Volunteer Day: Fort Hill Invasive Removal
with the Fort Hill Mountain Lovers
After working, enjoy supper made over a campfire!
Saturday, April 21, 2018
Invasive Removal: 10:00am – 3:00pm
FOLLOWED BY PRIMITIVE COOKING DINNER!!
Free Lodging available at the Arc’s Volunteer Headquarters.
Fort Hill is, in our humble opinion, THE premier forest of Ohio. It is 1300 acres in size, and is the largest tallest forest in the state with many pockets of old growth and just plain OLD trees. The size of the park and its 11 miles of hiking trails offer visitors a place of calm solitude in the back country, but provide some challenges for managing the site. Even an undisturbed gem of a forest like Fort Hill can’t completely resist invasive plants. No forest in Ohio deserves more of our help. We will primarily be working on the Tree of Heaven that is invading the forest by cutting and treating with an herbicide. We will be walking a mile into the forest to our work site. If you can stay the entire day, engage your hands in the preparation of a primitive cooking activity and enjoy dinner at the Fort Hill residence with Fern Truitt, Arc staff member, and your day’s leader.
Fern Truitt is Land Manager for the Arc of Appalachia. She works daily with invasive plants, landscape care and ecosystem stewardship. Fern grew up learning many primitive skills, though she wouldn’t have necessarily called them that at the time. She loves doing things such as cooking over a fire, collecting wild edibles, and making tools and utensils from what other people see as just ordinary sticks. To her these skills were simply a way of life, providing practical outcomes that were cheap, fruitful, and environmentally responsible, as well as providing an outlet for creativity. Fern is a legend around the Arc staff and many of our volunteers. A woman of few words, she speaks volumes about her conservation ethics in her actions. Fern cans and stores much of her own food from her Fort Hill home garden, is a great cook, and provides most of her protein from sustainable hunting. Learn by watching, and you won’t find a better naturalist, outdoors woman, or teacher in the woods than Fern Truitt.
Cooking with Fire! Primitively Cooked Dinner
Fern is an ancient skills expert and in recent years has given primitive courses in the fall, including primitive cooking classes. Join Fern after your work day for some hands-on primitive cooking and of course, eating!! The campfire will be a pleasant attraction, too, after an earnest work day in the woods.
About Fort Hill
The undisturbed forest of Fort Hill supports a large number of plants estimated at over 800 species, including rare and endangered such as the Canby’s Mountain lover. The park also has two Native American mounds on the property. The largest one, Fort Hill proper, is a well preserved hilltop enclosure mound with tall earthen wall measuring 1 ½ miles long. The other is a circular ceremonial enclosure 170 feet in diameter and extremely well preserved, located on the far side of the park from the main entrance and accessed by the Buckeye Trail. Very few artifacts have ever been found on the site, but the ones that exist, and the nature of the mounds themselves, both suggest they are of Hopewell Culture origin and were constructed 2,000 years ago. See Fort Hill’s webpage.
No invasive removal experience is necessary for this work day, and the tasks do not take a lot of physical endurance nor strength. Garlic mustard plucking in the spring requires only light bending at the waist, since the garlic mustard grows almost to hip height and pulls out of the ground easily. Sawing or cutting invasive woody shrubs and trees at their bases does require squatting close to the ground, so workers on this task need flexibility and good joints. We will be applying herbicide in small quantities to the cut stumps and stems of the woody invasives, Volunteers will be trained in safe application.
What to Bring
Bring a bottle of drinking water and a packed lunch, and, if you are coming to remove woody plants and do not have prescription glasses, bring a pair of sunglasses for eye protection. We also recommend wearing footwear with a good tread, and a brimmed hat to keep the sun off your face. If you have your own clippers, garden gloves with rubber coated protection, and light handsaws, bring them along. If you don’t, we can share our tools with you. Bugs and poison ivy will not be a problem.
No experience necessary!
Human beings are literally born to recognize plants in the woods. We’ve been doing it successfully for hundreds of thousands of years. You will be amazed how proficient you will become at plant recognition in just 20 minutes of time. Soon your hands and eyes do all the thinking for you and you can simply relax and enjoy the forest.
Please contact Land Manger Fern Truitt at firstname.lastname@example.org or 937-588-3221.
Address for GPS: 13614 Fort Hill Road, Hillsboro, OH 45133
From the North or East through Chillicothe to Fort Hill:
Fort Hill is approximately 70 miles from outerbelt 270 in Columbus. We estimate it is a one hour and thirty minute drive to your destination from the outerbelt of Columbus. Be sure to add on how long it takes you to get to that exit from your starting point to estimate your total driving time. To Begin: Take the 270 outerbelt around Columbus and head south toward the SR 23 Exit. Exit on SR 23 and go south. (If 270 were a clock, the exit is at 6:00). Follow Route 23 all the way past Circleville, into Chillicothe. You will see several exit ramps in the Chillicothe area. Be sure to watch for the one that says Route 50 WEST, not Route 50 EAST which would erroneously take you to Athens – in the wrong direction! After you correctly exit, Route 50 highway signs will clearly direct you through Chillicothe. Take Route 50 West through Chillicothe. After approx. 20 miles you will pass through the town of Bainbridge. On the far side of Bainbridge, turn left on SR 41 South. Follow 41 south, past JR’s farm market, and through the town of Cynthiana. Go several more miles. Watch for SR 73 coming in on your right and begin paying close attention. Watch for a noticeable sign that says Fort Hill on your right. Turn right on the marked road and follow the signs to Fort Hill. It will be on your left. Follow the road past the brick museum building and over the wooden bridge.
From the West through Cincinnati to Fort Hill:
Fort Hill is approximately 70 miles from Outerbelt 275. We estimate it is a one hour and fifteen minute drive from the HWY 50 exit on the outerbelt. Be sure to add on how long it takes you to get to that exit to estimate your total driving time. To Begin: Get on the 275 outerbelt around Cincinnati and go to the Milford area (southeast corner of the metropolis on 275, if 275 were a clock the exit would be at 3:30). Exit on Route 50 east. Follow 50 east approximately 40 miles to the town of Hillsboro. Cave Rd is approximately 15 miles east of downtown Hillsboro on Rt. 50. As you begin to enter the Highlands region, you will drive through the small village of Rainsboro. Soon after you will cross Cave Road, the location of the Highlands Nature Sanctuary. About six miles beyond Rainsboro you will be approaching Bainbridge. Before you enter the town you will see SR 41 off to your right, at the Dollar General store. Turn right here. Follow 41 south past JR’s farm market, and through the town of Cynthiana. Go several more miles. Watch for SR 73 coming in on your right and begin paying close attention for your final destination. Watch for a noticeable sign that says Fort Hill on your right. Turn right on the marked road and follow the signs to Fort Hill. It will be on your left. Follow the road past the brick museum building and over the wooden bridge.