Ashland University’s ‘Naturalist on Duty’ Series Continues with Focus on Birds and Bird Banding

Ashland University’s ‘Naturalist on Duty’ Series Continues with Focus on Birds and Bird Banding

9/6/18 ASHLAND, Ohio – Ashland University’s Environmental Studies Center located at the AU Black Fork Wetlands, 2636 Ashland Road, will continue with its “Naturalist on Duty” events on Saturday, Sept. 15. This month’s event will focus on “Birds and Bird Banding.”

“This ‘Naturalist on Duty’ series provides all with an opportunity to connect with nature in our own backyard,” said Dr. Patricia Saunders, AU associate professor of biology and director of the environmental science program. The informal, come-when-you-can style programs are short and flexible and are being held one Saturday a month this summer and fall. All events are free and open to the public.

Each program provides an opportunity for those of all ages to learn about “Seasonality and Change.” 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. 

The dates and topics for the remaining events in the series are:

  • Sept. 15, birds and bird banding;
  • Oct. 13, insects and microscopic life.

Dr. Saunders said the Sept. 15 program will focus on the birds that frequent this wetland ecosystem. “Professor Merrill Tawse will demonstrate the how’s and why’s 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,” she said.

Saunders worked together with Amanda Kriner (AU environmental science and biology graduate class of 2013) of the Richland County Park District to develop the Naturalist on Duty program, now in its third year. In addition to AU faculty, 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, 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 the events.”

Ashland University, ranked in the top tier of colleges and universities in U.S. News and World Report’s National Universities category for 2018, 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. ###