Hiram College

Take a walk on the wild side. Celebrate the Hiram College James H. Barrow Biological Field Station’s 50th anniversary at a Fall Color Trek. Festivities take place Saturday, Oct. 14, 10 a.m.-1 p.m. at the 550-acre field station, 11305 Wheeler Road, Garrettsville. Transportation to and from the field station and available throughout the event begins at 9:45 a.m., with pickup and drop-off in front of Hinsdale Hall, 11753 Garfield Road.

“Corny” the snake, a baby snapping turtle, and other animals, plus nature-artifact touch tables and related displays open the event at the field station’s Frohring Research Laboratory. Just outside, a monarch waystation, pollinator penthouse, and phenology garden await curiosity-seekers. While singer, songwriter, and naturalist Sam Sapp serenades guests with “Songs and Tails from the Woods” (11 a.m.-noon), the field station will buzz with activities that offer behind-the-scenes peeks at its research and study functions. Snake surveying (under wooden boards), bird watching (to spot such species as northern cardinals, gray catbirds, black-capped chickadees, American robins, and perhaps some fall migrants from behind a “blind”), and electrofishing stations will be dotted throughout the woodlands.

As event-goers hike along the Ruth E. Kennedy Memorial Nature Trail, they will have an opportunity to watch apple pressing and sample cider, learn about grassland restoration and wetland water-quality testing, see a maintained forest plot alongside one affected by invasive plants, and learn about the Interurban Service railroad line, which ran through the field station in the early 1900s.

Sites for attendees to build a fairy house, compose a nature journal, get a lesson in nature photography, toast marshmallows, and even paint a rock round out the event. The Fall Color Trek is free and open to the public.

“Many of the buildings and areas were established in the first years of James H. Barrow Biological Field Station’s existence and many of these still exist today,” says field station director Jim Metzinger ’88. “What makes this place similar is that we continue to give the students a true experiential learning experience on a daily basis.  We continue to take students out in the field to learn about their natural surroundings.”

Metzinger adds that today’s field station, however, offers practical learning opportunities to students in all academic disciplines.

“We don’t just cater to the biology and environmental studies students.  We attract and engage the management student, the computer science student, the art and music student as well as all members of the surrounding community,” he says.