Summer 2016 Newsletter

Summer 2016 coverLots of things are happening along Road 7L as summer rolls in: Summer Family Day, art workshops, the 3rd Annual Quarry Farm Jam and, looking ahead to autumn, The Quarry Farm 5K. But don’t wait to run or walk that last one; there’s a virtual event starting June 17.

Click on the cover to the left, see what spring brought and mark your calendar to-do list for the months of high sunshine.

You don’t have to be a star (but it’s really fun)

The new greenhouse north of Red Fox Cabin was of interest to the Owens class as they are considering one of this size for a butterfly house.

The new greenhouse north of Red Fox Cabin was of interest to the Owens class as they are considering one of this size for a butterfly house.

Been awhile, but with good cause. Seems as though weekly (or biweekly) posts may be the new norm of spring at the Quarry Farm.

On May 29, seven people from Owens Community College, Toledo Campus, drove down I-75 and made their way here, despite the Road 7L sign being missing from the turn off State Route 12. Jeannie Wiley Wolf, Findlay Courier reporter, almost didn’t find us to do an interview for an article that appeared in that newspaper on May 28. Steve says the sign mysteriously disappeared some time ago. Anyway, Owens’ Associate Professor Joanne Roehrs got the van here.

Owens2The students are working to obtain the Urban Agriculture and Sustainability Certificate, a new offering at Owens. All of them have sweat-equity in the urban community gardens in Toledo, especially in the Robert J. Anderson Agriculture Training Center and greenhouses (900 Oneida Street; Toledo, OH 43608) which are projects of Toledo GROWs, the community gardening outreach program of Toledo Botanical Garden. The Anderson Center is used as an educational forum for Owens Community College students who are studying urban agriculture. The Center is also an open-air classroom where under-privileged youth are educated on growing sustainable nourishment.

While on the Quarry, Roehrs and her Livestock Animal Husbandry students focused on the organic gardening projects, the wild bee boxes and the farm animal sanctuary. They study beekeeping through the hives at the Anderson Center. We were able to tell them what not to do with bees, from firsthand experience, and of plans for new bees in 2014. Beatrice of the whirligig tail was our model sanctuary adoption success story as she greeted all with charming, intelligent porcine loveliness.

If you are, or know of someone who is looking at new, relevant career option investment, this is a program to explore:

From that point until 11:59 a.m. on June 6, preparations were made for the arrival and tour of 90 individuals, mostly K-8 graders, from Columbus Grove Local Schools’ after-school summer program. For coverage of that Quarry Farm landmark event, I’ll let the press do the talking. Diane Myer of Black Swamp Raptor Rehabilitation Center, Stacey Cook of Hometown Station WLIO, Nancy Kline of the Voice and Alex Woodring of the Putnam County Sentinel, volunteers Cathy, Shannon, Jonelle, Brendon, Cherie and Dakota, you all wear superhero capes. As long as the links hold, here’s the news from June 6:

Putnam County Sentinel:

The Lima News/Putnam Voice:
plus photo gallery:

Couldn’t ask for more. Maybe sleep. But that’s OK, more than OK. As WLIO’s anchor Jeff Fitzgerald noted, “They say it should  be shared.” And we do.

A Shoot, a Release and a Puzzle Solved

As the woods back on the quarry develops, the trees that make the forest are changing. Where there were hawthorne and honeylocust and hackberry, now sugar maples are the prevailing tree. In autumn, these maples provide the brilliant bursts of color that make New England the tourist destination that it is. What better time, then, for The Quarry Farm’s third photo shoot and nature walk?

For those of you that missed it – and you did indeed miss it; it was yesterday – it was just about as good a day as we could have asked for: warm, but not too warm; slightly overcast, but just enough so that it enhanced the lighting for photography; and breezy but not windy. Diane Myers, the rehabilitator behind Black Swamp Raptor Rehabilitation, came for the second time and brought a trio of birds. Included in the mix were a screech owl, a short-eared owl and a barred owl. These birds are permanent residents at her facility and as such are more accustomed to people than their wild counterparts, making image captures a whole lot easier.  The shooting of the birds went as expected, with Diane setting up shop on the grounds near Red Fox Cabin, leashing the birds to tree limb perches so as to increase the impression of a more natural environment. As a bonus, Diane also brought along two rehabilitated birds for release, a red-tailed hawk and a screech owl. In addition to the birds, aquatic macroinvertebrates were on hand, as well as a juvenile Virginia opossum.

The walk back onto the quarry proper was beautiful, but uneventful. We did, however, have a mystery resolved. While on last winter’s photo shoot and walk, we discovered a vole skewered in a hawthorne tree. There was a lot of conjecture at the time as to how the vole could have come to such a state and we settled on the idea that something most likely stashed it there. Well, we were right. According to Dr. Biehl, a naturalist and falconer who was along for this fall’s walk, the vole was stashed there by a loggerhead shrike (

Monarchs and More

Yesterday was a gorgeous late summer day, the kind with clear blue sky and clouds so clearly defined that you could almost reach up and pluck one right out of the sky. We were honored on this golden day to present once again at the Fulton County “Monarchs and More” event just north of Pettisville at a wetland/prairie owned by Ed Nofziger.

“Monarchs and More” is sponsored by Fulton County Soil and Water Conservation District and Ed and Carol Nofziger. Presenters yesterday included Pat Hayes, Cheryl Rice, Diane Myers, Black Swamp Raptor Rehab, The Quarry Farm, and Pheasants For Ever. Attendees got to visit with a bald eagle and a red-tailed hawk, tag and release monarch butterflies, learn about raingardens, and check aquatic inhabitants.

Ed Nofziger is a generous, adventurous man who went out on a limb years ago and enrolled some of his acreage in the Conservation Reserve Program (CRP) in order to establish a pollutant-sponging natural area along State Route 2. Although CRP enrollees do benefit financially from the program, this is still a step from the norm for many farmers. But families and folk from throughout Northwest Ohio benefit from Nofziger’s leap of faith, as do school groups who participate in various science excursions to his property on State Route 2. The county commissioners encourage the annual “Monarchs and More” open house.

Thanks, Ed. And Amanda. And everyone who held a crayfish, dragonfly nymph and/or a leech at our station. Before you say, “ew”, did you know that only 10% of leeches actually suck blood, and that dragonflies continually eat their weight in mosquitoes, even as larva growing up in wetlands and streams? So there.

Videographer Steve Lauber of Lauber Digital captured great footage of the afternoon. 

Raptor Rehabilitation and Release

One of two pre-fledgling turkey vultures surrendered to Black Swamp Raptor Rehab.

This past weekend, we were offered the opportunity to do something a little bit different. As part of our function at The Quarry Farm, we often serve as transporters for several area wildlife rehabilitation centers. Laura Zitzelberger, director of operations at Nature’s Nursery Center for Wildlife Rehabilitation and Conservation Education, contacted us and asked if we’d serve as courier and chaperone for two pre-fledgling turkey vultures. The barn the two birds were nesting in was destroyed by the storm that tore this area apart in late June. Since then, the birds had been under the care of Diane Myers at Black Swamp Raptor Rehab. Nature’s Nursery had taken in a nestling turkey vulture and were excited at the chance to properly socialize their charge by introducing it to the two birds from Black Swamp.

Despite some rather unsavory habits, turkey vultures are social, intelligent animals (

The nestling turkey vulture surrendered to Nature’s Nursery.

Sadly, these positive attributes create a challenge for rehabilitators. Imprinting becomes an even more serious concern as their social nature makes them more prone to identifying with their caregivers. This can prove disastrous for any animal and can even prevent their successful release back into the wild. In an effort to offset their natural inclination to bond with their caregivers, the three birds were brought together in the hope that they would bond with each other. Although they can’t be housed together because of a significant difference in age and size, the three birds will be kept adjacent to each other and share a common wall; two on one side, one on the other. It’s hoped that all three birds will benefit from this situation, improving their chances for a successful release.

And speaking of releases, not only did we transport two raptors up, but we also brought one back with us.

Early last autumn, we were called on to pick up a red-tailed hawk in nearby Miller City, Ohio. The bird had been on the ground for a couple of days and the homeowner in whose yard the hawk was sitting had called Nature’s Nursery. We’re not entirely sure what was wrong with the bird, but it was in sorry shape when we arrived. Emaciated and dehydrated, the hawk had no energy to defend itself and we simply walked up to it, wrapped it in a blanket, put it in a carrier and transported it north. After months of exceptional care, the bird’s appearance and attitude had changed drastically and the rehabbers at Nature’s Nursery asked if we’d return her to the county of her birth.

The red-tailed hawk perches shortly after release.

The hawk was slow to realize its situation and initially only flew far enough to perch in the nearest tree. But after a bit and the pestering of several camera-wielding humans, it finally took to wing and flew away and out of sight. I won’t say it was a picture-perfect release, but it certainly was a success.

We hope for the same results for the turkey vultures. When it happens, you’ll be the first to know.