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

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



5/8/18 ASHLAND, Ohio – Ashland University’s Environmental Studies Center located at the AU Black Fork Wetlands, 2628 Ashland Road, will host six “Naturalist on Duty” events on one Saturday a month this summer and fall. All six events are free and open to the public.

The informal, come-when-you-can style programs are short and flexible. Each 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 series are:
• May 19, birds and birding 101;
• June 9, frogs and wetlands;
• July 21, dragonflies, damselflies and iNaturalist;
• Aug. 18, pollinators and prairies;
• Sept. 15, birds and bird banding;
• Oct. 13, insects and microscopic life.
“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. “Our first event will focus on the birds. Many species are more visible during this busy time of year.”

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 starting its third 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, 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 six 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. ###