Ashland University Environmental Studies Center to Host ‘Naturalist on Duty’ Program

Ashland University Environmental Studies Center to Host ‘Naturalist on Duty’ Program

5/3/16 ASHLAND, Ohio – Ashland University’s Environmental Studies Center located at the AU Black Fork Wetlands, 2628 Ashland Road, will host a “Naturalist on Duty” event every second Saturday this summer. All four events are free and open to the public.

The informal, come-when-you-can programs provide an opportunity for those of all ages to learn about “Seasonality and Change in Wetland Habitats.” Each will be held between 12 noon and 3 p.m. on May 14, June 11, July 9 and Aug. 13. Those under 16 should be accompanied by a parent or guardian. 

Dr. Patricia Saunders, associate professor of biology and director of the environmental science program, worked together with Amanda Kriner (AU environmental science and biology graduate class of 2013) of the Richland County Park District to develop this program. They recruited trained volunteers to answer questions and talk about seasonal changes in the wetland and surrounding habitats, including local plants in bloom and changes in animal activity.

According to Saunders, the discussions might include awakening from hibernation, wetland flooding, seasonal metamorphosis, mating seasons, bird migrations and the peak times for highly anticipated flowers.

“You also will have an opportunity to see the Environmental Studies Center’s new wetlands classroom, complete with bathrooms, and learn a little more about this eco-friendly building,” Saunders said. “The boardwalk, observation tower, and most of all, the beauty and diversity of the Black Fork Wetlands will guarantee that you see something different every single time you come out. So bring the whole family, and join us for all four events.”

Ashland University, ranked in the top 200 colleges and universities in U.S. News and World Report’s National Universities category for 2016, is a mid-sized, private university conveniently located a short distance from Akron, Cleveland and Columbus, Ohio. Ashland University ( values the individual student and offers a unique educational experience that combines the challenge of strong, applied academic programs with a faculty and staff who build nurturing relationships with their students.   

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