2023 Nature Study Retreat
The 2023 Nature Study retreat will return to Canter’s Cave in Jackson County, for continued study of the geology of the area, along with bird walks and nature hikes, visits to Lake Alma and the Serpent Mound, an astronomy program, crafts and much more.
The area is known for its beautiful geological formations, where rock has been carved by wind and water. Last year, we hiked to the sandstone cave area, and we will again this year. For those who felt that the trail was a bit treacherous, never fear: we’ll take the easier way in AND out this time! What’s more, we’ll be prepped for that hike by an evening program on sandstone outcroppings, conducted by two members of the Ohio Department of Natural Resources Geology Department.
Another highlight will be a trip to the private property of one of last year’s presenters. An expert on trees, he will share with us information on the tree and plant species that surround his home.
Proposed crafts include a tee-shirt project (bring a white or pastel shirt), and a wine-glass etching project. Materials also will be provided to make name tags. Three of the evenings will include programs, but one is being left open as free time, for a night hike, games, etc.
Nature Study Retreat will be held May 21-26, beginning with check in and dinner on Sunday and ending after breakfast on Friday. We have two buildings at our disposal for lodging this year: The Harrison Leadership Center is a year-round facility which includes a catering kitchen with refrigerator, sinks and an ice machine. It also has a meeting space with a fireplace. The Foundation Lodge is a dorm-style facility with modern bathrooms. The two buildings offer us 40 lower bunks.
When you register for the retreat (deadline, April 19), you will receive confirmation and additional information. You can bring snacks and drinks without restriction.
Here is a summary of the daily highlights, with a 7 a.m. bird walk Monday-Thursday.
Monday, May 22: After a 10 a.m. craft and lunch, we’ll travel to Lake Alma, a heavily forested area with a wide variety of flora and fauna. We’ll follow this outing with orientation and dinner. Afterward will be the annual plant auction; please bring annual or perennial plants, bulbs, seeds, garden ornaments, books, design containers and so on.
Tuesday, May 23: We’ll follow breakfast with a tour of naturalist David Apsley’s property. Last year, David led a program on the “Changing Ohio Forest,” and this year will welcome us on a visit to his own treed land. Following a craft/service project and dinner, we’ll learn about sandstone outcroppings from ODNR geologists Molly Hunt and Frank Fugitt.
Wednesday, May 24: A boxed-lunch outing to Serpent Mound will be followed by a program on mosses by OSU adjunct professor Barbara Andreas. After dinner, we’ll have some free time.
Thursday, May 25: The morning will include a Nature Study Retreat meeting. After lunch, we’ll hike to the sandstone cave along our easier route. Dinner will be followed by an astronomy program led by Tom O’Grady, assistant astronomer at OSU. We’ll gather around the campfire, weather permitting.
Attendees, new and old, tout Nature Study Retreat as a way to connect to our beautiful land and create lasting bonds with fellow nature lovers. This outdoor adventure is whatever you want it to be: attend hikes and other programs that interest you and relax in the outdoors — at your own pace.