GAMBIER — The dog days of summer offer an ideal time to get your feet wet at the Brown Family Environmental Center at Kenyon College (BFEC). Community members are invited to two early August events to explore life underwater.
On Saturday, Aug. 4, from 1 to 5 p.m., the BFEC will host an exploration of “Flying Dragons,” otherwise known as dragonflies. These insects buzz around the BFEC ponds like brightly colored fighter jets, and can be seen scooping up prey, patrolling territory, and chasing competitors.
Participants will have an opportunity to net dragonflies in “submarine” form in the BFEC ponds, where they live as larvae before maturing into flying insects. Frogs and tadpoles also make ponds their home and may end up in the net of lucky, young dragon hunters.
“It’s amazing to discover what lives underwater; so much life is hidden from us there,” says Heather Doherty, BFEC Program Manager. “Our small ponds are an endless source of intrigue for young people.”
“Flying Dragons” is a part of the BFEC’s Family Adventure Day series, held every first Saturday from 1 to 5 p.m. and focus on a new theme every month. Community members are welcome to stop by the BFEC Resource Center at 9781 Laymon Road to explore an exhibit, take a scavenger hunt on nearby trails or try a craft.
The state scenic Kokosing River will be the focal point of a second aquatic adventure on Thursday, Aug. 9, starting at 7 p.m. Participants will meet at the canoe access point on Laymon Road (near the intersection with Ohio 229) and take a short hike to wade in and discover some of the most diverse aquatic life in the state.
The Kokosing River boasts an impressive 78 species of fish, including endangered and threatened species. Local fisheries expert Brian Zimmerman will be on hand to share some of these species with participants. Zimmerman is currently working on the Fishes of Ohio Inventory and Distribution Project for Ohio State University Museum of Biodiversity and will bring his knowledge of traveling state-wide looking for Ohio’s 175 fish species.
The food web of these fish also depends on aquatic insects that populate the stream bottom.
The Ohio Department of Natural Resources Scenic River Program staff will join the program to help participants hunt for these bugs, which are used as indicators of a river’s health.
Participants are encouraged to wear water shoes or old sneakers for walking in water for the Kokosing River program. Contact Heather Doherty with questions at 740-427-5052 or visit http://bfec.kenyon.edu.
Published on July 31, 2012