Naturalist Workshops Series 15

Carex, Robber Flies, Spider Behavior, Ticks, Crayfish

Cincinnati Museum Center introduces the 15th in a series of natural history workshops that teach the identification and ecology of Ohio flora and fauna.

Workshops Overview

New this year: Series 15 is now offering one day overnight and daylong workshops as well as the weekend-long format. Please see individual workshops for length.

The workshop series is a continuation of EOA’s systematic study and cataloging of preserve resources and field training for those interested in nature study.  All sessions are taught by professionals in their fields and in all cases have written books or conducted research on their topics. The workshops are open to all skill levels, although naturalists, science educators, natural area managers and others in the natural sciences will find these workshops especially beneficial. Workshops are held at the 20,000 acre Richard and Lucile Durrell Edge of Appalachia Preserve in Adams County, Ohio.

Weekend-long workshops (Carex & Robber Flies) Includes all food/lodging/text/microscopes $200
Overnight workshop (Spider Behavior) Includes lodging/breakfast & lunch on Saturday $100
One-day workshops (Ticks & Crayfish) Includes lunch & microscope use $50
Weekend-long workshops (Carex & Robber Flies) Friday, 7 p.m. through Sunday, 1 p.m. Max 10 people
Overnight workshop (Spider Behavior) Friday, 7 p.m. through Saturday, 1 p.m. Max 10 people
One-day workshops (Ticks & Crayfish) Saturday, 9 a.m. t0 4 p.m. Max 20 people

Cincinnati Museum Center’s Richard and Lucile Durrell Edge of Appalachia Preserve. One hour forty-five minutes east of Cincinnati. Directions mailed upon receipt of registration with full payment.

Lodging for Weekend-long and Overnight workshop only

The Rieveschl Chalet on the Rieveschl Preserve. Rustic and comfortable with four beds to a room, private bathrooms with showers on both floors and is air-conditioned and heated. Private rooms are not available. Meals prepared by preserve staff and a caterer. Bedding and towels not provided. Complete list provided with registration fee. Workshop cost cannot be discounted if lodging off site. Please note that overnight lodging will not be offered for the one-day workshops.

Series 15 Workshops
Full Weekend Workshops (Friday, 7 p.m. to Sunday, 1 p.m.)

SOLD OUT! Sedges (Carex, Cyperaceae)
May 24 to 26, 2019
Rob Naczi, PhD, Arthur J. Cronquist Curator of North American Botany, New York Botanical Garden

The genus Carex of the Sedge Family (Cyperaceae) provides one of the great challenges in the botanical realm with 500 species in North America and 160 in Ohio. Carex is often included on even the most seasoned naturalists’ list of “plants to avoid”, or are simply lumped as sedges and ignored. However, they are ecologically important as they inform the ecology of an area with their high fidelity to specific habitats and must be considered when doing any botanical field study. While differentiating one species from another may seem a study in subtlety to the untrained eye, microscope work and a modicum of patience to learn and interpret sedge morphology will put you on your way to effective sedge ID. Coupled with an understanding of the habitats of each species, one can become a qualified Carex student, and if not careful—a real sedge enthusiast! Dr. Naczi’s qualifications to teach this class are unparalleled. He’s been studying sedges for 35 years and is one the country’s great botanical minds. Late May is peak time for sedges at the preserve and with over 70 species recorded, The Edge is the natural place to begin your studies.  Quit avoiding the sedges and be one of only ten people in Ohio to study with one of the country’s leading botanical experts.

Robber Flies (Asilidae)
July 19 to 21, 2019
Tristan McKnight, PhD, Adjunct Assistant Professor, St. Lawrence University

The long drought is over and a robber fly workshop is finally taking place at the preserve with a qualified and enthusiastic instructor! Robber flies are one of the most bizarre and intriguing of the fly families. Their aerial assaults on other insects are impressive, deadly and precise. Their long, strong, bristled legs are used to capture prey in mid-flight before injecting a deadly neurotoxic saliva that immobilizes the prey and liquefies it for easy uptake. They come in a wide range of sizes from 3mm to 50mm with some reminiscent of damselflies while others remarkable bumble bee mimics--few people will forget their first sighting of a large bumble bee mimic hawking insects on the wing. They are known for their affinity for sunny niches which we will take advantage of while surveying this diverse group. With robber flies being fairly ubiquitous and fascinating creatures, why is it they are virtually unknown by even experienced entomologists? Be one of the first in Ohio to learn this group. With over 1000 species in North America and 95 species known from Ohio they are regularly encountered in many habitats. This workshop will take to the open, sunny prairies and woodland edges of the preserve to document this elusive fly group in yet another landmark workshop in Ohio. A mix of field and lab time at the microscopes to learn identification skills will be necessary to build the first-ever list for this group on the preserve. Don’t miss this workshop.

Overnight Workshop (Friday, 7 p.m. to Saturday, 1 p.m.)

SOLD OUT! Spider Behavior
September 13 to 14, 2019
Nathan Morehouse, PhD, Assistant Professor, University of Cincinnati

Spiders are one of the most captivating, yet misunderstood, group of organisms on Earth. Their lineage goes deep in geologic time owing much to their success at securing prey, finding a mate and mastering environmental challenges. Their ability to produce different kinds of silk for different purposes separates them from many other organisms and their breadth of diversity is staggering. These features, along with the relative ease of viewing them, makes them especially interesting subjects for behavioral studies. No one knows this better than Dr. Morehouse and his lab where they study color vision in jumping spiders and how their ability to detect a limited color palette may have played out evolutionarily. This workshop will delve into the lab’s work on jumpers and spider sight but will also investigate the breadth of spider behavior from web building, mating behavior and capturing their prey. Topics covered will include spider adaptations, silk deployment, spider vision and other fascinating biological aspects. The overnight event will be conducted primarily in the field to take advantage of observing and interpreting spider behavior both at night and in the daylight hours. With over 250 species of spider recorded for the preserve the opportunity for viewing spider behavior will be particularly rich. While spider identification will not be the central theme of the workshop, preserve Ecological Manager, Mark Zloba and lab members will be along to provide IDs as known and desired.

One-Day Workshops (Saturday, 9 a.m. to 4 p.m.)

July 27, 2019
Glen Needham, PhD, The Ohio State University, Associate Professor Emeritus of Entomology

Ticks are one of the most successful parasites on Earth. Their adaptations are fodder for science fiction movies. Some species of ticks can survive under water for weeks, some species locate their hosts without having eyes, they use a Lidocaine-like substance to numb the bite site like a dentist, and secrete substances akin to epoxy to secure their mouthparts in your skin. Gone are the days of only one tick species in the state—the American dog tick. Ohio now plays host to three pest species and each has a unique life history and all are vectors for diseases they transmit to humans and dogs. The new Asian Longhorned tick may also be on Ohio’s doorstep (found in West Virginia). The invasive deer or blacklegged tick that spreads Lyme disease, is a woodland species discovered in Coshocton and Ashtabula Counties nine years ago. It is active as an adult in the fall and winter so there is no longer a tick-free season. Dr. Needham is one of Ohio’s undisputed tick experts having contributed to zootic disease research for more than 40 years. With the uptick in tick-borne illnesses everyone needs to develop a better understanding of tick biology and seasonality, especially those who work in outdoor industries and enjoy hiking trails. Join Dr. Needham to learn more about these formidable arachnids and how you can protect yourself, your children and your pets from this serious immerging threat.

September 28, 2019
Emily Imhoff, PhD, Cincinnati Museum Center, Zoology Collections Manager

Crayfish are the gateway organism into nature study for many budding naturalists. They are some of the most ubiquitous, easily found aquatic creatures in our region, living in streams and rivers, ponds and lakes, all kinds of wetlands, and perhaps even burrows in your backyard. With all the attention they receive why is it that so few people can tell one species from another or answer even the most basic life history questions? If you find yourself in this group then this one day workshop is for you. Emily Imhoff is an astacologist (crayfish scientist) and a bona fide crayfish enthusiast! Her passion for the group is unbridled and contagious. She will lead us through the finer points necessary for identifying the 20+ species known to exist in Ohio and beyond, and give us a well-rounded understanding of the ecology and life history of our crayfish. Finally you will have answers for questions like: How long can they live? How do they raise their young? How do you tell a male from a female? Have something to say the next time a child says to you: “I caught a crawdad!”