AU Environmental Studies Center to Host ‘Naturalist on Duty’ Program Oct. 14

AU Environmental Studies Center to Host ‘Naturalist on Duty’ Program Oct. 14

10/4/17 ASHLAND, Ohio – Ashland University’s Environmental Studies Center located at the AU Black Fork Wetlands Preserve, 2638 Ashland Road, will host its fifth and final “Naturalist on Duty” program for this year on Oct. 14. All of these Saturday events are free and open to the public.

The informal, come-when-you-can programs provide an opportunity for explorers of all ages to learn about “Seasonality and Change in Wetland Habitats.” Each event is held between 10 a.m. and noon. 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 at AU, said the Oct. 14 program will focus on fall insects and microscopic life in the wetland.

“This time of year, many insect groups are still as busy as they can be. We can still watch pollinators, grasshoppers, dragonflies and many other groups,” she said. “Especially if the morning is rainy, we will collect from the wetland, both above and below the water, and bring examples indoors for up-close observation using microscopes.”
Saunders worked together with Amanda Kriner (AU environmental science and biology graduate class of 2013) of the Richland County Park District to develop the program, which was started last summer. They recruited trained Ohio Certified Volunteer Naturalists to answer questions and lead small groups.

The Environmental Studies Center includes the marsh habitat surrounding the boardwalk, streams that flow into the Black Fork of the Mohican River, and prairie habitat along the path to the boardwalk.

“This natural variety is good for many kinds of plants and animals,” Saunders said. “We are also pleased to share the Environmental Studies Center’s eco-friendly wetlands classroom. The boardwalk, observation tower, and most of all, the beauty and diversity of the Black Fork Wetlands guarantee something different every day. We encourage repeat visits.”

Ashland University, ranked in the top tier of colleges and universities in U.S. News and World Report’s National Universities category for 2017, is a mid-sized, private university conveniently located a short distance from Akron, Cleveland and Columbus, Ohio. 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.   ###

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