Field Trip – Red Stone Farm
SHOWCASING THE ARC’S LATEST 200 ACRE CONSERVATION EASEMENT ACQUISITION!!
Explore the Easement’s 40-acre wetlands with photographer Doug Wechsler, our keynote speaker, Drausin Wulsin, Owner of Grassroots Graziers & Red Stone Farm, producer of organic grass-fed meats and Ray Stewart with the Ohio Wetlands Association, a non-profit promoting the conservation and expansion of vernal pools in Ohio.
Offered Saturday Only
General Hike Location: Red Stone Farm is 85 miles east of Cincinnati and 90 miles south of Columbus, and 7 miles south of Bainbridge, and a few miles north of Fort Hill. Red Stone is located in the historic Beech Flats region, once an immense forest swamp prior to the intensive agriculture and drainage activities of the last two centuries.
Driving Distance from the Appalachian Forest Museum: 25 minutes.
Length: We will be taking several short treks across the farm, some of them cross-country but none of them long. Total hiking will cover around 2 miles. The terrain is flat.
Time & Meeting Place: Meet at Red Stone Farm at 9:30 am. The hike will begin promptly at 9:45 am.
Bring: Bring shoes or boots you don’t mind getting wet (mid-calf boots are recommended), as we will be exploring the vernal pools and wetlands at Red Stone. Be sure bring a bottle of water and a daypack for your lunch. Please Note: There are no restrooms on site.
Difficulty: Moderate, only because we are sometimes hiking off trail. Otherwise relatively easy.
In 2017 a 200-acre easement at Red Stone Farm was donated to the Arc of Appalachia to preserve forty acres of successfully-restored swamp and marsh lands on the Wulsin-owned property, surrounded by preserved buffer forests to keep the wetlands’ water quality exceptionally pure. Also included in the easement is a small but precious fragment of primeval Beech Flats, two acres of land which still boasts large swamp white oaks, shellbark hickories and pin oaks – a tiny reminder of the once majestic swamp forests that once covered several square miles of the upper watershed of Brush Creek.
In the morning, Drausin Wulsin will lead us on a farm tour and relay the spell binding story of how he converted a traditional farm into a grass fed organic meat farm, and how the farm rebounded with healthier animals, increased soil quality, and outstanding native biodiversity – even on lands not included in the conservation easement. He will also share the sometimes harrowing tale of his vision of building a formal wetlands mitigation bank on the Farm. The successfully restored wetlands at Red Stone is often pointed to as a model for showcasing how to “do it right.”
In the afternoon, we will join Doug in exploring and photographing the denizens of the marshlands and vernal pools of Red Stone Farm, looking for everything that swims, jumps, slithers, and crawls. The wetlands is filled with spotted, Jefferson and marbled salamanders, breeding Leopard frogs, newts, and wood frogs, along with other vocal amphibians such as spring peepers, chorus frogs, and American toads. What we don’t manage to see in the day, we have another chance to hear at night. Sign up for Friday night’s field trips. The swamp forest will be bedecked with jack in the pulpits, spring beauties, and other spring wildflowers, but the main attraction of this field trip will definitely be animate! Be sure to wear or bring boots or some other foot attire that you don’t mind getting wet. We suspect the draw to jump in could be a bit irresistible.