Sunday, July 30, 2006

Munroe Falls Dam?

Yesterday evening, I had the pleasure to accompany my father, grandfather, and my fiance Megan to the place that gave the name to Munroe Falls, the town within which I lived until I was 18. But wait, the dam, originally built in 1902 to supply water to a nearby paper plant, is gone! To restore a free flowing condition to the Cuyahoga River, Summit County pitched in thousands of dollars to remove the thirteen foot high sandstone block structure last summer. The aftermath is quite interesting. Before, the Cuyahoga River upstream of the dam was really just a lake. The wide, calm expanse even had round orange buoys strewn down the river for waterskiers to zoom in and out of. But today, that same stretch of water is now free flowing, 13 feet below its former level, and wild. The area where the dam stretched across is now merely a riffle, the name stream scientists give to areas of rivers that drop off suddenly, the water speeds up, and you might even see a little "white water." For those of you that remember the dam, the City has even created a small platform that overlooks the riffle, just like the old spot on the north side of the river. The platform even has a light, similar to the light that illuminated the old falls. My dad even commented that in the 1970's as a member of the Jaycees, he helped raise money to install the old light. The parking lot has been expanded, and it is an easy walk for most. I enjoyed visiting here with three generations of my family.


Saturday, July 29, 2006

The Sancturetum

Today, Megan, my brother Tim and I checked out an interesting arboretum near Stow City Hall called the sancturetum. This property, tucked behind the municipal building, is a quiet relaxation spot in the middle of suburbia. Lots of plants...everywhere. Weird stuff. Giant Sequoias (ok, just babys, but they were there) verigated arrow arrum, button bush, cedars from the Himalayas, and last but not least, plenty of mosquitoes. If you like plants, this is a place to go. If you like quiet, it is a nice retreat from the city. All in a little place called Stow.


Friday, July 28, 2006

Past Pics

Hi All,

My grandmother passed away last night. She was an incredible lady. Viola Thomas was her name. Check out her obit at

Going though pictures last night, I thought today would be a great day to post some pics from some of my past adventures. Here they are.

First, and ice dam, which reminds me of the arctic scenes from the Super Man movies with the former man of steel Christopher Reeve.

While on one of the very first Ohio Natural Heritage Naturalists field trips to the Oak Openings, Greg Lipps, Jim Davidson and I stumbled across this beautiful female eastern box turtle just feet from wire grass ditch. This ditch, which runs through portions of Kitty Todd Preserve, helps drains much of the wet prairie in the area. This was truly a magnificent find in 2004. I just didn't think these guys live up in northwest Ohio. If you ever have the chance to go herping with Greg do it...He is one of the best advocates for Ohio's herps and he is just a darn right nice guy.

A luna moth at Conneaut Creek Wildlife area, in 2003. I found this guy with DNAP manager Greg Schneider and Melissa Campbell. We were investigating whether a small patch of hemlocks warranted dedication as a state nature preserve. Towards of the end of the day, we found this guy on a small tree. The lime green color is striking.

Finally, swamp rose mallow from the beach at Sheldon's Marsh State Nature Preserve. If you haven't been there yet, go. Between Huron and Sandusky, this is Ohio's last remaing natural beach and marsh system. You'll be amazed that you are in ohio.

Friday, July 21, 2006

Singer Lake

Yesterday, I had the opportunity to join Jim Bissell and the North Eastern Ohio Naturalists on a trip to singer lake bog. I really wasn't prepared for what I was in for.....
Here is a shot from the southwest shore of Singer Lake, looking west across the bog.

The yellow flower of Utricularia macrorhiza, common blatterwort. This carnivorous plant, one of three species that we observed on the day, was common in still water areas of the moat rimming the edge of the bog.

Last but not least, here is Virginia meadow beauty, potentially threatened in Ohio. This species appears to like wet, sandy, disturbed soils. Isn't it a beauty?

Thursday, July 20, 2006

Natural History

Right now, natural history blogs on the Internet are becoming quite popular. Jim McCormac's Ohio Birding Blog has inspired me to embrace this phenomenon. I'll blog a bit on my natural history travels. Now that I've received my camera back from Canon factory service, I'll be able to capture a few sparkling moments in the field, and hopefully adorn this blog with snapshots of my adventures. Isn't amazing that I get paid for this stuff? Very Cool.

This morning (I am writing this blog at 3:51 a.m....too many tacos at Adobe Gilas last evening) I'll be going to Singer Lake Bog. This jewel of a site is owned and managed by the Cleveland Museum of Natural History. Jim Bissell, curator of botany, worked his magic throughout the 1990's and early 2000's to acquire a patchwork of land parcels to protect this site. The site contains several natural kettlehole lakes, left when large ice blocks were surrounded by glacial outwash over 15000 years ago. These blocks melted, the depressions filled with water, and the slow course of succession began, resulting in today's bog meadows, shrub swamps, and a little open water. I've never been to this site in Summit County, but used to drive by in wonderment when I was a seasonal for DNAP in 1999 on my way to pull purple loosestrife at Jackson Bog.

Here is an aerial view of Singer Lake. It is incredible that this gem was left untouched. In recent years, there has been some encroachment from homes, but Bissell's work has ensured that this area will retain it's biological integrity for some time.