While April 22 is designated as Earth Day across the globe, we really should be looking at protecting and enjoying our home, Mother Earth, each and every day. The news regarding climate change can be dire.
However, our ability to see and preserve the great outdoors for the future is not some far off mission. Each one of us has a role to play. And our collective reward at present? A clean and healthy outdoor environment at the local level – a mission that the Little Miami Conservancy (LMC) observes 365 days a year.
There is something to see in each season all along the 110 miles of the Little Miami State and National Scenic River as well as the green corridor along its banks. From wildlife emerging after grey winter months, to summer days where the river welcomes paddlers and fishing, to the wonderful autumn colors the greenspaces on each side of the river, the Little Miami State and National Scenic River is ours to enjoy. The Little Miami Conservancy lives its mission – to provide the leadership, resources, and public engagement necessary to restore and protect the Little Miami River – each and every day.
The Little Miami Conservancy supports their mission over a myriad of projects - outdoor classrooms to educate, land management, and long range conservation goals each day. Enjoying this gem of a river contributes to the public good and is our celebration of Earth Day. How will you celebrate?
Fans of the LMC Bald EagleCams
This is the 2nd year in existence for the Little Miami Bald Eagle Cam. Watched by well over 4,500 viewers, the camera has withstood powerful Spring storms but not without support from LMC. Proud parents Bette and Baker have faithfully watched over the nest and are now parents to two young eaglets. The ability for the general public to watch over the Eagle family in an up close and personal way is a great educational tool for young and old.
As a once endangered bird, the Bald Eagle has made an incredible comeback. The Ohio Department of Natural Resources is now reporting approximately 800 nesting pairs in Ohio alone - up from 600 pairs total in the lower 48 states in 1963.
This is a dramatic turnaround from their numbers in 1972 when DDT, a pesticide harmful to wildlife, was banned by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).
Students at J.F. Burns Elementary also are keeping an eye on our Eagles as an in-class experience.
Participate in Innovative Educational Programming
Appreciating the great outdoors is a lifelong experience. Beginning at an early age to adulthood, educational programming and outdoor experiences are key to extend a love affair with the natural world. The celebration of all things natural is supported by LMC’s partners who provide great programming for all audiences.
Our friends at Raptor, Inc., a 501©(3) non-profit organization are dedicated to the conservation of birds of prey via rehabilitation, education, research and community service. LMC is delighted to have their volunteers teach our groups about these stunning birds. Meet Ollie, a Great Horned Owl, and Noah , An American Kestrel. Both birds were rescued and cannot be released back into the wild due to survival issues. Their mission is to teach the general public about wild birds of prey.
LMC is fortunate to provide sessions with The Roaming Natualist, founded by Jana Marshall-Westhoven, The Roaming Naturalist is dedicated to empowering youth and adults to reconnect with the natural work through immersive learning experiences that encourage curiosity and self-discovery.
Jana has provided her experience as a wild-life advocate to develop original programming such as a Wildflower Walk, Birding for Beginners, Nature Unplugged, and Scenic Saturdays. Her passion for nature is unmatched.
Check out the full schedule of events planned for Spring and Summer.
“Into the Wild” Outdoor Classroom Experience
Who knew that an English class could spur a love of the outdoors? For the past three years, Loveland High School has hosted our resident LMC Champion, Bill Schroeder to provide hands on training based on his love of the aquatic world entitled, “Into the Wild.”
Loveland High School Seniors are learning about the harmony of the outdoor world in both literature and real life practice. The seniors have a reading assignment, are learning about fly fishing – both in practice and at a local lake - and will cap off the class in an outdoor laboratory – a River Float – down the Little Miami State and National Scenic River to observe river life of mussels and riverbank life in a real setting. LMC partners with Buckeye United Fly Fishing and Loveland Canoe and Kayak, for this immersive classroom experience.
Land Management and Conservation
One of the most important missions of LMC is in the area of land management and conservation. LMC acquires controlling interests in riverfront lands through either easement or purchase and restores these lands with cleanup and native tree and prairie plantings. LMC is proud to employ a "win-win" strategy for successful partnership in river conservation with both private landowners and public agencies. Many people desire to leave a legacy for future generations. LMC helps them do just that.
LMC currently supports – through conservation easements or actual ownership – approximately 2200 acres of land that need ongoing conservation management and stewardship to ensure the Little Miami State and National Scenic River and associate land will remain in its native state for all to enjoy.
Another part of the land and river conservation mission are annual "River Sweeps" which involve many volunteers to clean volumes of trash and man-made items out of the Little Miami State and National Scenic River. It is incredible how many tons of trash, including tires- are pulled out of the river and surrounding riverbanks each year.
Citizen Scientists – Monitoring Teams
River health is measured by many processes. Whether by scientific testing of the water’s eDNA, dissolved oxygen testing, or merely visual observation and recording of problem areas, LMC Volunteers strive to keep tabs on the Little Miami’s ongoing conditions.
Volunteers as citizen scientists take the initiative to understand and measure the potential of the Little Miami River to sustain fresh water mussel populations by deploying concrete mussel silos filled with juvenile freshwater mussels, and to understand the viability of the aquatic ecosystem to support the health of the river.
Celebrate Earth Day Everyday
While you may hear of local Earth Day celebrations on April 22, the Little Miami Conservancy is working non-stop to support conservation efforts each and every day. The best advice? Begin today your love affair with the great outdoors. Get out there!
How can you help? Click below to find out and Happy Earth Day 2023.