Volunteer Day – Turkeyfoot Woods Invasive Removal

Join Cave Road’s Crazy Clippers Crew

Saturday, October 5, 2019
From 10:00 am to mid-afternoon.
Meet at Whispering Springs (directions below)

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

Our Workday.

Cave Road, the hub of the Highlands Nature Sanctuary and our oldest and largest preserve, is one of the most important places we do our work. Today we will be working at Turkeyfoot Woods, clearing out Autumn Olives from the small meadows that line the creek, as well as other woody shrubs from the property’s woodlands. Turkeyfoot Woods is a 45 acre tract borders the Rocky Fork Creek, and boasts handsome, pastoral landscapes.

Leaders: Stan Sells

Stan Sells has been a land steward at the Highlands Nature Sanctuary since 2003, when he, and his wife, Diana, bought a property on Cave Road not far from Turkeyfoot Woods and donated it to the sanctuary, retaining life estate on the house. Stan began many years ago clearing out the multiflora rose and bush honeysuckles that had invaded his donated property, as well as adjacent tracts. When he realized the scope of the project, he recruited his neighbor on Cave Road, Reay Mackay, to help out by clearing out the bush honeysuckle from Reay’s own property. Reay responded, “What bush honeysuckle?” Long story short, Reay cleared his own property, and then started looking further afield (somewhat aghast). He next tackled the old tobacco field (now grown up in grasslands and shrubs) bordering Barrett’s Rim on Cave Road, and cleared the entire 20 acres of Autumn Olive, no small feat. After that, he moved to the Cave Road entrance known as Crow Point, and cleared Autumn Olives from the 80 acre prairie. Now his eyes are on Turkeyfoot Woods and indefatigable Reay Mackay says, “I want YOU to lend a hand!”  

Turkeyfoot Wood’s Natural History

The 45-acre tract lies right on the Rocky Fork Creek along a stretch where the usually-high canyon walls flatten out and from a level floodplain. Here two pastures lie, still retaining native Big Bluestem grasses which tower above one’s head in the fall. Surrounding the pastures is a young forest of white oak, hickories, and maple, and a black walnut-cottonwood riparian corridor. Watch for signs of Deer, Turkey, Cedar Waxwings, Great Blue Herons and the whistles of our native Wood Duck as they course the creek. Access. We will be using Ceremony Hill as our access to Turkeyfoot Woods, which is located between Hermitage and Barrett’s Farm on Cave Road. Ceremony Hill is an 18 acre old farm located on a high sunny knob that has a beautiful 360 degree view, acquired back in 2002. It was named “Ceremony Hill” because of this spectacular view and the feelings the land evoked.

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 these tasks need flexibility, good joints, and enough strength to pull the cut shrubs out of one’s way. 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 your lunch. 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. Avoid wearing clothes made of fleece or other fuzzy material. Our fields have various species of “stick-tights” and you could in theory walk out covered with thousands of them. To avoid this, don the smoothest fabric at your disposal. 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. Bugs will not be a problem at all.


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


Whispering Springs, 7240 Cave Road, Bainbridge, Ohio 45612

We will be meeting at Whispering Springs, which is right down the road from Ceremony Hill. If your leaders have not yet arrived, the gate to the driveway may be closed. This is not locked.  You can simply open the gate and park anywhere near the big barn.

From Hillsboro, On Highway 50, travel east on 50, through Rainsboro, and then another 1.8 miles. Turn right onto Browning road and continue onto Browning Road for 1.2 miles. Once you hit the stop sign, turn left on Cave Road. Whispering Springs will be the first driveway, immediately on your right. Look for a wooden gate bearing a faux crow, and a gravel driveway.

From Chillicothe, head west on Highway 50 through Bainbridge. Cave Road will be on your left in 4 miles. Turn left on Cave Road and follow the road south for 2.4 miles. Whispering Springs will be on your left. If you hit Browning Road you have gone about 200 feet too far.Look for a wooden gate bearing a faux crow, and a gravel driveway.


When Stan Sells isn’t tackling invasives at beautiful Turkeyfoot Woods, he may be traveling to other breathtaking places like the one you see here. But we sure are glad when he comes back home to the nature sanctuary!