Natural Area TourS & Reports, JUNE 2018


A group totaling over thirty individuals viewed vernal ponds, restored wetlands and wooded areas under the guidance of Steve Gordon and Eric Hollins of Three Valley Conservation Trust, who have been instrumental in the area’s restoration.

By Jim Michael, Natural Area Tour Coordinator, Audubon Miami Valley

Natural Areas Tour #1-Fernald Nature Preserve Natural Area
Event: Tour of Fernald Nature Preserve Natural Area 
Date & Time: Saturday, June 2, 2018, 3:00 PM
Location: Meet at Fernald Nature Preserve Visitors Center, 7400 Willey Rd, Hamilton, OH 45013 Map
Guides: Jim Michael and Penny Bergman

Description: The 1,050-acre Fernald Nature Preserve, managed by the U.S. Department of Energy, is located on the site of a former uranium processing facility that ceased operations in 1989. Comprehensive environmental remediation and ecological restoration of the site was completed in 2006 at a cost of $4.4 billion–one of the largest environmental cleanup operations ever undertaken in U.S. history. The property’s natural features have been restored using native plants and grasses, creating one of the largest man-made wetlands in Ohio. The Preserve features 400 acres of forests, 387 acres of grassland including tallgrass prairie and savanna, and 140 acres of wetland habitat including three lakes. The site’s varied and unique habitats are accessible on a seven-mile network of trails. Over 240 species of birds have been observed, and over 100 different species  have been documented as nesting at the Preserve.
Driving Map | Fernald Nature Preserver Website | eBird Hotspot ​

Fernald Nature Preserve Natural Area Report by Jim Michael, Tour Guide
Penny Borgman, Fernald Naturalist, led a wonderful tour of key spots 
within the Fernald Preserve, one of southwest Ohio’s premier natural 
areas and birding hotspots. Sitting on the remains of a former nuclear 
plant, and still under the auspices of the US Department of Energy, the 
site now includes wetland, prairie and woodlands habitats. We had the 
opportunity to visit several ponds where we found late-lingering 
waterfowl including Canvasback and Gadwall. We then hiked up the mound 
encasing the nuclear waste where we found, among the lush prairie 
grasses, Dickcissel and Henslow’s Sparrow.

Natural Areas Tour #2-Salamander Run Preserve
Event: Tour of Natural Area, Salamander Run Preserve, MetroParks of Butler County
Date & Time: Sunday, June 3, 2018 at 9:00 AM to 10:30 AM
Location: MetroParks of Butler County, Salamander Run Preserve, 4821 Layhigh Road, Hamilton OH 45013 Map (located 20 min from MU Conservatory). Meet on Sunday, June 3, 2018 at 8:30 AM in Courtyard by Marriott Hamilton, 1 Riverfront Plaza, Hamilton, OH hotel parking lot Map (recommended) or at the Preserve where parking is on site, just inside the driveway. 
Guides: Joe Dumyahn, Steve Gordon and Eric Hollins, will give us an informative tour of the property and opportunities to view the Preserve’s diverse flora and fauna.

Salamander Run Preserve Report by Jim Michael, Tour Guide
Several COAC attendees joined a group tour of one of the newest venues within the purview of Metroparks of Butler County, Salamander Run Preserve. This Preserve, which contains the headwaters of Paddy’s Run Creek, consists of 125 acres, 93 of which are forested. A group totaling over thirty individuals viewed vernal ponds, restored wetlands and wooded areas under the guidance of Steve Gordon and Eric Hollins of Three Valley Conservation Trust, who have been instrumental in the area’s restoration.

Natural Areas Tour #3-Tour of Riverside Natural Area-Hamilton Parks
Date & Time: Sunday, June 3, 2018 at 4:00 (1 hour tour)
Location: Riverside Natural Area, 2451 Fairview Ave, Hamilton, OH 45015. ​(located 7 min (1.4 miles) from MU Conservatory). Meet at the Conservatory parking lot to carpool (recommended), or go directly to the parking lot north of the Hamilton Water Reclamation Facility on Fairview Ave (map detail). 
Guides: Kathy and Troy Schwable and Charlie Saunders

Description: Riverside Natural Area is located along the Great Miami River in Hamilton, Ohio. It includes a lagoon formed from an old river channel, a small man-made wetland that backs up against the south side of the lagoon, and approximately 130 acres of prairie. There are mulched trails that wind through the north side of the preserve, an observation deck overlooking the lagoon, and a paved access road that leads into the large prairie. 
Driving Map | Hamilton Parks Conservancy-Riverside Natural Area | Riverside Natural Area Description and Parking at Audubon Society of Ohio | eBird Hotspot

Riverside Natural Area-Hamilton Parks Report by Jim Michael, Tour Guide
A dozen COAC members and others enjoyed an eye-opening visit to the newly-upgraded Riverside Natural Area, along the Great Miami River in Hamilton. Located just a few minutes’ drive from the venue of the COAC meeting, this preserve is situated between the Great Miami and a lagoon formed when the River’s course was changed a century ago due to flooding. We were guided by birder Charlie Saunders, as well as by Troy and Kathy Schwable, who have undertaken the huge effort to restore and upgrade the area.