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Field Trip, Saturday, November 11, 2017

2017/11/06

Field Trip, Saturday, November 11, 2017: Marianist Enviromrental Education Center

The Marianist Environmental Education Center (MEEC) is an environmental education community in the Catholic tradition. In Mary’s hope-filled spirit, the Center preserves and acts in communion with the land and educates other communities in sustainability through ecology-based simple living, social justice and spirituality. The Mount St. John Nature Preserve covers more than 100 acres of oak-hickory woodland, natural and created wetlands, Eastern tallgrass prairie, and meadow. The front field lies in the floodplain of the Little Beaver Creek, and the trail to the woods crests a glacial esker that is one of the highest points in Greene County. This diversity supports an impressive variety of plant and animal life, including an estimated 425 plant species, nearly 60 butterflies and more than 100 birds. In 1912 the Marianist brothers built a new novitiate, St. Anne’s, on this site, and they farmed the land until the mid-1960s. In 1985, Interstate 675 cut across the old farm, and 75,000m3 of sand and gravel was excavated from a large borrow pit for the new highway’s substrate. Bro. Don Geiger, SM, Professor Emeritus of Biology at the University of Dayton, led the restoration effort on the site that now bears his name. The Eastern Tall grass prairie, with it powerful root system, succeeded in colonizing the barren ground. Today, the prairie is one of our region’s most successful restored prairies, home to a variety of grasses and forbs, wet seeps and a pond. A complete trail guide to the Nature Preserve can be found at https://meec.center/files/attachments/section/Nature_Trail_Guide.pdf. Our visit to this remarkable site will be hosted by Tara Poling, Program Coordinator at MEEC, who will meet us there around 9:00 a.m. The trip will leave at 7:30 a.m. from the TJ Maxx parking lot (on Locust Street across from McDonald’s) and return to Oxford in the afternoon. Pack a picnic lunch and bring binoculars if possible.

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