Walking on Sunshine
July 2013 Issue
July 2013 Digest
Sea lions at the Ohio State Fair, cornhole competitors in Cincinnati, an expanded woodland trail and collectibles from historic Zoar.
Bobcats and wild turkeys roam freely in the rugged hill country of the
Shawnee State Park and Forest and The Nature Conservancy’s Edge of
Appalachia preserve in southern Ohio. Uncommon and colorful birds,
including cerulean warblers and scarlet tanagers, nest deep in the
woods. A broad assortment of flowering plants and medicinal herbs cover
the forest floor.
The Nature Conservancy is working to join these two important forested
areas by purchasing 6,000 acres connecting the 63,000-acre state forest
and the 16,000-acre Edge of Appalachia to create the largest
consolidated swath of protected woodland in Ohio. That connection is
known as the Sunshine Corridor.
Four years after launching the project, the conservancy has bought
approximately one-third of the acreage it plans to acquire between the
two properties, mostly forested lands found on both sides of high ground
known locally as Sunshine Ridge.
“We’re trying to make sure that animals don’t get cut off from adjoining
habitats, so that they can move around in search of food and shelter,”
says conservancy program manager Pete Whan.
This spring, less than a quarter mile separated the two protected forests, offering hope for the species that live there.
As well as those species passing through: The project has drawn the
attention of the Buckeye Trail Association, which builds and maintains
the 1,444-mile Buckeye Trail and the Ohio portion of the North Country
National Scenic Trail. The two long-distance foot trails converge along
rural roads in this part of the state, and the conservancy and the trail
association have reached an agreement to move the trail onto the
Sunshine Corridor as the property is protected.
Last month, volunteers for the Buckeye Trail Association began work on
the first two miles of the 14-mile trail segment. When it’s finished,
hikers will need to walk softly if they hope to get a glimpse of the
For more information, visit nature.org or buckeyetrail.org.
A group of Ohio Nature Conservancy and Buckeye Trail
Association hikers recently bushwacked their way along the 14-mile route
of the Sunshine Corridor. Click here to read about and see a slideshow of some of their discoveries.
History in Jeopardy
Nestled along the Tuscarawas River, northeast Ohio’s historic and tiny village of Zoar is a popular summer retreat. Founded in 1817 by German religious dissenters known as The Society of Separatists, today it is home to approximately 175 residents. In recent years, Zoar has been threatened by flooding from an aging levee, and a federal study suggests that repairing it is not necessarily a cost-effective solution. For Ohio historians and Americana collectors, the potential loss of Zoar represents a significant threat to the preservation of an important piece of history and culture.
The German immigrants who settled Zoar in the early 19th century produced a distinctive body of material culture, with roots in their European and Christian heritages. Zoar furniture is marked by bold geometric design, dense hardwoods and large scale. Textiles and accessories are simple in design and function, but often adorned with the Star of Bethlehem or other religious symbols. Today, the material culture emerging from Zoar commands considerable prices in the antiques market.
This summer, visit historic Zoar while you still can. It’s a wonderful step back in time that you won’t want to miss. For more information about Zoar collectibles, visit garths.com/collecting
. To follow the efforts to save the village of Zoar, visit savehistoriczoar.org
“Ohio Finds” features fascinating objects brought to the attention of
Amelia and Jeff Jeffers, co-owners of Garth’s Auctioneers &
Appraisers, an international firm outside Columbus.
Sure, all it takes is a small cloth
bag, a simple low platform with a hole six inches in diameter and an
underhand toss to play cornhole. But don’t let the uncomplicated rules
and basic equipment fool you. The approximately 500 players who’ll be
participating in the American Cornhole Organization’s World
Championships of Cornhole VIII, July 16–20, are every bit as competitive
as other athletes. (It is believed the name came from the bags that
originally were filled with corn.)
Frank Geers, ACO president and
chief executive officer, says cornhole has evolved from a backyard and
tailgating game to an international sport.
At this year’s
championships, which will be held in the Cincinnati-Northern Kentucky
area (at press time, the location was yet to be announced), players vie
for one of six titles, including King of Cornhole, a position awarded to
the top male or female professional player in the world.
explains that although 90 percent of cornhole players are males, age 24
to 55, some of the top players in the world are women.
thing, and what is good for Ohio, is that the ACO is headquartered in
Cincinnati and we are bringing the world championships back to the
state,” says Geers. “For the past few years, they’ve been in Las Vegas,
Indiana and Mississippi. Cornhole is a huge international game and the
opportunities are unlimited.”
The ACO president adds that “anyone 8
to 80” can enjoy cornhole. In fact, he’d like teams and qualifying
tournaments to be held in places ranging from schools to retirement
homes. Since the game is fast, easy to play and portable, it can be
adapted for single, double or team play.
Geers became interested in
the sport a decade ago when, as a marketing professional, he realized
the positive publicity his clients could gain by being associated with
the popular activity.
“Back then, no one considered cornhole to be a
sport or realized it had a serious side,” says Geers, who began his
affiliation by creating high-quality cornhole equipment. “But we
thought, why not take it to the next level? So we started the tournament
and recognized professional players.
“Someday,” he adds, “we’d like
to see a Cornhole Hall of Fame and Museum in Ohio. We’re also working
on getting the tournament on television.” — Jill Sell
For more information about the championships, visit americancornhole.com.
Making a Splash
The girls are pretty excited about the road trip to this year’s Ohio
State Fair in Columbus. Although their permanent home in Myakka City,
Fla., features multiple pools and appropriate resort-like amenities, an
adventure is just the ticket to end mid-summer malaise.
“They get bored just swimming around their pools all the time. If you
could ask them, they’d tell you they like being on the road and seeing
something different. They get more perky and you almost see a smile on
their faces,” says Marco Peters, owner of Squalus Inc., a sea lion
rehabilitation center, licensed by three federal and state regulatory
agencies that ensure the safety and well-being of the marine mammals.
This month, he and his quartet of perky females will have a starring
role in Sea Lion Splash, a show Peters created that has the distinction
of being the only educational and entertaining traveling sea lion show
in the United States. The daily 30-minute performance is free with
admission to the Ohio State Fair, which takes place July 24–Aug. 4.
After the show and for a small fee, spectators can get up close and
personal for a photo with a sea lion. (When not performing, the sea
lions can be viewed underwater in a large mobile tank.)
Peters — who hails from the Netherlands — began working with sea lions
15 years ago. Although he doesn’t participate in rescue operations, the
former Ringling Bros. trainer does engage in rehab and offer a permanent
home to those animals that can’t be returned to the wild.
Throughout the show, trainers explain the differences between seals and
sea lions, and clarify how prowess in activities that include balancing
balls, dancing, shooting hoops and performing handstands are all based
on behaviors pinnipeds engage in naturally.
“When the sea lions hear the music over the loudspeaker, they are ready
to perform,” explains Peters, who owns 10 sea lions and expects to
welcome three more before the end of the year. — Jill Sell
The Ohio State Fair is held at the Ohio Expo Center, 717 E. 17 Ave.,
Columbus 43211. For more information, call 614/644-3247 or visit ohiostatefair.com. To learn more about Sea Lion Splash, visit squalus.net.