Sitting at the trailhead, the sun is bright and warm. The grass is wet and I’m sitting by a tree which I wish I could identify on my own (note: download tree identifying app). I’m looking forward to exploring this new trail. A Northern Cardinal chirps away as I sit. There’s also a Tufted Titmouse and a Blue Jay. During this hike, we’ll be accompanied by Dr. Rooney!
At the beginning of our hike, we met the beautiful Spice Bush with its tasteful leaves and vibrant red berries. After some guesses from my peers, Dr. Rooney revealed that approximately 28,000 species depend on the Spice Bush. Though I am sure I’ve unknowingly walked by many in the past, it was fascinating to see and taste one because I had never heard of it. As we made our way toward the cemetery, we came across a large and beautiful spruce tree, which sat just outside the old location of the President’s House. As we entered the cemetery, the first thing I noticed was the bird activity, it was like suddenly we were downtown, and they were all there. I started using my bird identifying app and had it on for the rest of the hike, which I have images of in the gallery. We came across birds I had never heard of before, which was exciting. My hope this semester is to catch the song of a Scarlet Tanager on the identifier, which is a rare bird in Ohio but has been seen in these woods!
As we continued our hike, I learned that oak trees need fire to grow in order to receive the proper amount of sunlight. Dr. Rooney identified red and white oaks, a muscle wood tree, and hackberry. He also pointed out two white ash trees, both were dead, and he explained that white ash is about to go extinct, which I was sadly unaware of. I was able to smell the wild ginger along the trail after I crushed a leaf in my hand and learned that the only way wild ginger seeds can fertilize elsewhere is by way of ants! At the end of the hike, we got to hear the Pileated Woodpecker which was an awesome cherry on top.