Appalachian Forest School in Southern Ohio

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From a press release sent out by The Arc of Appalachia Preserve System:

Those of us living east of the Mississippi River all share something in common. We live within the primeval boundaries of what was once North America’s great temperate broadleaf forest. Only a few hundred years ago, this nearly unbroken forest cloaked the entire eastern third of the continent. Despite its size, for most citizens our native biome has become an “invisible forest,” fragmented from its original unified grandeur, and unrecognized as a living force in our daily lives.

The Arc of Appalachia Preserve System is encouraging Eastern citizens to awaken to their common forest heritage. Acknowledging our shared home in what was once among the world’s largest forests could help us connect more deeply with our native landscape, connect more strongly other forest stewards across multiple state lines, and anchor a more meaningful sense of place in the world.

To advance forest literacy among citizens, the non-profit Arc of Appalachia Preserve System of southern Ohio is sponsoring the new Appalachian Forest School, an institute offering 3-7 day long courses to be held at various locations within the historic range of the Eastern Forest. Each course includes an emphasis on global and national perspectives, and invites a cross-disciplinary understanding of the temperate forest biome in which the majority of U.S. citizens work and live. Instructors have been carefully selected from professors, field researchers, land managers, and naturalists — combining talents and specialties to present a broad and integrated view of the Eastern Forest. Even as disturbed as America’s Eastern forest is today, the second growth forest that remains in Eastern United States is the largest remnant temperate forest in the northern hemisphere, offering significant potential for ecological study and restoration.

The 2009 Course Schedule includes:

Forests of the Ozarks, “Life on the Edge,” May 26-June 1st.
Visit pine-oak woodlands and remnant old-growth forests on the interface of two major biomes — where the Eastern temperate forest meets the prairies of the Midwest. See the nation’s largest and cleanest spring-fed river systems, rich canebrake communities sheltering Swainson’s warblers, wild rarely-explored caves, collared lizards and other fascinating reptiles, and wet orchid-strewn glades in one of the largest forest wilderness areas left in Eastern United States.

Trees of the Temperate Forest, July 12-17th.
Learn how to recognize 45 species of primary temperate forest trees, learn forest succession principles, and apply skills in interpreting the health and history of any single woodlot. This course will prepare you to recognize approximately 90% of the standing trees in forests located throughout the forest heartland, from Maine to Tennessee.

Forest Waterways, Lifeblood of the Eastern Forest, August 16-21st.
An integrated view of the richest aquatic systems to be found anywhere in the temperate world — the streams and rivers of Eastern United States. Learn the global significance of our rivers’ fresh-water fish, mussels, salamanders, crayfish, and other aquatic wildlife; and their ecological inter-relationships.

Private Forest Landowners Course – Managing for Biodiversity, Sept 18-20th
Learn how to clarify the management goals you hold for your privately-owned forest. Unlike most courses which teach owners how to make financial profit from the timber assets of their forest, this course teaches interested owners how to sustainably manage a forest for the primary purpose of restoring high biodiversity of native plants and wildlife.

2010 and beyond:

Forests of the Far South – Exploring the Wilderness of Florida’s Panhandle

Forests of the Far North – Forests of the Boundary Waters of Minnesota

Forests of the Heartland – The Mother Forest of the Southern Appalachians

Spring Ephemerals – Wildflowers of the Eastern Forest

Interpreting our Eastern Forest Heritage – Training for Teacher Naturalists

For more information on the non-profit Appalachian Forest School, see www.highlandssanctuary.org/WE/AFS.htm
For recent copies of Nature Notes from the Eastern Forest, click here: www.highlandssanctuary.org/naturenotes.backlist.htm

Description of Sponsor:

The Arc of Appalachia Preserve System is an educational non-profit organization that operates 12 preserves and stewards a total of 3000 acres in rural southern Ohio for the purpose of forest biodiversity preservation. The Arc of Appalachia operates visitor education and hiking trails at the Appalachian Forest Museum, featuring dramatic educational murals that interpret the global significance of the temperate broadleaf forest. The Appalachian Forest Museum is located in its headquarters, the Highlands Nature Sanctuary, in Bainbridge, OH, 45612. The Arc of Appalachia also sponsors The Appalachian Forest School, offering adult courses that advance temperate forest education and conservation among Eastern citizens.


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