Nature’s Choir Workshop Schedule

Thursday, August 15:

2:00 pm: Check in to your Lodges – participants who are lodging at the Sanctuary may check into their lodges 3:45 pm: Gather at the Appalachian Forest Museum

3:45 pm Meet at the Appalachian Forest Museum. Please gather at the Museum meeting room to prepare to begin the program at 4 pm sharp.

4:00 pm: Welcome to Nature’s Choir – Introduction to the Arc and to the services and facilities of the Appalachian Forest Museum. Meet your colleagues and course leaders.

6:00 pm: Dinner at the Appalachian Forest Museum

7:00 pm: The Art of Active Listening I. Active listening works with insects as well as people! Before we head off into the field, Lisa Rainsong will offer guidance on how to actively listen to the songs of insects. You will receive a basic introduction to relevant musical terms describing insect music, and guidance on how to start training your ears to be able to eventually identify different species by sound.

8:00 pm:  Your First Sound Immersion!! We will be heading out to the field for your first introduction to filtering the “wall of sound” into its various instrumental components. On this first night we will be taking it easy and allowing your mind and ears to adjust to new ways of perceiving the complexity of summer sounds. In mid August the singers will be approaching a peak in their breeding enthusiasm, so it will be a wondrously intense sensory experience.

Friday, August 16:

8:00 AM: Early morning listening hike with Lisa and Wil. For those early risers, this is an optional listening hike at the Highlands Nature Sanctuary. Those who wish to sleep in or relax in the morning are more than welcome to excuse themselves from participating.

9:00 AM: Breakfast 

10:00 AM – 1:00 PM: Morning Presentation “Singing Insects: an introduction to their natural history and ID.”  Learning the songs of singing insects is challenging yet exhilarating. It is extremely exciting to being able to put a name to the singer that you are hearing because that very act means you are actually able to distinguish one sound, and therefore one species, from the rest of the symphony! First, we will help you become familiar with the terminology for the various sounds these singers make. Wil Hershberger will help interpret the trills, chirps, lisps, zits, tisps, and rattles so that your mind can begin to sort out recognizable and describable sounds.

1:00 PM: Lunch 

BREAK – Free time to rest, relax, or hike one of the many beautiful trails in the Highlands Nature Sanctuary. We will be working your mind and ears hard tonight, so rest as much as you need to.

5:00 PM: Introduction to the Songs and Natural History of Cicadas. Every bio-region in the world with sufficient water and a long enough summer season has its own distinct assemblage of native cicadas. Cicada songs contribute to a sense of place, and are often associated with the “call of the wild.” Hearing the sound of a cicada that has long been absent from your life can take you back in time as emotionally and as quickly as a long ago fragrance. Southern Ohio is rich in cicadas. These dawn to dusk singers require you to develop new listening skills and musical terms. This will be your introduction.

6:00 PM: Dinner 

7:00 PM:  “Active Listening II – how to listen and identify musical insects by sound.”

8:00 PM – Field Trip. “Back into the Wall of Sound!”  Tuning into the tree crickets and meadow katydids. Now that your ears and minds are starting to adjust, we will work harder to pull the instrument players out of the night symphony.

Saturday, August 17:

8:00 AM: Breakfast. 

9:00 AM: Field Trip to Adam County’s Prairies. We will carpool with as few cars as possible and head to the next county south, an unglaciated region of prairies associated with southern Ohio’s karst country and many rare plants and animals.

10:00 AM: The Cicadas!!! 

Packed lunch in the field. We will stay into the afternoon and then return back to the Highlands Nature Sanctuary.

BREAK – Free time to rest, relax, hike, etc. We will once again be staying up into the night, so rest up while you can.

5:00 PM: Crickets and Katydids in Context, led by Lisa .

6:00 PM: Dinner

7:00 PM: Introduction to recording Nature Sounds,” led by Wil.

8:00 pm Night listening – Field trip to Ross County wildlands.

Sunday, August 18:

Before heading to breakfast, please remove all of your personal belongings from the lodges so housekeeping can begin cleaning.

9:00 AM: Breakfast 

10:00 AM: Practicum in the field! Here’s an opportunity to see how well you have learned the daytime singers.

NOON:  Never without Song – enlighten your days! – OR – Bringing Insect Song into Your Home.  Learn about caring for your crickets and other insects in your home. Enjoy an indoor presentation demonstrating the diversity of species that make good companions in the home. You will also learn which species to avoid, and how to set up terrariums to best support your inside chirping friends.

12:30 PM: Lunch and Departure.  Participants are invited to drive safely home, or hike on their own. Trails close at sunset.

Slightly Musical Conehad by Lisa Rainsong
Mole Cricket by Wil Hershberger
Photo by Lisa Rainsong
Slightly Musical Conehead. Photo by Wil Hershberger.
Dark Brown Straight-lanced Meadow Katydid. Photo by Lisa Rainsong.
Snowy Tree Cricket. Photo by Wil Hershberger.
Black-sided Meadow Katydid by Lisa Rainsong