Fred G Davis Ohio Valley FFA Officers for 2016-17 named ACRMC Emergency Care Center renamed after Dr. Bruce Ashley West Union holds football Homecoming festivities First graders pick the Sheriff Cross honored by ODNR with the prestigious Cardinal Award Renowned Ohio artist visits WUHS Don and Venita Bowles named 2016 Outstanding Fair Supporters PES students part of new Lego League Ferno donates $2,500 to OVCTC From the cistern to the city water Basketball officiating class being offered in October Peebles rolls by West Union in straight sets Par for the course, Dragons sweep SHAC Golf titles Greyhounds hang on late for first win of 2016 season You have to understand the process to understand the job Alex K Miller Ann E Campbell Scott N Atkinson Senior Profile: Tyler Fowler Martin named to All-Tourney Team in North/South Battlefield Classic 200 years on the banks of the Ohio, in a little town called Moscow Edwin P Prince ACRMC Emergency Care Center renamed after Dr. Bruce Ashley Volleyball teams honor young cancer patient MHS honors veterans during pregame Kirker Covered Bridge gets a ‘Brown Goose’ facelift Adams County Heritage Days are Sept. 30-Oct. 1 Lady Devils prevail 1-0 over Peebles on Kickin’ Cancer Night Senior Profile: Patrick Baldwin Michael W Milby James R Grooms Sr. Fall Festival crowns Little Miss and Mister UPDATE: Pike County multiple murder Investigation; redacted autopsy reports released West Union Elementary names August Students of the Month SHAC streak continues for North Adams volleyball West Union volleyball picks up a pair of W’s Animal Shelter booth sees record crowds at Old Timer’s Day Festival Dragons top Manchester in Defender Bowl battle, 28-22 Senior Profile: Kendall Gallowitz Lady Dragons grab early lead in SHAC Tourney, final round is coming Friday Another Old Timer’s Days in the books and successful Run Gio Foundation to hold Oct. 1 benefit in Adams County Betty L Kelley Tom Cross, ACTVB Director, to receive ODNR Cardinal Award Seaman Fall Festival begins Wednesday, runs through Saturday Dragons still lead after two rounds of SHAC Golf, McCarty tops individual leader board Lady Dragons get SHAC win, downing Fayetteville 3-1 Overcoming obstacles, Pennywitt etches his name in MHS record books Dragons take first day lead in SHAC Golf Tourney New drug treatment offers more hope for recovering addicts Ronnie G Nace Lucille Wright Lois M Bixler Time to change those soccer rules Senior Profile: Hannah Grimes ‘Cruising up and down the main drag all night long’ Community effort erects town clock S Bridge to be replaced on Graces Run Road Senior Profile: Brittany Caldwell Lady Dragons break ACCC course record Dragons roll in county gridiron battle Down to last play, Hounds fall in heartbreaker I never won, but those lawn games were special times Donnie Austin Shari R Hiltibran Bentonville hosts 40th Annual Harvest Festival West Union soccer teams sweep Williamsburg, St. Patrick “Rockin” the mats again Senior Profile: Brittany Caldwell Sylvester Mefford Local teens selected to State 4-H Teen Leadership Council Connect with Serpent Mound over Old Timer’s Days Guthrie to speak about pests and diseases in beekeeping Old Timers Days Festival Cornhole Tournament is this week Defender Bowl coming Thursday Bentonville Harvest Festival holds Toddler Pageants 40th Anniversary Bentonville Harvest Festival hosts Baby Show 9/11 Reminds Us That We Are All Americans Lady Dragons are 2016 County Cup winners Bob Birchfield Senior Profile: Ryan Henderson Dragons take JV golf match Another rough night for Greyhounds, Notre Dame rolls to big win Remembering 9/11-15 years later Hughes honored at GABP Concussions and Youth Sports Roberta Newman to retire after more than 46 years at First State Bank Reaching out to the Baton Rouge flood victims Bentonville Harvest Festival celebrates its 40th anniversary Fire it up! Annual Jr. Fair BBQ cooks up another savory fare Lady Indians take down Whiteoak in four sets Senior Profile: Zack Best Greyhounds produce three winners at the 2016 Dragon Run Lady Hounds win in five sets at West Union Teresa Houdeshell Rosa Grooms Roy C Shiveley Mathew R Potts Staggs and Louiso to visit nation’s capital

Children get hands-on experience with Ohio reptiles

Jenny Richards, right, Head Naturalist at the Shawnee State Park Nature Center, allows this young man to get up close and personal with this reptile during the Return of the Snakes program on June 25.
Jenny Richards, right, Head Naturalist at the Shawnee State Park Nature Center, allows this young man to get up close and personal with this reptile during the Return of the Snakes program on June 25.

Return of the Snakes 2016 comes to Serpent Mound –

Story and photo by Patricia Beech –

Children were given the opportunity to get up close and personal with reptiles during the third annual Return of the Snakes program hosted by the Arc of Appalachia at Serpent Mound Park on Saturday, June 25.

Researchers and field naturalists from Shawnee State Park, Hueston Woods State Park, and the Arc of Appalachia held educational presentations throughout the day, and visitors had the opportunity to view numerous live reptiles and interact with docile native snakes handled by expert educators.

The days featured presentations included: “Timber Rattlesnakes and Copperheads – A Precarious Future” by Jenny Richards; “Turtles of Ohio with Shawn Conner; Venomous Snakes of Ohio – Identification and Natural History” with Jenny Richards; and a “Fibbing Contest and Snakes Tails – Tall Tales Myths and Legends for Kids” with Jenny Richards.

The family-friendly event featured a Field Outing for aspiring young naturalists nine years old and up who are attracted to wildlife conservation. The children were taught how to spot reptiles, learned where reptiles live, when they are active, and what they eat.

A variety of reptiles native to Ohio were on display including a copperhead, rattlesnakes, an eastern king snake, garter snakes, lizards, toads, and a variety of turtles.

Visitors were given the opportunity to interact with docile snakes and turtles handled by expert educators.

“Our goal is to get people feeling more comfortable with reptiles,” said Jenny Richards, Head Naturalist at the Shawnee State Park Nature Center.

Curious faces press to the glass to watch this Eastern King snake make a meal out of a smaller garter snake at the June 25 Return of the Snake program at Serpent Mound.
Curious faces press to the glass to watch this Eastern King snake make a meal out of a smaller garter snake at the June 25 Return of the Snake program at Serpent Mound.

Richards spent her childhood exploring the outdoors near her family’s home on the edge of Shawnee Forest. Today, she is considered one of Ohio’s foremost nature interpreters.

“I’ve always loved wildlife and the outdoors,” she says. “And I’ve always been an advocate for conservation.”

Since 1999 she has traveled across Ohio with her collection of reptiles, speaking to as many as 14,000 children a year in her educational outreach programs.

She is credited with inspiring more young people to pursue conservation and outdoor education vocations than any other naturalist in the state.

Richards was joined by Eric Davenport from Clermont County Water Resources. While teaching the children how to hold and interact with an Eastern king snake, he explained that a fungus was causing a rapid drop in snake populations across the United States. “Snakes are responsible for controlling the mouse population,” said Davenport. “Mice carry serious viruses such as the bubonic plague and the hantavirus which can be fatal for humans.”

Naturalist Shawn O’Connor from the Hueston Woods State Park in College Corner near Oxford gave a presentation on Ohio’s turtle species. While children encircled the turtle pool, O’Connor shared the natural history of Ohio’s turtles, both aquatic and ground. He explained why the eastern United States is an important center for turtle conservation and protection, especially for the common box turtle. “A loss of habitat has caused box turtle numbers to drop sharply,” O’Connor said. “The species is now on the endangered watch list.”

A Fibbing and Snake Tales contest including tall tales, myths and legends for kids was held in the afternoon. Those attending were invited to tell their tallest, wildest snake tale, amphibian fable, or lizard legend while Richards untangled the facts from the fiction.

Additional activities for the children included face painting and decorating toad shelters for vegetable gardens.

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