Sponsored by the Ohio Biological Survey and the Ohio Division of WIldlife, the 6th annual Ohio Natural History Conference was a great learning experience and good time.
The cost of this one-day event was low; 30 dollars for both Dakota and myself. I thought it would be a good way to learn more about our new state of Ohio and meet up with some great people.
Kenn Kaufman was invited to be the keynote speaker for the event. Kenn and his wife Kim are immersed in the birding world and each have the ability to make a person feel right at ease. Kim is a great inspiration to young birders her enthusiasm is catching. The Kaufmans are easy to talk to and make you feel more excited about birds and the natural environment. We can’t wait to do some birding with them!
Kenn’s presentation was called “Fresh Fields: the World View of a Perpetual Beginner“. Anyone studying nature, from the smallest beginner to the largest expert, would get the most out of this talk. An expert at birds might not be an expert at plant identification; therefore they are also a beginner. It is problematic to love studying everything outdoors because of the fact that you cannot possibly explore everything and it can feel overwhelming.
When I personally think of all the places to I want to go birding (such as Peru); it doesn’t take long for my head to swim with all the choices. Imagine then studying insects, trees, or fish! We are always a beginner at something.
Kenn also discussed in his presentation some of the technical aspects of how he created the Kaufman Field Guide to Birds of North America. He was able to take the good points from drawings and photos and turn them into a perfect mix to identify birds in the field. VERY COOL.
The eight other presentations were also very interesting. The Executive Director of the Ohio Biological Survey, David Horn, gave a presentation of a 35-year study of birds on his own land in Hocking County, Ohio. He was able to collect useful data and discussed trends, changes in habitats and possible reasons for increasing/decreasing populations.
Two other bird-focused presentations included a survey of wintering raptors in an area called the Wilds east-central Ohio and information on the Ohio Breeding Bird Atlas II that is currently in-progress.
There were other presentations on various topics of flora, wetlands and even environmental law. Of the non bird-related presentations one especially caught Dakota’s interest. Rich Bradley, an Associate Professor at the Ohio State University presented “Spiders of a Rural Residential Lot in Central Ohio“. Over the years he has identified over 153 species of spiders on a small area of land where he lives. To people with arachnophobia: there is nowhere to hide!
I would recommend this conference to any nature lover. It was inexpensive, interesting and a great way to learn about the natural world in Ohio.
Good birding to you!