John Howard, Course Leader
John Howard possesses the best of all the qualities associated with “naturalist.” He has an insatiable curiosity and a perennial sense of wonder. He can tell you something interesting at the drop of the hat about everything from a stone to a sedge to a stonefly, and he can find amazing things in nature that the rest of us walk right by. Studying the back roads of Adams County his entire life, he knows nearly all -if not all- of the dragonflies, butterflies, vascular plants, birds, amphibians and reptiles, and has a good working understanding of everything else. John is particularly suited to lead our prairie course, being the former owner of property that would become The Arc of Appalachia’s Kamama Prairie Preserve, home to 43 state listed plants and an Adams County natural gem. Under John’s stewardship this prairie was restored and nursed back to health before being acquired by the Arc of Appalachia. Taking a nature walk with John is a rare privilege for even his close friends, who don’t think twice about driving half-way across the state for an opportunity to watch fireflies, catch salamanders heading for the vernal pools, photograph the first spring flowers in bloom even if they are only 1/2 inch tall and tomorrow’s forecast calls for snow, or look for a new-to-science moth or caterpillar on an obscure plant. John has recently retired from General Electric at the Peebles Jet Engine Testing Facility, is devoted to his family and beloved grandchild, and supports a packed schedule of guided outings. Studying the prairies of Adams County with John Howard is an opportunity you should not pass up.
Brent Charette, Course Facilitator
Brent Charette was trained in forest resource management at Hocking Technical College. His first career was with the Ohio Department of Natural Resources, working as a state-wide naturalist for the Division of Parks and Recreation. He eventually went on to work as Park Manager for Malabar Farm State Park. From his childhood Brent was most comfortable and at home in natural landscapes. He loves the limitless variety of prairies and wetlands embedded in the America’s Great Eastern Forest, each unique community differentiated by site, species combinations, and individual life histories. Becoming familiar with the trees and herbaceous plants as a young man was a transformative experience for Brent. It opened up for him a looking glass into a world of fascinating and complex ecosystems both above and below ground; turning a “wall of green” into astonishing tapestries of identifiable and diverse life forms. Brent is honored to be able to organize and facilitate this course so that not only can the participants learn about one of the East’s rarest and most unique natural communities, but Brent can be a student as well. He knows that both he and the registrants will be in the presence of one of our regions’ finest naturalists and this is not a course he would want to miss. Brent will be supporting the course in endless ways, everything from supplying the directions to getting the meals on the table. He will be at your service all weekend.