Volunteer Day – Shellbark Woods Invasive Work Day

Join the Shellbark Woods Busy Beavers!

Sunday, November 3, 2019

From 10:00 am to mid-afternoon. Meet at Shellbark Woods (directions below)

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


Our Workday.

Shellbark Woods is a beautiful tract in the protective embrace of the Highlands Nature Sanctuary, lying not far from the Rocky Fork Gorge and adjacent to Miller State Nature Preserve. Like many properties coming up for sale, Shellbark was logged just before the Arc purchased it. Because the property boasted such rich dark peaty soils, the timber harvest opened the land up to waves of invasive plant seeds that germinated in the disturbed soils. Fortunately, a few years following the cut, tens of thousands of wildflower seeds also germinated, and now the natives and non-natives are racing to see who will claim the land. Fortunately, with the Arc’s dedicated intervention, the wildflowers are definitely winning. Now we just need to diligently continue our hard efforts every year to assure their victory. About 5 years ago a beaver family moved into the creek that flows through the property, completely transforming the landscape with multiple dams and many large woodland ponds, attracting herons, salamanders, frogs, and newts. They also drowned out lots of garlic mustard and multiflora rose! We were so inspired by their perseverance that we adopted their name for our invasive removal work. Join the Busy Beaver Team and help us help our returning wildflowers!

Leader: Jean Farkas

Jean is the President of the Arc of Appalachia’s board. She first connected to the Arc when she became a Land Steward at the Highlands Nature Sanctuary in 2008, adopting Shellbark Woods. Here she now lives part-time where she helps steward the property’s plant and animal diversity. You can find her every spring actively and energetically removing non-native invasive plants from Shellbarks’ organic soils and rich understory. She takes pleasure in being part of a larger community of neighbors and stewards who are passionate about nature preservation. Jean has provided extensive volunteer hours supporting the Arc’s education programs where she often performs the role of course facilitator. She is retired from a 30-plus year career as an administrator of health and wellness programs and non-profit organizations, most recently in Dayton, Ohio; and has served on several non-profit boards and professional organizations throughout her long philanthropic life.


Lunch is on us!

Jean will provide both lunch and snacks during your work day. Please don’t feel the need to pack your lunch.

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


Shellbark Woods, 13491 Barrett Mill Road, Bainbridge, OH 45612

To find Shellbark Woods, find your quickest route to the small town of Rainsboro, which lies on Highway 50 between Bainbridge and Hillsboro in Highland County. In the main intersection of Rainsboro, turn south on Barretts Mill Road and follow the road for roughly two miles. The small farm lane taking you back to Shellbark Woods will be on your left, just after a residential home on five acres, and a large open field, rimmed by dying pine trees that line Barretts Mill Road (a nematode is killing nearly all nonnative pines in Ohio). The driveway is not distinct, so look for the red flagging tape marking the drive, just before you encounter a long sweeping c-curve in the road, bending gradually to the left. if you see a cemetery on your right, or the entrance to Miller State Nature Preserve, you have gone too far. If you get lost, you can try calling Jean on her cell phone for assistance at 937-657-5992.

Jean Farkas, Shellbark’s Land Steward, enjoys the embrace of an old beech tree on the property.