Some of our favorite work to do at MAD are ecological surveys. They often involve all staff members, who each specialize in collecting a certain type of data: aquatic biota, terrestrial insects, herptiles, wetland delineation, stream characterization, plant inventory, bird identification, cover mapping, etc. Basically, we get to be happy ecologists in the field, making lists, taking photographs, and mapping habitats. More than that though, we get to use this information to help clients determine what they have and what they can do with their properties. Oftentimes clients need this information for a baseline survey if the property is being put under easement or covenant. Other times, land managers wan to know where opportunities lie for restoration or where to avoid disturbance if rare species […]
This year brought another opportunity to study plant communities in Hamilton County (Cincinnati area), Ohio. Jenny Adkins led the effort, visiting over 75 plots twice throughout the growing season in order to catch fleeting species that are season-specific, such as spring beauty (Claytonia virginica). While identifying plants seems like a carefree, Victorian-era study, depending on the terrain and habitat, it can be anything but. This year’s survey area had our team on an adventure that sounded like a Mark Twain story- constructing bridges out of beaver-chewed logs, climbing trees to see the extent of plots, scaling riverbanks, crossing acres and acres of eight-foot-tall corn, sweating through clothes (many times over), and covering every square inch of skin to ward off the insatiable mosquitos. It rained, […]
Between April 14 and November 4, 2021, our skilled team of technicians removed woody invasive species on a roughly 45-acre area within Rocky Fork Metro Park. Targeted species included Callery Pear (Pyrus calleryana), Autumn Olive (Elaeagnus umbellata), Bush Honeysuckle (Lonicera maackii), Multiflora Rose (Rosa multiflora), Privet (Ligustrum spp.), and Tree-of-Heaven (Ailanthus altissima). Initial site management was completed in the spring using a cut-stump method to fell the largest trees and shrubs in the project area. Chainsaws were utilized for larger specimens, and a brush-cutter was employed to efficiently raze small and medium sized vegetation in dense clumps. Cut stems were treated using a mix of the aquatic-approved triclopyr product, Garlon 3A, as well as an aquatic-safe, non-ionic surfactant and blue tracker dye. This herbicide mix […]
A few of the awesome women in science at MAD discussing wetland science and the environmental career field with Cincinnati-area students as part of the Green Girls in STEM program. “…an immersive hands-on program for young women in high school to explore STEM careers, sustainability, and leadership development. Green Girls in STEM provides experiences that leave students feeling more connected to nature, their communities, and the wider world.” What a great program! We’re so grateful to share our experiences with young women and aspiring scientists. We would have loved to see the girls in person, but we were happy to have the option to present virtually and get to show them around one of our favorite wetland projects at Highlands Park. Thanks to the Civic […]
For numerous reasons, we are thrilled to announce the release of the new, two-volume Reptiles of Ohio published by the Ohio Biological Survey (OBS)! Our very own Nick Smeenk was one of many accomplished and knowledgeable herpetologists who contributed to this effort – serving not only as an author but also helping the OBS staff shlep hundreds of copies of this robust tome into their storage area! Mark is the current board chair for OBS, and he and his colleagues are hoping for brisk sales of these exceptionally thorough and well-written, and illustrated texts. They are loaded with information and the current science on our state’s turtles, snakes, and lizards – a “must-have” reference for amateur and professional biologists, ecologists, and nature enthusiasts. You can […]
Every May, we celebrate National Wetlands Month with what we’ve come to call, Wetland Weekend. We kick things off with a Frog Friday event in the evening were community members can explore the wetland after dark and hopefully see some amphibian activity. The next morning, we host the Wetland Workshop, which is another free event for the public. We teach attendees about the process of wetland restoration and the role we played in restoring the Highlands Park Wetland. We also lead hands-on exploration throughout the wetland and provide stations showcasing wetland wildlife, plants, hydric soils, and water quality improvement capabilities of wetlands. If you’re in the Westerville area come May, we’d love to see you for one of these programs!
The interns have arrived! AND cicadas! We’re excited to start this year’s busy field season with three fantastic interns- Mackenzie Brown, Corbin Binkley (returning for a third season), and John Eshem.
Volunteers are AWESOME! 🤩 We – MAD Scientist Associates, Bridgeway Academy , ROAR’s Nature-based Solutions Group, and Green Columbus – had 50+ terrific, hardworking volunteers plant hundreds of native trees and shrubs at the Bridgeway Academy campus in Columbus today. This building was formerly occupied by a business and thus checked all the boxes for a corporate/sterile setting. We were approached by Bridgeway to help them make use of native plants to create necessary screens, provide habitat for wildlife observation, and celebrate native options in an edible garden. We were happy to assist and selected species that would provide fast cover, produce berries or nuts, serve as host plants for insects, and provide shelter for birds. We hope the rain made it all the way […]
April marks the first of six Frog Friday events we host at the City of Westerville’s Highlands Park Wetland. This program was born from our enthusiasm for the growing amphibian population at the wetland- which was restored in 2012-2013. If any of you are familiar with amphibian breeding season in Ohio, things start heating up so-to-speak in spring once things have thawed and warm evening rains become more frequent. Activity really picks up after dusk, when frogs and toads can call from their perches and along the wetland edge under the safety of darkness. You’ve no doubt heard a chorus of treefrogs or the trill of toads if you live near a water source and leave a window cracked at night. Even in urban settings, […]