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It’s always a great privilege to work with colleagues that not only perform their jobs well but also provide leadership that others can follow. For the past five years, I’ve had the honor to work with such a colleague—Jim Osborn. A preserve manager in southeastern Ohio stationed at Boch Hollow State Nature Preserve, Jim managed Shallenberger, Christmas Rocks, ...
It’s always a great privilege to work with colleagues that not only perform their jobs well but also provide leadership that others can follow. For the past five years, I’ve had the honor to work with such a colleague—Jim Osborn. A preserve manager in southeastern Ohio stationed at Boch Hollow State Nature Preserve, Jim managed Shallenberger, Christmas Rocks, Stage’s Pond, Little Rocky Hollow, and Saltpetre Cave.
Although Jim retired after only four years with the division, he really retired from what could be described as his third career: He previously spent 28 distinguished years in the U.S. Army and the Ohio Army National Guard, retiring as a Command Sergeant Major. He concurrently served with the Circleville Fire Department for 20 years, retiring as Lieutenant. He also spent nearly 15 years teaching fire and EMS professionals at the Ohio Fire Academy as well as several years teaching in Kentucky public schools.
His resume isn’t routine for a state nature preserve manager, but I believe that Jim found his true calling when he became a preserve volunteer. I have yet to meet another person with his aptitude for learning about Ohio’s natural heritage and how to protect it. His appetite for knowledge is endless and capacity for research tireless. I think the gentle, Kentucky-hill charm that Jim exudes is part of his allure – and his demeanor with folks a true gift. The general public and his extensive volunteer corps attest to this.
Jim will be sorely missed – especially in the southeast district that Jim made his own. But this isn’t a final goodbye. Jim’s time with the division has come full circle; I’m grateful that he has agreed to continue as a programming and ecological management volunteer.
How fortunate for Ohio’s State Nature Preserves that Jim happened along!
- Jeff Johnson, State Nature Preserves Administrator
The flora of Great Lakes alvars; geology and flora of a meteorite crater in southwest Ohio; the status of our eastern deciduous forest; medicinal plants; lady-slipper orchids; lichens and best plant discoveries will be highlighted at the 2017 Ohio Botanical Symposium on Friday, March 24. The event also features a media show and displays from a number private and public conservation organizations, as well as vendors offering conservation-related items for purchase. More than 400 botanical enthusiasts attend this every-other year event.
We asked staff around the state to name a great winter hike from each region. This is a great way to sample a new state nature preserve or just add some more hiking miles to your #ExploreOhio log. Don’t forget to dress for the weather, wear sturdy footwear as trails may be slippery and consider the buddy system for longer hikes. Hope to see you on the trail this winter...
We asked staff around the state to name a great winter hike from each region. This is a great way to sample a new state nature preserve or just add some more hiking miles to your #ExploreOhio log.
Don’t forget to dress for the weather, wear sturdy footwear as trails may be slippery and consider the buddy system for longer hikes. Hope to see you on the trail this winter!
Northwest OhioBur Oak Trail at Goll Woods State Nature Preserve:
Really big trees are sometimes best viewed in the winter. The main attractions on this 0.8 mile hike are some of the oldest and biggest trees in the state. You’ll find bur oak, white oak, chinquapin oak and red oak—some more than 100 feet tall and several 400 years old. The trail is flat and topped with crushed stone. When covered in snow, cross country skiing is popular as well. (Regional Preserve Manager Ryan Schroeder)
Northeast OhioGordon Vars Boardwalk at Kent Bog State Nature Preserve:
Named for a volunteer who spent much of his later years protecting the preserve, this half-mile boardwalk hike offers a wonderful view of the preserve in winter. With the leaves of the needles off the tamarack trees, visitors can witness a different perspective. Even better with a blanket of snow, the hummock and hollow terrain is more easily seen and appreciated. Set a slow and deliberate pace, and you may even catch a glimpse of a long-eared owl, a species known to frequent the preserve in winter. (Researcher Tom Arbour)
Southeast OhioBoch Hollow State Nature Preserve:
The new trail system at Boch Hollow gives users a chance to enjoy a peaceful yet invigorating hike through a variety of habitats. Steep sections of the original trails have been replaced with more gradual climbs through ridges and valleys. Many of the small water and rock features of the preserve are now visible from the trail and frequently ice up in the winter, creating beautiful winter scenes. Located within an easy drive of central Ohio, and a trail system large enough to make a day of it, Boch Hollow is a prime winter destination. (Preserve Manager Levi Miller)
Southern OhioLong Loop of Salt Creek Trail at Lake Katharine State Nature Preserve:
This 2-mile trail at Lake Katharine is a perfect winter hiking destination. It meanders through the valley of Salt Creek and offers hikers views of recess caves, sandstone outcroppings and cliffs. The native conifers of the preserve -- including one of Ohio’s largest Virginia pines -- provide a nice respite from the more commonly seen deciduous trees in the state. (Preserve Manager Josh Deemer)
Western OhioEsker Trail at Siegenthaler-Kaestner Esker State Nature Preserve:
Few sites are better to see examples of Ohio’s geologic history up close. Surrounded by glacial outwash plains and ground moraine, an approximately 1-mile trail will lead hikers around the base and over the top of two adjacent eskers (low, winding hills that were once a stream in the middle of a glacier). The ability to see these winding ridges is more dramatic in winter because of the lack of vegetation. The windiness of the area makes hiking at this preserve more of an adventure, but maybe even more adventurous while wearing cross country skis! (Preserve Manager Michelle Comer)
Winter is often the season of giving. We hope you’ll remember nature and Ohio’s state nature preserves on your gift list this year. Your much-needed support will directly benefit new land purchases, educational programs and trail, signage, parking and other facility improvements across the state. Remember your donation is tax deductible...
Did you know that you can help support Ohio State Nature Preserves when completing your yearly Ohio income Tax return? These tax-deductible donations are a critical source of funding for Ohio State Nature Preserves, allowing a convenient means of supporting natural areas preservation. Your much-needed support will directly benefit new land purchases, educational programs and trail, signage, parking and other facility improvements across the state. On behalf of the staff and volunteers who work year-round to protect and conserve the very best of Ohio’s unique landscapes and plant and animal life, we thank you for your generosity! Please watch our video reminder of all the beautiful things that your continued commitment is preserving in Ohio.
If you would like to make an immediate contribution:
Please mail your check, payable to “ODNR Division of Natural Areas and Preserves” to:Ohio Department of Natural Resources
Division of Natural Areas and Preserves
2045 Morse Road, Building C-4
Columbus, OH 43229