Marvin Setty Richard G Waldron Grand Marshals selected for West Union Fourth of July Parade Adams County, Maysville Vet team up to save injured dog Michael S Knauff Victor P Price Success builds from the bottom up Finalists named for 2017 Fair Queen Contest William Glenn DeWine, Reader Call For Tips in Rhoden Murder Investigation MHS principal to take superintendent post Peebles Skate Park now a reality 2017-18 Fur and Feather Ambassadors named Caley Grooms is Cattlemen’s Beef Ambassador Dr. Mueller leaving Health Department’s free clinic Hourglass Quilt Barn returning to Adams County Lung, Thornburg are First Team All-District selections North Adams hosts annual Boys Basketball Camps Walk-off winner Wanda Hill George D Johnson Life can be a juggling act My favorite thing to do on the farm Wolves in Adams County! Ronald L Wedmore Three lessons from Dad Donald D Morgan Wenstrup uninjured in Virginia shooting Portman staff to hold grant funding workshop Raymond E Applegate Keeping the Peebles tradition alive Back on the hardwood, local hoops squads compete in Monday Night League Seven county athletes recognized as All-SHAC Baseball honorees Stepping to the podium Lady Hounds host Youth Volleyball Camp Senior Profile: Bryan Young Junior Deputy Boot Camps kick off in Manchester Hayes pleads “not guilty” to 109 counts Six-year-old girl finds long-lost class ring Jefferson Alumni awards annual scholarships Paul Tate Jr Marcus I Cox Jewell Gill James M Hill Jr Jeffrey S Jones Samuel A Disher Jack Sterling BREAKING NEWS: Parents face charges after son overdoses on opiate License Hikes and Tall Turkey Tales Danger under every rock Reigning Miss Ohio USA will judge 2017 Adams County Fair Queen Pageant Gordley’s hoops career will continue at Mount St. Joseph Russell C Newman Kenneth C Thurman George Uebel Summer Reading Program underway Honor Flight carries local veteran to DC When rescuers become victims Passing the torch, West Union hosts week-long basketball camp for future Dragons SENIOR PROFILE: Sara Knechtly Terry L Powell Willie Shreffler James C Fitzpatrick Senior Profile: Austin Parks Six countians named to All-SHAC Softball squad Lady Indians get summer camp season underway Memorial Day services pay tribute to local veterans WUHS Steel Band will perform at Bogart’s SSCC announces Honors Lists for spring semester Peebles Elementary releases Honor Roll for final nine weeks West Union Elementary announces Honor Roll for fourth nine weeks Back to State! Mom calls daughter “living proof” seat belts save lives Rent-2-Own donation means new soccer scoreboard at WUHS NAHS student selected for Engineering Summer Camp Southern Hills Athletic Conferences honors Spring Sports athletes Senior Profile: Kailyn Boyd Madison Welch receives Riffle Scholarship Junior Achievement Volunteers visit county’s seventh graders Marcella J Abbott James Ratliff Gladys Davitz Harry G Shupert Memories on Memorial Day A soldier’s story, a family’s grief Thank You for your sacrifice Seaman community honors local veterans with special tribute Former PES teacher dies in tragic accident All County Senior Citizens Day celebrated Parks signs with SSCC Soccer Senior Profile: Lexie Bunn Jessie Rodgers Memorial Day services set for county Truly our greatest generation Bertha Lashley Maia Swartz Jessie Rodgers Errors spell the end of Devils’ baseball season Senior Profile: Carry Hayslip Lady Hounds’ season ends with tourney loss to Paint Valley

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.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

© The People's Defender - All rights reserved