2018 Ohio Certified Volunteer Naturalist (OCVN) Conference

At the Edge: Protecting, Restoring, and Interpreting Ohio’s Unique Natural Areas

Friday, June 8 and Saturday, June 9, 2018 Ohio Certified Volunteer Naturalist Conference


Conference goals:

  • Increase understanding of current research on Ohio’s ecosystems and best approaches to long term protection;
  • Increase understanding of interpretative approaches that will inspire long-term stewardship; and
  • Increase understanding of the steps volunteers are using to effectively restore/protect Ohio’s unique natural areas.

Join us on Friday, June 8th for a exploration of Northeast Ohio and networking at The Holden Arboretum.  For questions, call Holden Arboretum at 440-602-8014.

Friday’s field trips will focus on understanding and interpreting some of the most unusual natural areas of northeast Ohio-- Stebbins Gulch, a National Natural Landmark at the Holden Arboretum and the Lake Erie Bluffs Metroparks, one of the few remaining lakefront habitats on Lake Erie.  You can select one of the two options described below.  Registration for the Holden events is online only. See registration links following each description. 

STEBBINS GULCH: (Field Trip #1) - Cost: $12 - Friday, June 8, 2018, 1pm – 4pm

Stebbins Gulch is the crown jewel of The Holden Arboretum’s extensive natural areas, as well as one of the most unspoiled natural history preserves in northeast Ohio. One of two National Natural Landmarks at The Holden Arboretum, it is a deep ravine environment with its own microclimate and multiple forest zones. The gulch displays one of the most complete sequences of exposed rocks in northeast Ohio, spanning seven named geologic units. This rigorous hike requires a good degree of physical fitness. Proper footwear is imperative and should be appropriate for climbing, walking through mud and high water conditions. We strongly suggest high waterproof boots.

Click here to register: https://887.blackbaudhosting.com/887/OCVN-Stebbins-Gulch-Hike



LAKE ERIE BLUFFS METROPARK: (Field Trip #2) - Cost: $8 - Friday, June 8, 2018, 1pm – 4pm

Lake Erie Bluffs Metropark is nationally significant as one of the few remaining undeveloped lakefront habitats on Lake Erie. The pristine, 9,000-foot-long sandy and cobbled beach is backed by 40-foot-high beach bluffs harboring rare plants, such as the fringed gentian and seaside spurge. During annual migration, the Bluffs is an important resting and feeding location for migratory birds that will use it as a launch point for the 50-mile flight across open water to Ontario. The Bluffs is famous for bald eagle and merlin sightings, among hundreds of other species. The 50-foot observation tower offers an excellent vantage point for spotting birds and wave action on the Lake.

Click here to register: https://887.blackbaudhosting.com/887/OCVN-Lake-Erie-Bluffs-Tour



BBQ and SOCIAL HOUR at Holden Arboretum:  Cost $35 - Friday, June 8, 2018, 6pm – 9pm

Field trips will be followed by a herbivore and carnivore friendly BBQ and social hour, starting with the opportunity to climb the 202 steps to the top of the Emergent Tower for a view of Lake Erie and the surrounding landscape or to traverse the Canopy Walk nestled in the dense forest canopy 65 ft above the forest floor.

Click here to register: https://887.blackbaudhosting.com/887/OCVN-Pre-Conference-Dinner--Social-Event



Saturday, June 9, 2018 - 8AM-4PM  -  Cost: $40 - Field and Classroom Sessions 

Click here to register: http://www.cvent.com/d/dtqvq4

Download the brochure.

The conference will start with registration at 7:30AM at the Lake Metropark’s Environmental Learning Center (ELC)



Each session will be an hour in length and each block will contain one optional hike lead by ELC trained interpreters for a chance to get outdoors.


We will have a block of 20 rooms reserved at a special rate of $119.00 which includes breakfast for a King room for June 8 nearby at the Quail Hollow Resort.  Info can be found at https://www.quailhollowresort.com

In order to receive the conference rate, please call Quail Hollow Resort directly at (440)-497-1100 and say you are attending the OCVN State Conference.  The block of rooms will be held until May 9.  For additional Hotel options, click on the 'Get Map' icon on the registration page.




Title Summary

Harvey Webster, Director, Wildlife Resources, Cleveland Museum of Natural History including managing the Ralph Perkins II Wildlife Center & Woods Garden

Wildlife Beyond the Edge


Kevin Magee, Deputy Director, Cleveland Underwater Explorers (CLUE)

Diving Lake Erie: Bathymetry, Geology, Shipwrecks, and Environmental Concerns

Lake Erie is a dynamic, fascinating body of water and this talk describes Lake Erie from a diver's perspective. It discusses the things normally hidden by its waters.  This includes its bottom bathymetry, geology, historic shipwrecks, the environmental threat from algae blooms, and its potential for use as a source of wind energy.

Howard Simon, OCVN and member of the Cuyahoga River Area of Concern Advisory Committee

Cuyahoga River Watershed

This session will include a history of the Cuyahoga River and the role it played in the environmental movement. Howard will discuss how local participation has led to marked improvements.

Nidia Arguedas, PhD, Conservation Planner

Earthworms Below Ground

Earthworms have brought about gradual but enormous changes to soil structure, soil chemistry and soil life, impacting not only the relationships among the organisms both below and above the ground but also in the atmosphere.  During these two linked presentations, we will explore these dynamics and make sure to add earthworm identification to your skills.

Mary Huey, Retired Interpretive Naturalist

Why Citizen Science?

Learn about the scientific importance and personal benefits of participating in 'citizen science' projects as part of the growing community of volunteer naturalists including finding projects to fit your interests and schedule.

Becky Donaldson, Mentor Marsh Naturalist, Mentor Marsh Carol H. Sweet Nature Center

Waving the Green Flag in Fighting Phragmites

Mentor Marsh's sheer size makes it a treasure on Ohio's Lake Erie coast even with its invasion of Phragmites.  Learn how Mentor Marsh has changed over the years and how recent restoration efforts, hard work and many partnerships have led to both increases in biodiversity and community engagement.

Jim Lemon, President, Ohio Dragonfly Society

Ohio Dragonfly Survey We are starting Year 2 of the Ohio Dragonfly Survey (2017-2019).  Jim will discuss the project (goals, organization, tools, process), focusing on how to use iNaturalist for photographic survey, promoting citizen science and OCVN participation in the Ohio Dragonfly Survey.

       Gabriel R. Karns, Visiting Assistant Professor at The Ohio State University, School of Environment and Natural Resources, Terrestrial Wildlife Ecology Lab

Helping Wildlife Get the Edge

Gabe will focus on some recent and ongoing research that will get you thinking about how we might better manage habitat edges and transitional areas for wildlife and wildlife habitat.

Mike Watson, Conservation Biologist, The Holden Arboretum

Earthworms Above Ground

Invasive worms and soil research

Earthworm activities at and below the soil surface can affect many aspects of forest ecology above ground. We will discuss how earthworms modify ecological interactions and processes including forest regeneration, plant and animal community structure and nutrient availability and their connection to larger scale conservation issues such as climate change and soil acidification.

Herb Broda, OCVN, Professor Emeritus, author, outdoor education specialist

Tips and Tricks for Working with Kids

Herb Broda joins us for a lively session focusing on effective ways to design energizing outdoor learning sessions for children from grades Pre-K to 8th grade.  We will focus on the nuts and bolts of outdoor learning, some grade-level specific tips and a suggested template for an outdoor session.

Dr. Rebecca Swab, Director of Restoration Ecology, The Wilds

Restoring for Wildlife - Tradeoffs and Benefits of Prairies

At The Wilds we have undertaken restoration efforts to replace low diversity cool season grasslands with high diversity prairies. Overall, results on this landscape show that engineering sustainable diverse ecosystems following mining requires more work and different methods than current reclamation laws require.  Restoring prairie is beneficial for some but not all species.  Therefore, mixing cool season and warm season grasslands on reclaimed minelands across the landscape may maximize wildlife diversity.