Nature Notes: The Wilds announces fall, winter activities

Staff Writer
Columbus Alive

The Wilds 14000 International Rd., Cumberland 740-638-5030

The regular visitor season at The Wilds ends at the end of October, but special events that highlight the facility's unique conservation and education opportunities continue throughout the fall, winter and spring.

The Wilds is a 10,000-acre conservation facility near Zainesville. It houses numerous endangered species of Asian, African and North American wildlife. Here's my feature with Brandon Speeg, a biologist with the animal management department.

The coolest thing to do is take a bus tour around the grounds, which look more like African prairie land than something set in southern Ohio.

A recent press release noted a full season of activities in a program called "The Winter on The Wilds," which includes nature hikes, tracking sessions, birding and much more.

The full schedule after the jump...

The Winter On the Wilds Designed by the Wilds’ professional conservation education staff, the day-long programs provide immersive and memorable learning opportunities on a wide variety of topics.

Fall Owl Call October 13 Learn about owl natural history, food habitats, and go for a night hike to call in owls.

Waterfowl Identification Day October 27 Hike the wetlands and drive to many Wilds and AEP lakes in search of fall ducks.

Tracking the Wilds November 10 Follow the wild trail to learn about wildlife signs, create track casts, check bobcat scent stations and observe wildlife. Hike 'n Hayride November 17 Enjoy an informative hike through the middle of the Wilds, followed by a hayride.

Wilds Trail Day November 24 Learn and practice proper trail construction and maintenance with Wilds naturalists and explore unknown reaches of the Wilds.

Wildcats December 1 Check out several bobcat scent stations for tracks and discuss bobcat natural history and behavior. Visit with the cheetahs at the new Mid-Sized Carnivore Conservation Center, allowing a look at the differences and similarities of some wild cats. Forest Exploration Day December 8 Learn winter tree and plant identification by bark, bud, seed and other hidden characteristics as well as study forest ecology and wander some of the hinterlands of the Wilds. Wild, Winter Tour December 15 Come see what the animals at the Wilds do in the winter. See who stays out and who comes in. Visit winter animal facilities and see some species up close. Raptor Field Identification Day January 5, 2008 Enjoy live bird presentations by the Columbus Zoo staff and field identification training on the Wilds.

Eagle Survey Day January 12, 2008 Count bald and golden eagles on the Wilds and along the neighboring eagle habitats.

Raptor Field Identification Day February 9, 2008 Enjoy live bird presentations by the Columbus Zoo staff and field identification training on the Wilds.