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Estuary education series offered at Old Woman Creek Participants explore the Old Woman Creek estuary, learn about its ecology and gain tools for protecting streams and Lake Erie

Norwalk Reflector Staff • Oct 29, 2015 at 12:08 PM

HURON Ohioans are encouraged to join Division of Wildlife staff, guest naturalists, and scientists for fun-filled and free educational explorations of Old Woman Creek, a unique and valuable protected Lake Erie estuary.

Visit and learn about the reserve's new tree swallow nest box grid, search for owls on a night hike, roll up your sleeves and remove invasive plants, or explore the estuary and its environs through a guided hike, canoe tour, or nature sketch class.

Every river or creek in northern Ohio that flows directly into Lake Erie has an area near its mouth where lake and stream water meet and mix. This mixing area is called an estuary.

Estuaries such as Old Woman Creek protect the health of Lake Erie by removing sediments and pollutants in the water flowing through them. These valuable ecosystems help to buffer uplands from flooding and protect coastal communities from severe storms. Home to a wide variety of wildlife and plants, estuaries are essential to $680 million fishing and nearly $6 billion tourism industries along Ohio's Lake Erie coast. Human decisions and actions throughout the watershed impact estuaries, our Great Lake, and ultimately the region's economy.

Here are three planned events in March:

New Tree Swallow Nest Boxes at Old Woman Creek from noon to 2 p.m. Tuesday, March 4: Dick Tuttle, who raises 15,000 birds each year around the state will discuss nest box grid design and share the benefits of tree swallows. Dress for the weather, portions of the talk outside in tall grass.

Whooooo Are You? from 7 to 9 p.m. Sunday, March 9: Search for owls and other nocturnal creatures with a staff guide and the Friends of Old Woman Creek on a 1.5 mile trail hike. Bring a flashlight and dress for the weather.

Spring and Summer Volunteer Fair from 1 to 5 p.m. Saturday, March 29: Drop in at the Visitor Center to learn what you can do to help Old Woman Creek Reserve care for and teach people about the estuary. Many opportunities are available, indoor and outdoor work, training program, flexible hours.

All March events will be held at Old Woman Creek Visitor Center, 2514 Cleveland Road East in Huron.

Registration appreciated but not required vy calling (419) 433-4601 or emailing phoebe.vanzoest@dnr.state.oh.us.

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