Research Symposium

Mar 22, 2024 9:00AM—4:00PM


The Wilderness Center/Virtual 9877 Alabama Ave SW Wilmot, OH 44689

Cost FREE! And open to all!

Event Contact Daniel Volk | Email


Topics , , , , ,

The Wilderness Center is a leader in conservation and conservation-based research, but that work is not always highlighted to the public or even to TWC members! We want to change that.  TWC continues to play an integral role in the field of conservation research, and we want to share this important work with our members and community.  Learn about past research, the status of current research, and how you can become involved in future research.

Please join us for a day of learning and engagement. This day is all about exploring current environmental issues from a research-based perspective, and working to determine which issues are most relevant to our local community. We want to hear from you! Stay for the day, stop in for topics that interest you, or join us virtually as your schedule allows*. Interact with researchers, land managers, and community members who (like you!) are dedicated to improving environmental conditions where they live, work, and play.  Hear from experts in the field of conservation research. Share your ideas. Get involved in guiding the direction of ongoing and future conservation research initiatives at TWC.

  • FREE! And open to all!
  • A boxed lunch from The Amish Door will be provided for onsite participants who register by March 19th.
  • Stay for the day, stop in for topics that interest you, or join virtually as your schedule allows.*
  • Registration required.

*If you’re unable to join us for the full day, then please plan to arrive at least 10 minutes before the start time of any presentations that you don’t want to miss.


9:00 – 9:30: Coffee and Networking

9:30 – 9:45: Introduction

9:45 – 10:45: Keynote:

Connecting Conservation of Night Skies to the Behavioral Ecology of Animals

Presented by Dr. Brett Seymoure

Dr. Seymoure has extensive knowledge gained from years of experience and research studying the effect of light pollution on animals. Learn about how animals interact with their visual environment and how light pollution disrupts the natural behaviors, physiology, and ecosystem services in arthropods and their predators. TWC is working toward achieving Dark Sky certification and Dr. Seymoure’s work supplies critical information that we can share with others when discussing the importance of conserving the dark.

10:45 – 11:00 Break

11:00 – 11:25: Speaker:

The Wilderness Center: A Hidden Gem in Local Conservation and Research Opportunities

Presented by Daniel Volk

Mr. Volk’s has developed a breadth of knowledge driven by his many and varied interests in conservation. His diverse background uniquely equips him to advance locally-based environmental research as the current Director of Conservation at The Wilderness Center. Meet Dan!  Daniel will share valuable insights into the lands that TWC protects across all 2,000 acres. Find out about past and ongoing research initiatives at TWC and become involved in guiding and furthering future community-lead environmental research.

11:25 – 11:50: Speaker:

The Search for the Rusty Patched Bumble Bee in Ohio

Presented by Dr. Randy Mitchell

Dr. Randy Mitchell is an outdoor enthusiast who has conducted research in a variety of ecological environments (including the Cuyahoga Valley!) that are as fascinating as they are different from one another. Mr. Mitchell’s presentation focuses on current research of the rusty patched bumble bee, which is an important pollinator supporting food security and healthy ecosystems. Come learn what pollinator species were found at Foxfield Preserve during a search for a federally endangered bee.

11:50 – 12:15: Speaker:

Impacts of a Nutrient Trading Plan on Stream Water Quality in Sugar Creek, Ohio

Presented by Dr. Steven Lyon

Dr. Lyon is originally from Navarre and is currently a Professor of Hydrology and Water Resources at Ohio State University. Dr. Lyon will discuss the effects of nutrients and landscape on water quality in streams near or on TWC property. This topic is especially interesting for TWC and the surrounding region, as many of TWC’s land conservation and restoration efforts involve re-establishing wetlands in heavily agricultured areas to support wildlife and reduce damaging nutrient runoff from local farming into local ecosystems.

12:15 – 1:00: Lunch

1:00 – 1:25: Speaker:

Blight Resistance and Recovery of the American Chestnut

Presented by Dr. Richard (Dick) Stoffer

American chestnuts were once the most dominant species in eastern North American forests. Now, they are functionally extinct, leaving few individuals to be continually attacked by chestnut blight. The goal of the American Chestnut Cooperators Foundation (ACCF) is to reintroduce genetically resistant American chestnut back into the wild. Dr. Stoffer has played an active role with ACCF and will talk about the 29 thriving American chestnut trees TWC has maintained since 2017.

1:25 – 1:50: Speaker

A Tale of Two Forests: What Salamanders, Invertebrates, and Leaf Litter Tell us about the Ecology of the Mined Landscapes

Presented by Kip Brady

Mr. Brady teaches science at New Philadelphia High School where he strives to use research experiences to build connections between people and their environment. His research efforts seek to understand how historic and contemporary land use shape ecosystem structure and function and provide guidance for biodiversity preservation and restoration efforts. Kip has conducted research at many of TWC’s satellite preserves and will discuss the impacts of acid mine drainage on amphibians and invertebrates.

1:50 – 2:00: Break

2:00 – 2:25: Discussion

Here is your chance to affect the direction of ongoing research at TWC. Interact with researchers and other stakeholders to briefly examine some of the major environmental issues occurring in and around The Wilderness Center.  Suggest ways to study these issues, offer assistance in collecting data, or contribute in other ways.

2:25 – 2:40: Wrap – up

2:40 – 4:00: Field Visit

End the day by stretching your legs as we venture into two of the study sites discussed, Foxfield Preserve and Sigrist Woods.  Foxfield Preserve is TWC’s conservation burial ground where Dr. Mitchell performed surveys for the rusty patched bumble bee and other pollinators.  Sigrist Woods is TWC’s most majestic forest and is part of the Old-Growth Forest Network, the only site in Stark Country to have that honor.  Sigrist Woods is home to several blight resistant American chestnuts which you see firsthand with Dr. Stoffer available to answer questions.