

    Visit Passport to Fishing for details: http://wildlife.ohiodnr.gov/education-and-outdoor-discovery/aquatic-education

    The ODNR Passport to Fishing program provides skills, techniques and information that allows any beginning anglers to start fishing in there own communities. The program consists of four stations focusing on hands on participation and a strong conservation message. Passport to Fishing has been proven to be a successful youth education campaign. Straight forward, effective, inexpensive and FUN, the Passport to Fishing program is designed to be: Appealing to various age and interest groups Adjustable to highlight activities and species unique to a particular region Appropriate to any skill and education level Adaptable to any setting whether inside or at the waters edge Accessible throughout the year For more information on how you can become a Passport to Fishing instructor, contact your local Wildlife District Office.

  2. Butler County added to State Quarantine Issued to Protect Ohio's Walnut Trees from Thousand Cankers Disease- Dec 26, 2013

    Sep 18, 2012

     

    FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

     

     

    OHIO DEPARTMENT OF AGRICULTURE ADDS BUTLER COUNTY TO THOUSAND CANKERS DISEASE QUARANTINE

    State taking measures to protect Ohio’s walnut trees

     

    REYNOLDSBURG, OH (Dec. 19, 2013) – In an effort to protect the trees of Ohio, the Ohio Department of Agriculture (ODA) has added Butler County to the state’s Thousand Cankers Disease (TCD) quarantine regulating the transportation of walnut tree products and firewood. The quarantine in Butler County goes into effect Dec. 26.

     

    TCD primarily affects black walnut trees, as well as other species of walnut, and is caused by a fungus transported by the walnut twig beetle.  The walnut twig beetle spreads the fungus when it bores into the branches and trunk tissue of walnut trees, which are killed by repeated infections by the fungus. There is no known treatment for TCD. The disease was first found in Colorado in 2003 and has since been detected in 13 other states. In 2012 ODA enacted an exterior state quarantine regulating the transportation of walnut products from areas of the affected states.

    The quarantine prohibits anyone from removing regulated materials from Butler County. Regulated materials include walnut nursery stock, unprocessed walnut lumber, or any other walnut material, such as logs, stumps, roots, branches, mulch, wood chips, and any firewood.

    The quarantine does not apply to nuts, nut meats, hulls, processed lumber (bark-free and kiln-dried) and finished wood products without bark, such as walnut furniture, instruments and gun stocks.

    Landowners and homeowners are strongly encouraged to watch for signs of TCD on their walnut trees.

    Symptoms of TCD vary, but commonly include thinning crowns, yellowing or wilted leaves in the crown and limbs that died recently.

     

    Individuals who have questions regarding the quarantine or see any suspicious signs on their walnut trees are encouraged to contact ODA at 614-728-6270 or by email at plantpest@agri.ohio.gov.

     

    -30-

     

    Media Contact: ODA Communications Office, 614-752-9817

    News Release posted at: http://www.agri.ohio.gov/public_docs/news/2013/12.20.13%20Butler%20County%20TCD%20Quarantine.pdf

     

    This Notice Previously posted on the OCVN website - Sept. 2012

    OHIO DEPARTMENT OF AGRICULTURE ISSUES EXTERIOR STATE QUARANTINE TO PROTECT OHIO’S WALNUT TREES effective Sept. 6, 2012. ODA Initial Notice to Public - May 22, 2012 State Aims to Prevent the Introduction of Thousand Cankers Disease REYNOLDSBURG, Ohio (May 22, 2012) ‐ In an effort to protect the walnut trees of Ohio, The Ohio Department of Agriculture (ODA) is proposing an exterior state quarantine regulating the transportation of walnut products from areas of twelve other states to prevent the introduction of Thousand Cankers Disease (TCD) to Ohio’s walnut trees. TCD primarily affects black walnut trees, as well as other species of walnut, and is caused by a fungus transported by the walnut twig beetle. The Walnut Twig Beetle spreads the fungus when it bores into the branches and trunk tissue of walnut trees, which are killed by repeated infections by the fungus. TCD was first found in Colorado in 2003, and has since been detected in eleven other states. These states include parts of Arizona, California, Idaho, Nevada, New Mexico, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Tennessee, Utah, Virginia and Washington. Walnut materials originating from infested counties within these states will be regulated under the exterior state quarantine. The quarantine would restrict walnut materials from entering Ohio from areas where TCD has become established. Restricted products originating from or traveling through the regulated areas include walnut nursery stock, unprocessed walnut lumber, or any other walnut material, such as logs, stumps, roots, branches, mulch, wood chips, other products created from walnut trees, and hardwood firewood. Exemptions to quarantine are nuts, nut meats, hulls, processed lumber (100 percent bark‐free, kilndried with square edges) and finished wood products without bark, such as walnut furniture, instruments and gun stocks. Although not yet detected in Ohio, landowners and homeowners are strongly encouraged to watch for signs of TCD on their walnut trees. Symptoms of TCD vary, but commonly include thinning crowns, yellowing or wilted leaves in the crown, leaves that are smaller than normal and recently dead limbs. Individuals who see any suspicious signs on their walnut trees are encouraged to contact ODA at 614‐ 728‐6270 or by email at plantpest@agri.ohio.gov.

    ‐30‐ Media Contact: Brett Gates, Public Information Officer, 614‐752‐9817

    http://www.agri.ohio.gov/public_docs/news/2012/05.22.12%20Ohio%20Thousan...

  3. BATS: Fact or Fiction?

    Sep 13, 2012

    Marne Titchenell - Wildlife Program Specialist with the Ohio State Extension shares some interesting facts regarding bats that inhabit  the Buckeye State.

    Did You Know?

    -  Bats are the #1 predator of night flying insects

    -  Bats consume 30-50 % of their Body weight each night

    - One Big Brown Bat can eat 9 million insects per year

    - Over 1000 species of bats worldwide

    - 25% of all mammal species are bats

    -Eleven species of Bats in Ohio

  4. The Endangered Timber Rattlesnake

    Sep 11, 2012

    Timber Rattlesnake, Crotalus horridus, Scioto Co., OH August 18, 2012

    http://vimeo.com/84218006

    Eastern America's Fading Music - Castanet of the Woods

    by Nancy Stranahan - Arc of Appalachia Preserve System

    http://www.arcofappalachia.org/nature-notes/timber-rattlesnake.html

                                                                                     Photo Courtesy of Wild Ohio

    I remember the first time I saw a timber rattlesnake. I had recently lost any chance of being popular in high school when I came out of the closet as an avowed lover of herps. It was hard to say what I loved the best among them - the wondrous native lizards and newts, turtles and frogs - but certainly snakes were among my favorites. I held all my cold-blooded friends in great esteem – the gentle arboreal black snakes, liquid-flowing green snakes, diminutive ringnecks, shining milk snakes, and the aloof racers that moved like the wind and didn’t suffer fools gladly. They all felt as innocent, strangely dry, natural and earthy as a handful of rocks. And every bit as beautiful as semi-polished stones. As far as I was concerned, there weren’t nearly enough of them in my corner of the world. I wasn’t prepared for the energy of my first encounter with a timber rattlesnake, one of only three poisonous species historically found in Ohio – all of them now quite rare, and two species endangered. I was only 18 years old at the time, which dates this memory as occurring a full forty years ago. Lying before me – through the scratched glass of a plexi-glass window – was a snake of a different "timbre." Its midnight-brown and mustard-gold keeled scales swirled in front of my eyes, a strategy that had evolved over millions of years to disrupt the mammalian eye’s ability to note boundaries. "Right there is where the leaf litter stops, and there is where the snake begins," is the perception the snake’s patterns strive to confuse. In the snake’s subtle shadings, it spoke of the forest floor – of shadows, patchy sunlight, rich earthy loam, and decaying leaves. There was a feeling of stillness about its body, as if it were almost as unaccustomed to movement as a fallen log, while the non-reflective matte of its large scales looked as rough as bark. I saw something noble and elegant its cat-like vertical pupils and the heaviness of its resting head, improbably large compared to its delicate neck and large-girthed body. Above all there was a feeling of distance and inapproachability. The forest ecosystem in which it evolved was at least 35 million years old, arguably even older. The timber rattlesnake had shared this forest with its co-evolving mammals for unknown eons, but only alongside humans for the last 16,000 years or so. The poison in its glands had arisen in a world absent of primates, both human and ape. For the vast proportion of its existence, this species has had no need for humanity. But now, if it were to survive the next few centuries, it desperately needed human advocates. The man with the snake lifted the lid of the cage and the serpent suddenly became alert and tense. It lifted its head, and its tail went vertical. The hollow tail segments begin to rattle like a castanet. It was an ancient sound, a message of warning yet one surprisingly pleasant to my ears. I had never before heard a rattler, but I was familiar with the musical instruments it had inspired. In my mind, this timber rattlesnake was not just of the forest, but in some turn of my thinking it WAS the forest, or at least a part of it. Seeing it separated from its tiered and pillared world, lying there in that tiny cage, destined to go who knew where, to adjust to domesticity or not, I felt the prescience of greater environmental tragedies of which I was yet to learn. But the seeds of my future vocation of land preservation – not to blossom until a full twenty two years hence – were partially sown in this animal’s presence. Today, thanks to research done on the timber rattlesnake by a number of devoted scientists across the Eastern Forest, we know a lot more about timber rattlesnakes than in the era of my first encounter. We know why, for instance, the species is doing so poorly. Their problems throughout the Eastern Forest began soon after the arrival of European immigrants and the iron plow. Few rattlesnake dens in Ohio lasted long after statehood was declared in 1803. As the forests were cleared for agriculture, rattlesnakes and farmers mixed like oil and water. Timber rattlesnakes are delicate creatures that live on the knife edge of an extremely meager calorie reserve. Their prey is opportunistic, but among the rodents, they commonly eat young gray squirrels, flying squirrels, white-footed mice, and chipmunks. How does a grounded reptile catch an aerial squirrel? If the life of rattlers could represent one human virtue, it would be patience. When hungry, a timber rattlesnake slowly flicks its smell-sensitive tongue at its surroundings until it discovers a fallen log actively serving as a rodent trail. Even a squirrel prefers to double his speed along a smooth log runway than to hop over obstacles on the forest floor. If the rattlesnake approves of the species at hand, and determines the trace is active, it coils up next to the log, rests its head on the curve of the bark, and waits… and waits. It can wait for up to a week in this ambush pose, never moving at all. Sometimes a chipmunk or a deer mouse flashes by and the rattler strikes and misses. But when the hapless rodent finally makes a fatal dash down the log, it finds itself suddenly punctured by two fangs that can hinge forward with special muscles. Punching the rodent like two hypodermic needles, the hollow teeth rapidly inject a dose of poison. It all takes place in a fraction of a second. The victim usually dies within a few minutes, and is not approached by the snake to swallow until it is safely dead. You could say this predator’s artful assemblage of food-gathering organs, including infrared detectors, constitutes a definite strategy for conflict avoidance. As a viable species, the timber rattlesnake, Crotalus horridus (literally the horrible castanet), is in serious trouble. In almost every state within its original range, it has protected status, but state regulations haven’t been able to halt its continued decline. In Ohio, populations are just barely hanging on. You can still find them in small numbers in four state forests in southern Ohio, and they may already be doomed in half of those four. The situation is even more severe in Indiana and Illinois. The key to timber rattlesnake success is the security of their communal winter den sites. Den sites must have a nearly perfect assortment of features in terms of directional exposure, elevation, moisture content, rock presence, looseness of soil, and degree of slope. Some elements of the environment a mammal is able to create with its own body, or designs with its nesting constructions, have to be found ready-made in the exterior environment of timber rattlesnakes – and such dens aren’t easy to find nor replace. Consequently, timber rattlesnakes have been found to be extremely loyal to the den sites in which they were birthed. If removed from that site, or if that den is destroyed, they burn up survival calories trying to re-locate it. During the summer season, rattlesnakes don’t often move more than a mile or two away from their den site, so in every sense of the concept, their winter den is the geographic axis of their world. Resting on such a slim calorie budget, timber rattlesnakes are slow reproducers and are thus slow to respond to catastrophic drops in their populations. In a world without mowers and automobiles, adults could be expected to live 25-50 years. A female is six years old before she can produce her first set of live young. After that, females only have enough calorie excesses to give birth once every four years, producing only 6-10 babies at a time. The expectation that each of those babies will live more than five years is only one in fifteen. If you put all this data together and do the math, a timber rattlesnake den has to have a minimum of thirty snakes in order to have a chance of being sustainable. A couple hundred individuals would be a lot safer. When’s the last time you walked through the woods and found a den of thirty rattlesnakes? Meanwhile, researchers are racing to learn what rattlesnakes need in order to survive. We now know they probably do best in mature oak-hickory forests, where mast crops are present to support high rodent populations. They need immense undisturbed forest tracts where their dens can stay secret from unethical snake collectors and people who intend harm. They apparently don’t do well in clear cuts of any forest type. Presumably they need forests with enough age and structure to provide sufficient fallen logs on the forest floor for rodent runways. The landscape must include, of course, ideal den sites. Perhaps you’ve already deduced, like we have, that the missions of the Arc of Appalachia, when applied to the right geography, in juxtaposition with the larger state forests that have so far kept the species going, could be of great benefit to the timber rattlesnake. It is the Arc’s mission to bring the past back to life, primarily in terms of historic natural landscapes, and secondarily in terms of remembering the ancient peoples who once called the Eastern Forest their home. By protecting and restoring habitat for the oldest natives of the Eastern Forest – those of tooth, claw and rattle – eras of human history can be remembered in the context of a living landscape, which is each human culture’s cradle and its final resting place, whether nature is consciously honored by that culture or not. Perhaps a culture’s most important legacy is how well it cared for its cradle. We can’t think of any animal more critical to the vision of wilderness restoration in the eastern United States than the timber rattlesnake. Crotalus horridus. Horrible in its majesty. Terrible in its beauty. Window into mystery. Author Nancy Stranahan wishes to thank researcher Doug Wynn for supplying many of the natural history facts in this article. He is completely innocent of any unscientific musings, metaphors, and memories that may grace this piece. Recently retired, he taught high school biology for 35 years, most of that service in the Westerville City Schools. When he wasn’t teaching, Doug devoted much of his remaining time to the study and conservation of the timber rattlesnake in Ohio, work that he actively continues today. He currently remains working as a contract biologist for the Ohio Division of Wildlife. http://www.arcofappalachia.org/nature-notes/timber-rattlesnake.html

  5. Hummingbird Feeders - A Helping Hand for the Long Journey Ahead

    Sep 9, 2012

    Flower and nectar supplies for hummingbirds and butteflies have been very good this summer due to the abundant rain and cooler than normal temperatures most of the state has experienced. 

    It is not too late to give our hummingbird friends a "helping hand" to prepare for the long journey ahead. 

    This article from Buckeye Lawn and Garden August 30, 2012 http://bygl.osu.edu/content/hummingbird-migration-0

    Hummingbirds are getting ready to start their thousands of miles migration to Central America - in fact, male hummingbirds have already started on this journey and may have left as early as the beginning of August. From now until mid-October, numbers of Ohio's only hummingbird, the ruby-throated hummingbird, may increase at feeders and in flower gardens as this tiny hovering bird travels south. Migration is an extremely difficult journey, especially for such a small bird, but hummingbirds able to find good supplies of nectar or feeders have an easier time of it. Now would be the time to restock hummingbird feeders, and perhaps put a few more out. Hummingbirds can be very territorial, especially over food, so locate feeders around yards where hummingbirds can't see each other (i.e. on each side of the house). Fill feeders with a mixture of 4 parts water to 1 part white sugar that has been boiled 1 - 2 minutes and cooled. Change the mixture weekly or before it gets cloudy. During hot weeks, feeders may need to be changed 2 - 3 times. Feeders should be cleaned weekly with soapy water or a mixture of 4 parts water to 1 part white vinegar. Grains of rice can be placed in the feeder with the vinegar mixture and shaken to clean the inside of the feeder. Male ruby-throats are an emerald green, with grey-white chests and brilliant ruby red throat patches. Identification can be tricky on a cloudy day, when the male's throat patch will appear gray without the sun to reflect the ruby color. The females are similar in appearance to the males minus the ruby throat patch.

     

    Happy Birding!

    For More Information: Cornell Lab of Ornithology's All About Birds - Ruby-throated Hummingbird http://www.allaboutbirds.org/guide/Ruby-throated_Hummingbird/id

    More Migration information at: http://hummingbirds.net/ http://hummingbirds.net/migration.html

  6. White-Nosed Syndrome - A Deadly Disease of Bats - OSU Extension Releases New Fact Sheet

    Sep 1, 2012

    White-nose syndrome (WNS) has caused unprecedented mortality in hibernating bats in eastern North America. This previously unknown disease has spread rapidly since its discovery in New York in 2007, and poses a threat to hibernating bats throughout the continent. In 2010, DNA indicative of the fungus Geomyces destructans, the pathogen demonstrated to cause WNS, was detected on bats as far west as Missouri and Oklahoma. The disease, WNS, and/or the fungus, G. destructans, has now been detected on bats at over 200 hibernacula in 19 states and 4 Canadian provinces. An assessment of wintering populations at 42 hibernacula across 5 northeastern states revealed a total loss of 88% of all bats in sites that have been affected for more than 2 years, with colony losses at some sites exceeding 99%. While our understanding of this disease has improved considerably, there are many questions that remain to be answered. The nature of remnant bat populations in the affected area has not yet been determined, and the potential for resistance within affected species has not been demonstrated. We also do not know the actual distribution of G. destructans on the landscape and lack the tools to manage the fungus once it becomes established. A coordinated effort is required to manage WNS and conserve North American bats, and there are over 100 state and federal agencies, tribes, universities, institutions, organizations, and private entities involved with the organized response. The National Plan for Assisting States, Federal Agencies and Tribes in Managing White-Nose Syndrome in Bats, finalized in May 2011, provides the framework for a coordinated national response. OSU Extension White Nose Syndrome Fact Sheet - http://ohioline.osu.edu/w-fact/pdf/W_22_12.pdf ODNR Video White Nose Syndrome in Bats - http://www.dnr.state.oh.us/Default.aspx?tabid=24150 Other sources of WNS information: http://www.whitenosesyndrome.org/ http://www.nwhc.usgs.gov/disease_information/white-nose_syndrome/ White-Nose Syndrome in Bats: Current Status of Knowledge and Management of a Novel Wildlife Disease — A special presentation by Ann Froschauer, National WNS Communications Leader, US Fish & Wildlife Service, was held at the Ohio State University on Thursday, March 29, 2012. http://senr.osu.edu/images/Froschauer_OSU_2012.pdf
  7. The Birds of Ohio - Armchair Ornithologist - Wearing Yellow

    Jun 5, 2012

  8. Forest Health Summary for Ohio

    Jan 9, 2012

    http://fhm.fs.fed.us/fhh/fhh_12/OH_FHH_2012.pdf

    This summary is primarily generated from information provided by State Forest Health Programs within the Northeast Region Forest Health Highlights

    View all 50 states at (http://fhm.fs.fed.us/fhh/fhmusamap.shtml

     

  9. Visit The Lake Erie Birding Trail

    Dec 21, 2011

    Welcome to the Lake Erie Birding Trail. Covering the entire 312 miles of Ohio shoreline, from Conneaut to Toledo, the trail includes the lake’s greatest birding locales. The Lake Erie shore and its immediate environs offer some of the best birding in the Great Lakes region.

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