Volunteer Day – Sad Song Invasive Workday

Join the Sad Song’s Happy Whistlers!

Saturday, November 3, 2018

10am to mid-afternoon. Meet at the parking lot of the Appalachian Forest Museum  (directions below)

Free Lodging available at the Arc’s Volunteer Headquarters. Please inquire when you register.

Our Workday.

Join us for a day of invasive plant removal, working on a beautiful property that few visitors get to see located at the Highlands Nature Sanctuary. We will be removing woody Invasive plants such as multi-flora rose and bush honeysuckle. Meet at the Appalachian Forest Museum on Cave Road in the morning and carpool to Sadsong.

Leader: Andrea Jaeger

Andrea Jaeger is one of the Arc’s office folks. She enjoys gardening, adventuresome cooking, exploring the woods, and nerdy podcasts. She looks forward to any opportunity to get outside and meet new people, and welcomes you to join in on the fun!


Lunch is on us!

Snacks and lunch will be provided. Andrea enjoys the challenge of accommodating specific dietary restrictions, so give us a heads up if that applies to you!


Sad Song’s Natural History

Sad Song Creek is one of the region’s most beautiful watersheds. It has magnificent rock formations, a spring-fed perennially running stream, gorgeous waterfalls, and a native-grass prairie covering a quarter of the land. Barrett Hill, the hill arising from the heart of the property, is one of the preserve’s most notable features. Its misty-blue silhouette seems to hover on the distant skyline from almost every vista offered along the Sanctuary’s current back-country trails. At a phenomenal section of Sad Song Creek, the cold waters of the creek cut through a most unusual and breathtaking rock formation. It looks as if some ancient explosion lifted large numbers of rocks the size of small cottages into the air, and let them fall in a chaotic disorderly “heap.” So close and jumbled are these rocks that the valley is filled with shadows, occasionally broken with slanting shafts of sunlight. Through this rock-maze of tilted boulders winds the stream of Sad Song Creek. Each fallen boulder is immersed in the deep green of mosses, and lime-stone-loving wildflowers such as columbine and stonecrop. Oozing from the ravine walls are dozens of cold springs that saturate the peaty soils, making entry into this fairylike realm difficult walking. It is known that at least one potentially threatened species grows along the rock walls lining Sad Song Creek, that of Sullivantia sullivantii. This alkaline-loving small-flowered saxifrage can be found in only three states in the whole world: Ohio, Virginia, and Indiana; and only in a few isolated pockets. (The Highlands Nature Sanctuary most likely harbors more numbers of this rare plant than any other single location in the world.)

 Physical Requirements

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 canes 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 stems of the woody invasives. Volunteers will be trained in safe application.

What to Bring

Bring a bottle of drinking water, 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. In the fall, our meadows are filled with various “stick-tight” seeds, so be sure not to wear fleece or other fuzzy fabrics. The smoother the fabric the better. 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. Poison ivy will not be a major problem in the fall or early spring since the leaves are not out  However, if you are extra sensitive to this allergen, it’s best to stay out of the meadows any time of the year, and we recommend that you choose projects that work primarily in the forest and stay out of the meadows. Bugs will not be a problem.


Please contact Kayla Hanning with any questions at services@arcofappalachia.org or 937-365-1935.


Appalachian Forest Museum, 7660 Cave Road, Bainbridge, Ohio 45612

Highlands Nature Sanctuary is located in Highland County in south central Ohio, approximately 25 miles west of Chillicothe, and 17 miles east of Hillsboro, four miles west of Bainbridge, and four miles east of Rainsboro, It lies one mile south of Highway 50 on Cave Road. Cave Road is located immediately east of the bridge over the Rocky Fork Creek. Watch for the highway signs. Turn south on Cave Road and follow for one mile until you reach the Appalachian Forest Museum. Parking is on the left hand side, across the road from the Museum.

whorled pogonia at Sadsong
Hepatica at Sadsong