Focuses on topics related to conservation in our area.

Conservation Corner: Diversity in Nature

A 2009 survey by the National Parks Service found that of all ethnic groups, African Americans were least likely to have visited one of our national parks in the preceding ten years. That’s a particularly soul-crushing stat when you consider that our nation’s very first park rangers were the Buffalo Soldiers, the all-black military battalions who’d already risked their lives for a country that at times barely qualified them as humans. Yet these men were the ones who literally carved out the roads and trails in then-fledgling Yosemite and Sequoia National Parks, then set about protecting both visitors and the land and wildlife as well. It was a mission made especially challenging in the face of that era’s entrenched racism.

Numbers aside, for us to assume that there is a fundamental disconnect between the outdoors and African Americans is wrongheaded and dangerous idea. And Rue Mapp is working to change all that.

Rue Mapp is an activist, writer, community organizer, member of the Outdoor Industry Association’s board of directors, a California State Park Commissioner. She’s the winner, alongside President Bill Clinton, of the 2014 National Wildlife Federation Communication award, been anointed one of the most influential African Americans in the country by The Root 100, and, in 2015, was one of Family Circlemagazine’s 20 Most Influential Moms. She’s also worked with First Lady Michelle Obama on her “Let’s Move” program, and is a program officer for the Stewardship Council’s Foundation for Youth Development. The list goes on. But, primarily, she’s the founder and CEO of Outdoor Afro, where she oversees a specially trained volunteer leadership team who’s focus is inspiring and celebrating African American’s connections to, and leadership in, nature.

Read the full article in the Daily Beast

 

2017-01-13T02:59:04+00:00 Categories: Conservation Corner, Director's Blog, OAC News|

Conservation Corner: Cincinnati Zoo’s Living Classroom

Cincinnati Zoo and Botanical Garden’s Living Classroom Education Access Fund provides an amazing way for students at under-resourced schools to get some valuable hands-on learning. Through this unique program, local children are able to visit the Zoo and Botanical Garden for free and even spend the night while they see how nature interacts during the day and at night.

According to WCPO, “Nearly 18,000 students from under-resourced schools took part in free educational field trips to the zoo last year. In addition, 855 students spent the night for free as part of the Nocturnal Adventure Program. The charitable program is designed to bridge the gap, making hands-on learning available to all students.”

Read More from WCPO Insider Here

2017-01-13T02:59:04+00:00 Categories: Conservation Corner, Director's Blog, OAC News|

Conservation Corner: Why You Should Care About the ‘Find Your Park’ Campaign

Here’s what you need to know about the largest marketing campaign in National Parks history

The National Park Service doesn’t turn 100 until August 2016, but the celebration took off in earnest a few weeks ago with the launch of Find Your Park, a multimedia marketing campaign with the goal of making the National Parks System a destination for millennials (who records show aren’t visiting National Parks nearly as much as the generations before them) and urban dwellers.

Their plan is to give Park diehards a direct platform to pull newbies into the outdoors. “To preach the gospel about being active in these incredible places, Find Your Park equips our veteran explorers with a mobile and online sharing platform to use with the tools they already have, like their smartphones and apps,” says Clarence Fluker, Centennial Public Affairs Specialist at the National Park Service.

To do your part, visit FindYourPark.com, a site where visitors can upload photos and videos illustrating their national park experiences in hopes they will impact and inspire others to do the same. Kiosks that are appearing in cities around America, will display your work. Then take the “quiz,” really a series of three questions about your ability level, interests, and location that will suggest Park ideas, or if you allow the website to know your location, it will spit out suggestions based on where you are. Hit up the website’s Download Center, which offers free guides including The Places Nobody Knows (off the beaten path parks), 25 Unforgettable National Park Hikes, and Gimme Shelter (where you can sleep in and around National Parks).

Last year saw the highest number of national park visits in history, with 292.8 million visits. But the NPS expects to surpass that number in 2015 and 2016.

Read the full article from OutsideOnline here

2017-01-13T02:59:04+00:00 Categories: Conservation Corner, Director's Blog, OAC News|

Conservation Corner: How Leaves Turn Colors

The fall colors have been in the leaves all along, but they were masked by chlorophyll, a green pigment that combines with sunlight to produce food in the form of sugars for tree growth. It might surprise you to know that this rebirth of color is caused by fewer hours of daylight, not “Jack Frost.” A “chemical clock” activated by shorter days tells trees to shut down chlorophyll production in preparation for winter. So in the fall, trees use chlorophyll faster than it’s produced. This removes the green mask and the brilliant fall color show begins.

Fall color typically peaks in mid-to-late October. Because Southern Ohio and Kentucky have such a diverse climate and soil composition, many tree species common to both northern and southern states grow here. This provides a variety of fall colors for us to enjoy as we walk or drive through state and local parks and national forests.

Read the Full Article by Mike Klahr (Cincinnati.com) Here

2017-01-13T02:59:05+00:00 Categories: Conservation Corner, Director's Blog, OAC News|

Special Report: Students Learn Aquatic Science

OACGC Students Knee Deep in Aquatic Science
Written by: Bethany Hellmann, OACGC Education Specialist

For years, the Outdoor Adventure Club of Greater Cincinnati (OACGC) has provided a safe place for students to have fun, explore and connect with nature. This year, OACGC initiated a new educational component to its outdoor programming, entitled Lunch & Learn. After their morning outdoor activity, students learn about a topic related to the day’s activity.

For instance, on kayaking trips, OACGC Education Specialist, Bethany Hellmann, teaches students about the importance of water quality monitoring through an interactive presentation along the Little Miami Riverbank. She then leads a field study in and about the river. Students from Greater Cincinnati Area schools enjoy getting their feet wet (literally) on the subject of water quality. Students learn to use a Secchi disk, which determines the river’s turbidity/cloudiness, capture several temperature readings upstream, midstream and downstream, and use pH strips to assess the acidity of the water. Students also collect live river organisms called aquatic macroinvertebrates. Students use nets (and sometimes their bare hands!) to catch dozens of healthy, red crawfish, enormous freshwater clams, damselfly nymphs and water pennies. Students use Identification sheets to classify each captured organism. All aquatic macroinvertebrates are humanely released back into the Little Miami River.

During the recent kayaking adventures in September, the students concluded from their water quality monitoring and scientific observations that the Little Miami River falls within the ideal pH range for river water of 6.5 to 8.5, and has reasonably low turbidity/cloudiness. Collection of pollution intolerant aquatic macroinvertebrates also indicates low levels of pollution. Overall, the Little Miami River appears to support a healthy ecosystem!

It was great to see students demonstrate their leadership abilities, teamwork and scientific observation skills in these water monitoring activities. Indeed, we have found many budding environmental scientists in our midst!

Conservation Corner: CBC Launches Diversity Initiative

The Center for Biodiversity Conservation has launched a groundbreaking initiative to create more diversity in the field of conservation science.

The field of conservation biology aims to address the challenges that threaten the persistence of biodiversity. Today’s complex conservation challenges require input and analysis from a variety of voices, vantage points, and expertise.

The present day conservation workforce does not, however, reflect the potential diversity that could be brought to bear to address complex conservation issues. Some racial, ethnic, and cultural groups remain underrepresented in the conservation field, due to a combination of historical, financial, educational, and social barriers.

Read the full article here.

2017-01-13T02:59:06+00:00 Categories: Conservation Corner, Director's Blog, OAC News|

Conservation Corner: Glen Helen Preserve Protected

(Associated Press) A nature preserve and outdoor education center in Yellow Springs, Ohio has been placed under permanent protection.  Two conservation easements have designated the entire 1,000-acre Glen Helen property to be preserved and open to the public indefinitely.

The Tecumseh Land Trust, a nonprofit that preserves land near Dayton, holds two conservation easements for the property and monitors it. Antioch College in Yellow Springs remains the owner of the property.

Officials with the Trust for Public Land Ohio office say the Glen cannot be commercially or residentially developed and its natural resources cannot be extracted.

More than $1.6 million funded the two easements.

The property has a 20-mile network of footpaths and includes a section of the Great.

Read the full article The Dayton Daily News