Ashland University’s ‘Naturalist on Duty’ Events to Continue on Sept. 7

Ashland University’s ‘Naturalist on Duty’ Events to Continue on Sept. 7

8/28/19 ASHLAND, Ohio – The fourth event in Ashland University’s Environmental Studies Center’s “Naturalist on Duty” series will be held Saturday, Sept. 7, at the AU Black Fork Wetlands, 2628 Ashland Road. This event will feature the topic, “Birds and Birds Banding.”

The series is being held on one Saturday morning each month through the summer and fall, ending on Oct. 5. All events are free and open to the public and each open-house style event will be held between 10 a.m. and noon. Those under 16 should be accompanied by a parent or guardian. 

“With migration in full swing, the September ‘Naturalist on Duty’ program will focus on the vast array of birds that can be found in our Black Fork Wetlands,” said Dr. Patricia Saunders, associate professor of biology and director of the environmental science program. “Weather permitting, Professor Merrill Tawse will have mist nets set up to capture birds and demonstrate the how and why of bird banding. Professor Tawse is a master bander, a status that follows a rigorous training and certification process via the North American Bird Banding Program at Patuxent Wildlife Research Center.”

The remaining dates and topics for the series are:
- Sept. 7 -- birds and bird banding
- Oct. 5 -- fall insects

Saunders said the October event will focus on observation and natural histories for insect groups that thrive in the fall, such as grasshoppers, crickets, dragonflies and damselflies.

Saunders noted that the “Naturalist on Duty” series provides all with an opportunity to connect with nature in our own backyard and these informal, come-when-you-can style programs are short and flexible. “New this year, we are doing short programs each hour that focus on basic features of the organisms. These are helpful for identifying groups and common local examples. We will also have an art table that relates to our theme for kids of all ages,” she said.
Saunders worked together with Amanda Kriner (AU environmental science and biology graduate in the class of 2013) of the Richland County Park District to develop the Naturalist on Duty program, now in its fourth year. Trained volunteers from the Ohio Certified Volunteer Naturalist program are recruited as guides for some events.

“You also will have an opportunity to see the Environmental Studies Center’s wetlands classroom, 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 our events.”

Ashland University, which has been ranked in the top tier of colleges and universities in U.S. News and World Report’s National Universities category, is a mid-sized, comprehensive private university conveniently located a short distance from Akron, Cleveland and Columbus, Ohio. Religiously affiliated with the Brethren Church, Ashland University ( deeply 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. ###