Geology and Ecology of Lake Erie Islands:
July 23 – 25, 2018     Fee $75, plus meals and lodging

Facilitator: Steve Nickel, Port Clinton High School Science Teacher

Join Steve, as he helps us explore two islands of the North Shore of the Western Basin of Lake Erie, South Bass and Kelleys Islands. We will spend a day on each island discovering the uniqueness of this area in Ohio.

During our time on Kelleys Island, we will visit the Glacial Groves Geological Preserve, which is a National Natural Area; a Devonian Columbus Limestone quarry (old and new), and the North Shore Alvar.  Alvars are horizontal exposures of nearly barren limestone or dolomite which were exposed by glaciers and are kept open by a variety of environmental factors. This alvar was scoured by wind, waves and ice. Only a few specially adapted plant species can survive in this hostile terrain.

South Bass Island’s sedimentary bedrock deposits were formed during the Silurian Period. Part of this day will be a visit to the Aquatic Visitors Center. The center lets visitors experience Lake Erie science through up-close and hands-on exhibits.  We will also learn about Lake Erie’s complex ecosystem through displays, observe fish and other Lake Erie inhabitants in large aquaria, and learn about current Lake Erie research.  This center is currently operated by Ohio Sea Grant, in partnership with the Ohio Department of Natural Resources (ODNR), Division of Wildlife. If time allows, we will visit the Lake Erie Islands and Nature Center.

The participation fee of $75 includes the cost of the ferries each day. Participants will be responsible for the cost of their lodging and meals. Rooms are being held at a special rate at a local hotel, owned by a teacher at Port Clinton High School.Our Guest Inn,


Moss Musings – an introduction to an often unexplored world    
September 8th, 2018     Fee: $44

Facilitator:  Dr. Barbara Andreas, Professor Emeritus, Kent State University

Our first Saturday workshop will be facilitated by moss expert, Barbara Andreas!! What a treat!!

Mosses are often an overlooked part of the forest community, yet they cover rocks, fallen logs, and tree bases.  An amazing number of microinveterates live in this world.  Mosses play a role in the establishment of soil, water retention, and nutrient cycling.  Some mosses are ubiquitous, while others grow in specific microhabitats.  Mosses are the unsung heroes of the living world. This class will be introduced indoors and the time will be spent in the field. Bring a 10x hand lens.

The class fee includes the Textbook:  “Common Mosses of the Northeast and Appalachians” by McKnight, Rohrer, McKnight Ward and Perdrizet, Princeton University Press.


Wonderful World of Lichens                
October 13, 2018    Fee $35 

Facilitator: Robyn Wright-Strauss, Chief Naturalist, Edge of Appalachia Preserve & Cincinnati Museum Center

What is a lichen?? Come have fun learning about this symbiotic relationship that will make you take a likin’ to lichens!

Found in all habitats and on all seven continents of the planet, including Antarctica, lichens are an overlooked yet integral component of the world’s ecosystems. As a part of many different systems and cycles including food webs and the nitrogen cycle, lichens role as an organism cannot be touted enough. Lichens are also important indicators of environmental health and have been used to monitor air pollution. The cultural connections to lichens from around the world make an interesting study on how humans are influenced by the natural world.


Using Stories to Start Investigations        
February 2, 2019      Fee $35

Facilitator: Betty Altfator, Retired High School Science Teacher

Science comes alive when students listen to a story that sparks their imagination. Students are never too old for stories. Stories get them listening and wanting to learn.

Participants will hear stories both true and imagined. These stories will be presented to help create interest and motivation for exploring possible explanations for events in the stories using science knowledge and reasoning. Some examples include:  solving a mystery of where people had been by studying the sand in their shoes; testing fibers to help identify when someone may have died; and to introduce what is needed for combustion followed by demonstrations using different fuels and containers.

Using such lab ideas, teachers will see how to adjust the guidance needed to help students develop their own plans for investigations.   They are flexible in how much guidance the teacher can choose to provide, demonstrating how to move students from structured to more open inquiry.


Gee Whiz!! Stepping into Science                     
March 2, 2019     Fee $35

Facilitators: Empress Bethel & Lorrie Huysman, OEEC ‘s 2018 Environmental Science Teachers of the Year.

  This workshop will give participants a chance to step inside the classrooms of two award winning environmental science teachers! Be prepared for fun, stimulation and lots of ideas!!

Experience how they use inquiry in their classrooms at Salt Creek Intermediate and enjoy  ideas that can be adapted to your classroom and age level. Using models, simulations, argumentation, and technology, discover ways to stimulate research and inquiry based learning.

Lorrie and Empress will share how they set-up their classrooms, use journals and various science tools as the students work through their investigations, and incorporate science activities throughout the school. Hear about their Land Lab, recycling program, trash audit, classroom pond, and Junior Naturalist program.

A day of fun as you become the student!

An ARC of Appalachia Spring   
April 26-28, 2019     Fee $110, includes lodging and meals

Facilitators: Cathy and Paul Knoop

The Highlands Nature Sanctuary is the ARC of Appalachia’s oldest and largest preserve. The heart of the 2,200 acre preserve is the beautiful Rocky fork Gorge, a 100 foot high steep-walled canyon renowned for its rock formations, ancient white cedars, spectacular wildflower displays, grottoes, springs, and stone arches.

Friday night and Saturday, participants will visit the Forest Museum, explore a variety of areas learning about the geology and ecology of the gorge, while enjoying the spring wildflower displays and warbler migration. Some of the trails will include: Trail of the Ancients, Barrett’s Rim Trail, and Miller Nature Preserve.

On Sunday, we will travel over to Fort Hill. This preserve shelters one of the largest and oldest contiguous forests in Ohio. It is an outstanding remnant of the temperate deciduous forest that once covered nearly all of the Eastern United States.

This workshop will use the Sanctuary’s Beechcliff Lodge as the center for our weekend retreat at The ARC of Appalachia. Beechcliff is a fully remodeled turn-of-the-century group lodge with three full lengthporches, five bedrooms with two single beds each, a large kitchen, dining-room, and living-room. The lodge overlooks the Rocky Fork Gorge. All meals will be fixed in Beechcliff Lodge.


Participants may register for each class separately or for all desired classes (until each class registration quota is met).Deadline dates indicate when classes will be canceled due to low enrollment and registration is closed. 

Total Cost for Course without Graduate Credit:

The indicated workshop fee is payable to Camp Oty’ Okwa and should be included with your registration.

 Total Cost for Course with Graduate Credit is an additional $180:

Registration for graduate credit will be completed the first day of class. Tuition is $180 per credit hour and can be paid by check or credit card. Checks should be made out to Ashland University.

 For additional information:  Cathy Knoop 740-603-3911 or