January 11, 2022

Fall Volunteer Events & Invasive Species Removal

Fall is a great time to tackle woody invasive plants, as they are preparing for dormancy and most susceptible to systemic herbicide applications. We regularly participate in, and lead habitat improvement projects in the Central Ohio area, and this year we were pleased to make some substantial headway! In September we had a crew at Hoff Woods (Westerville) working with volunteers to remove honeysuckle and a crew in Genoa Township working a community fishing event. We had several volunteers and cleared about 2-3 acres of the invasive bush honeysuckle (Lonicera maackii). Thanks to all who came out out to participate! In October, Jenny, Alexys, Cody, and Mark worked alongside Friends of Alum Creek and Tributaries, and many community volunteers at Boyer Nature Preserve. They removed […]
January 7, 2022

Mussels & Mudpuppies

2021 brought several aquatic survey opportunities to MAD. Jenna Roller-Knapp, our Water Quality and Aquatic Ecology Specialist, led mussel surveys across Ohio and in Iowa. She is state certified to perform freshwater mussel surveys in Group 1 and 3 streams. Nick Smeenk, Wildlife Biologist and Approved Herpetologist for the Eastern Hellbender, Blanding’s Turtle, and Eastern Massasauga in addition to holding a federal recovery permit for the Eastern Massasauga. If those credentials didn’t impress you, they are both SCUBA certified as well, which comes in handy given most of the animals they study live underwater! This dynamic duo led surveys for mussels (family Unionidae) and mudpuppies (Necturus maculosus) in the Des Moines River, and mussels in Mercer, Cuyahoga, Summit, and Delaware Counties. No listed species were […]
January 7, 2022

Ecological Surveys- We Can’t Get Enough of Em!

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 […]
January 7, 2022

Botanical Adventures- Floristic Quality Assessment in Hamilton County, Ohio

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, […]
January 7, 2022

Invasive Species Management- Rocky Fork Metro Park

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 […]
January 7, 2022

Green “Girls” in STEM

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 […]
January 7, 2022

Ohio Biological Survey’s “Reptiles of Ohio” Includes MAD Teammate Contribution

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 […]
January 7, 2022
wetland workshop

Wetland Weekend in Westerville

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!
January 6, 2022

Welcome Interns!

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.