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August 1 @ 7:30 am - 12:00 pm
Theme: Prairie Plants in Bloom & Grassland Birds
Location: Huffman Prairie, Dayton Ohio
Date: Sunday August 1st, 2021
Meet: At 7:30 A.M. in the West Chester IKEA Parking Lot. See directions below.
Trip Leader: Brian Keane (513) 785-3256, Keaneb@miamioh.edu
Our Guide at Huffman Prairie: Dave Nolin
Join us for this unique field trip. Huffman Prairie is a State Natural Landmark located on the Wright-Patterson Air Force Base just east of Dayton Ohio. The 112 acre Huffman Prairie is one of the largest prairie remnants in Ohio. Since the 1800s, nearly all of the prairies of eastern North America have been lost. Many rare plants, birds, and insects make the prairie their home. Indeed, Huffman Prairie hosts one of the best displays of Ohio prairie grasses and flowers. It also hosts impressive populations of rare grassland birds, such as Bobolinks, Dickcissels, Grasshopper and Henslow’s Sparrows and Sedge Wrens. Other unusual species documented on the prairie include the smooth green snake, thirteen-lined ground squirrel, and more than 200 species of butterflies and moths — including one found only in this prairie. The best time to see birds is June, but there should be many summer residents still around on this date. On the other hand, the last week of July and the first week of August is the peak time to see a spectacular display of wildflowers.
Brian Keane will be our field trip leader. Brian is an expert naturalist and a Zoology Professor at Miami University and is a past president and current board member of our Audubon Chapter. We will meet Brian at 7:30 AM in the IKEA Parking Lot in West Chester (see directions below). From there we will follow Brian in a caravan to Huffman Prairie, about a one hour drive, and should arrive at Huffman Prairie before 9 AM. Brian will provide directions to Huffman Prairie just in case anyone gets separated. We only recommend car-pooling for those who are vaccinated or who live together.
When we arrive at Huffman Prairie, Brian will introduce us to the esteemed Dave Nolin who will be our guide through the prairie. A case could be made that no one knows Huffman Prairie as well as Dave does. Dave is the retired Director of Conservation for the Five Rivers MetroParks (Dayton & Montgomery County). Dave received his Masters degree in biology from Wright State University in 1988. For 30 years, he was employed by the Park District and was responsible for habitat management and land acquisition. Dave has written a book, published in 2018, entitled “Discovery & Renewal on Huffman Prairie: Where Aviation Took Wing”. We highly recommend it.
The walk will last about 2 hours. Walking is flat and will be at a leisurely pace, with lots of stops to look at flowers, butterflies and birds. It will be hot so prepare accordingly. We recommend good footwear, hats, sun screen, insect repellent and lots of water to make your trip more enjoyable. There are non-flush restrooms nearby. If you have any questions feel free to contact Brian Keane.
Directions to IKEA:
From the I-275 and I-75 Interchange, take I-75 north for 2.4 miles to the Union Center Blvd. Exit # 19. Turn left, and cross back over I-75. Almost immediately (.2 mile) turn left onto Muhlhauser Road. Go .7 mile and turn left into the IKEA Parking Lot. Park near the retention pond side of the parking lot, as near to Muhlhauser Rd. as possible. We should be easy to find at 7:30 AM.