Field Day Information and FAQ:


Questions? Please contact Seth Oglesby or Bridgette Warner at 937-365-1935 or email

Cancellation Policy. Sorry, there are no cancellations provided for this event. Please try to find someone to fill your place.

What background do I need to enjoy this field day? You don’t need any background to attend this field day. Children 12 or older are also welcomed to attend if they come with a guardian and are motivated with a sincere interest to learn. The attention and seriousness required by the content is admittedly not perfect for most youths, but we totally trust your judgement in this matter and recognize this could be a life-changing experience for nature-oriented youths. 

How do I know if I am confirmed? We will do our best to keep the occupancy of all of our field trip offerings up to date online. If a field trip is filled, we will be noting that fact within 24 hours of its discovery. Once you register, we will get back to you in 2-3 days to confirm if one of your selected locations is open and available, and if your registration is thus confirmed. If you cannot attend any of the field trips you selected (you can make multiple selections in ranked order), then we will refund your registration.

Capacity: We are limiting each field trip to 12-16 people to give you customized curriculum and individual attention.

Physical Ability. If you have the capacity to hike up to 3 miles without injury or discomfort, you should have no trouble with this course, as most of our hikes will be covering less ground that that. Most of our hikes will be on narrow trails on that may be uneven, but our pace, by necessity, will be slow. Off-trail hiking will be an occasional component of the course. We may find ourselves crossing a few unimproved streams but we won’t be wading up creeks.

Cell phone coverage and internet: Since we will be out in the field in usually rural locations, please don’t count on cell coverage.

Meals: Be sure to pack your own lunch and water in a daypack. Your leader advise you at the trailhead if you need to carry your lunch with you or if you are returning to your cars at lunchtime. Prepare for the former with a daypack and bottled water – just in case. We always recommend that you pack a large plastic bag or vinyl sit-upon so you can rest in the woods without getting wet, dirty, and/or covered with chiggers and ticks! 

What to bring to this field day:

  • Your personal copy of a field guide to trees of the temperate forest (possibilities described below).
  • Binoculars that have a good range of focus, both close and at a distance. These are important because trees can be 100-150 feet above your head and binoculars are a great assist in ID.
  • Your cell phone or camera. Photos to take home ar great for practicing what you learned.
  • A Filled water bottle
  • A small day pack for water, lunch, and field guide
  • Rain gear if drizzle is in the forecast
  • A notebook or clipboard, pen, pencils, and paper (for sketching and field notes).
  • Optional: Sunscreen if you use it (there are also environmental reasons not to – check it out)
  • Optional: A light-weight wide-brimmed hat for sun protection
  • Optional: nsect repellent for ticks is recommended, see details above.

Choosing your Field Guide. A good field guide to the trees common to the eastern temperate forest is essential. Here are our recommendations which can be purchased on-line new or in the case of out-of-print editions, used.

Native Trees of the Southeast, L. Katherine Kirkman, Claud L. Brown, and Donald J. Leopold. This is a fantastic book. Only a very few northern trees species are missing, and it includes all trees species from the Florida panhandle to Ohio. Good maps show most of the Eastern United States right next to the tree’s description and thus gives good lessons in biogeography. Excellent photographs include leaves, fruit, buds, and bark. If they had include NE United States, this would be the ultimate tree book ever published. As it is, it picks up all of Ohio’s trees, including the confusing oaks. This book makes a great traveling companion.

Sibley’s Book of Trees. If you are an avid tree student, and you enjoy a world perspective, this is an awesome book. It is too heavy to carry easily in the field, and maybe too comprehensive for the fresh beginner, but it is an excellent reference for someone who wants to study trees throughout his or her entire life. This book is a joy to own, especially if you do a lot of traveling across North America.

101 Trees of Indiana, A Field Guide; Marion T. Jackson, and Katherine Harrington. Another winning book. If you want a good Midwestern guide and don’t want to be confused with all of the northern or southern species, this guide is about as good as it gets. Fabulous photography, good maps, and excellent descriptions. If you live in the Midwest, you can’t go wrong with this guide. Even if you don’t live in the Midwest, you’ll find this book pretty impressive!

Trees of the Eastern Central United States and Canada. William Harlow. A small fat paperback with great pictures and helpful descriptions; organized by families which is a nice teaching tool in itself. It’s been around for decades, and can still compete with the best. Being a small format book, it is easy to pack with you in the field.

The Woody Plants of Ohio, (in print) E. Lucy Braun. Lucy is the matriarch of Ohio botany! This book is an Ohio botanical Bible. Each tree is carefully drawn in ink, described, and accompanied by a map showing which counties have recorded its existence. Originally issued 1961. It is now in print after many years of unavailability but is very expensive. Don’t feel the need to buy this one if you are tight on funds. For Ohio residents, however, it is a compelling purchase.

Ohio Trees, R.W. Dean, L.C. Chadwick, William F. Cowen. This is a lovely spiral bound book authored by three gentlemen, all of which were associated with the Ohio State University. It is still one of the best. Very user-friendly with much descriptive text, illustrations, and photographs. A good friend in the field and great for beginners. Can still be found among used books on the internet.

The Tree Identification Book, George W.D. Symonds, A companion volume to the Shrub Identification Book. Both books are great additions to a tree library. It is not as user-friendly as the books above but much more thorough in illustration and overall pictorial detail—with individual chapters solely on photographic comparisons of bark, winter buds, flowers, and leaves. It is a wonderful book to go to when you are stumped but not your primary go-to. Virtually lacking in text, it fails to bring forward the “essence” of a tree that helps its name become memorable to students. Original copyright is 1958.

Eastern Trees, George A. Petrides. Peterson Field Guides. This is a very fine book and has phenomenal range maps if you are attracted to plant distribution and geography. It has evolved over the years to be an excellent guide with great color illustrations — a good selection for someone who wants a one-book-does-all. Don’t buy an older version, they had terrible illustrations.  Unfortunately, like most of the Peterson Guides, it is not the most user-friendly book—since the illustrations are separated from the text. It is probably more useful to someone with an introductory knowledge of the trees. It is not the best beginner guide. On the other hand, it contains many obscure tree species of the East that most books don’t bother to include.

The Audubon Society Field Guide to North American Trees, Eastern Region. If you like photographs for identification, you will like this guide. If you aren’t sure you like photos, avoid this one. Most people learn more quickly from graphic drawings. Like the Petrides book above, the Audubon guide separates the pictures from the descriptive text, which is clumsy. This one is on the bottom of our recommended list.

Should I prepare for insects?  We experience very few to no mosquitoes and no black flies at most of our field trip locations.Exceptions will be noted. You may encounter ticks just about anywhere, and chiggers in tall grass, especially if you choose to wander off trail (which is a good reason not to), and a few deer flies in low moist areas. No exposure to at least some insects in southern Ohio is not a realistic expectation for outdoor fieldwork so come prepared. Since we DO have deer ticks in southern Ohio, please read below.

A Special Note on Ticks. During every field trip, you may encounter ticks. If you see them the size of dog ticks, they are not much of a problem. Just brush them off. It’s the smaller ones that are worth paying attention to. We encourage you to minimize exposure to ticks with any pre-cautionary method of choice. Here at the Arc, we fill a glass or metal spray bottle with 1 part geranium essential oil and 5-9 parts of alcohol and spray the mixture our lower legs, socks, and shoes before going out in high tick populations. It works great and is non-toxic, even when directly sprayed on your skin. We also recommend a good tick check at night before or after showering. If you have a partner, use him or her to do the ‘primate preening thing.” If you don’t, employ a mirror and don’t forget to check your hairline, all folds of your skin, and any place fabric is tightly pressed against your body. It may sound ironic, but bare legs can also deter ticks because you can see or feel them crawling up your legs and remove them immediately. We are not necessarily recommending shorts and sandals during the day, but if you enjoy wearing them, you just may fare better than your less scantily dressed colleagues. If you are wondering why we are seeing more ticks than in earlier decades, here’s a great website for deeper information.

Tick Diseases. The key to addressing the rare possibility of catching Lyme’s disease, one of several illnesses potentially transmitted by ticks, is to be aware of symptoms and  demanding proper diagnostic tests if you suspect the disease. You may know more than your doctor, so being informed and to be empowered. On the other hand, here at the Arc, staff members pull ticks off us all the time and none of us have gotten any diseases yet (though some of our friends and neighbors have), so please don’t think pulling a tick off of you necessarily will result in getting a disease.  Please note that Lyme’s is treatable if detected in a reasonable time, but because deer ticks have not been in Ohio for very long and the disease is not super common, many doctors are slow to recognize the symptoms. Here are some symptoms to remember in order to be pro-active, which tend to be flu-like:

  • Pain areas: in the joints or muscles
  • Whole body: fatigue, fever, or malaise
  • Joints: stiffness or swelling
  • Also common: appearance of large red blotches, sometimes with bulls-eye pattern,
  • Headache
  • Palsy

A Special Note on Chiggers. Chigger bites are very annoying if numerous. The bites are sometimes slow to heal, and are itchy –  but they are not dangerous. The best way to minimize chigger exposure is to stay on the trail when traveling through grasslands and brushy areas and protect yourself from them as you would from ticks. Perhaps ironically, we have confirmed that open-toed sandals attract less chiggers than socks and shoes. Chiggers love to bury into tight places between skin and clothing. We put this to the test once with amazing results on one of our high chigger populations preserves (no, this is not one of our Tree People sites.). The open toed hiker got 30 chiggers, and the hiker with pants in his socks ended up in the emergency room with hundreds of chigger bites on his ankles. (Both were off-trail performing a botanical study and unprotected by sprays.)

Poison Ivy. Your leader will minimize or eliminate your exposure to poison ivy. If you do touch the leaves, scrubbing vigorously with soap within an hour avoids reactivity in most people, and the scrubbing is at least as effective as soap. Doing both, and learning poison ivy ID, are the best preventatives.

Tree Course FAQ
Euonymus Fruit
Pignut Hickory Bark
American Chestnut Fruit
Paw Paw Blossom
Tree Course Clipboard
Kingnut Hickory Fruit and Leaves
Tall Sycamore Trunk
Whit Oak Acorns by John Howard
Tree Course Study