Summer Outdoor Education Series

Get outside with our Summer Outdoor Education Series!  We have something for everyone!  The programs are all free.  However, please consider a donation to 3VCT if you enjoy these programs.

Precious Preschoolers

Preschoolers checking out cool creek critters.

June 10, 9:30 to 11 am.  CRAZY COOL CREEKIN’.  For preschoolers and their adults.  Explore the amazing critters that live in our local creeks!  Come prepared to get wet and dirty!  Meet at the Edge of the Farm Conservation Area (5398 McCoy Rd).




Wonderful Wednesdays

Meet at the Fitton Center for a beautiful bike ride!

June 14 at 6 pm.  BEAUTIFUL BIKING. Bring the whole family and join Amy Weber for a family friendly ride along the Miami River Bike Trail in Hamilton.  Meet at the Fitton Center, 101 S. Monument in Hamilton.




June 21 at 9 am.  THE TREES AROUND YOU.  Join Richard Munsen from Miami University and L’Obel Nursery to learn all about the trees around you.  Meet at Ruder Preserve, at the corner of Bonham Rd. and Shadowy Hills in Oxford.

June 28 at 6 pm.  HERON ROOKERY VISIT.  Come see great blue herons near the end of their nesting season at their rookery on Four Mile Creek!  Meet at 690 Hogue Rd. in Hamilton.

Backyard Birders

Backyard Birders out in their element!

It is not too late to join our Back Yard Birding program for 3rd to 6th graders!  The second of five meetings is June 19 at the Edge of the Farm Conservation Area, 5398 McCoy Rd in Oxford.  Our wonderful instructor Suellen Albert is using Cornell Lab of Ornithology BirdSleuth and Habitat ConnecEons curriculum to help kids learn about birds in our area!  Email to register.  Visit this link for future dates and locations.

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Salamander Run Preserve Transfer Celebration

Steve Gordon (TVCT), Randy Evans (TVCT), Eric Hollins (TVCT), Thomas Schneider (OH EPA), Laura Hafer (OH EPA), and Agnes Marchlewska (TVCT) / Photo provided by Mark Boardman

Salamander Run, a beautiful natural area comprising over 125 acres of restored wetlands, woodlands and prairie, is now the newest public park of MetroParks of Butler County. On May 21, Three Valley Conservation Trust helped to celebrate the transfer of Salamander Run Preserve to MetroParks of Butler County.  The park is in Morgan Township located at 4821 Layhigh Rd. Hamilton OH 45013.

Thomas Schneider (OH EPA), Jonathan Granville (MetroParks of Butler County), and Mark Boardman (TVCT) participate in the ribbon cutting/ Photo by Steve Gordon

Once farmland, the land required considerable restoration including removing invasive plant species such as honeysuckle, replanting large areas with native trees, and recreating ponds and vernal pools. Walking trails from a parking area will allow nature lovers to enjoy the plants and animals of several wildlife habitats and experience more natural Ohio environments. The name, Salamander Run reflects the presence of one of its native inhabitants – salamanders.

Hiking at Salamander Run Preserve/ Photo by Steve Gordon

Irises blooming in a vernal wetland at Salamander Run Preserve/ Photo by Steve Gordon

Eric Hollins, a subcontractor at Three Valley Conservation Trust, was the principal person in charge of the restoration projects. He was assisted by Steve Gordon as well as many other people (volunteers and other subcontractors) and many local and regional governmental agencies and non-profits.  Restoring this property and making it available to the public as a park owned and operated by MetroParks of Butler County is a remarkable illustration of constructive collaboration of private landownership, government agencies (local, regional, state, and federal), non-profit entities (e.g. TVCT) and volunteer citizens.  The conservation of this property is legally guaranteed by a conservation easement which will be monitored by Three Valley Conservation Trust in perpetuity.  Congratulations to everyone involved.

Salamander Run Preserve is part of the larger Paddys Run Conservation Project that is protecting groundwater supplies and providing natural resource conservation in the Paddys Run watershed. Uranium processing (1950s through 1980s) related to the nuclear arms race damaged the watersheds of this area of Butler and Hamilton counties. To partially offset the environmental damage, the U.S. Department of Energy provided millions of dollars to help improve the groundwater by ensuring high-quality surface water conditions.  Salamanders are a bioindicator of high-quality surface water conditions.

Natural Resources Trustees: Jennifer Finfera (U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service), Thomas Schneider (OH EPA), Penny Borgman (U.S. Department of Energy), and Laura Hafer (OH EPA)/ Photo by Steve Gordon

The Fernald Natural Resource Trustees, represented by the Ohio Environmental Protection Agency, the Department of Energy, and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, were partners with TVCT and MetroParks of Butler County to facilitate the purchase, restoration and perpetual protection of this property.



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TVCT Supports Monarch Conservation

Workshop participants survey milkweed for monarch eggs and caterpillars/ Photo provided by Randy Evans

Randy Evans, TVCT’s Stewardship Speacialist, attended a two-day Monarch Conservation and Citizen Science Workshop.

The workshop was presented by the Univ. of Minnesota Monarch Lab and Monarch Joint Venture and hosted by the Cincinnati Nature Center. It focused on monarch ecology and biology, monarch conservation efforts, and citizen science programs available.

Monarch egg on milkweed buds/ Photo provided by Randy Evans




Randy Evans is listed as a speaker resource with the Federated Garden Clubs of Cincinnati and Vicinity and is available to speak to groups about monarchs and habitat conservation. Randy can be reached by email at

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Three Valley Conservation Trust Scholarship Winners

Congratulations to Kevin Ketring, Jacob Schlichter, and Wyatt Snodgrass. They are this year’s winners of the Three Valley Conservation Trust Scholarship. It is with great pride in all the applicants, and especially our three winners, that we can publicly announce these winners.

Kevin Ketring grew up on a farm and intends to return to farming after his college degree (current interest is Finance).  He was the president of his senior class, in the high school student senate, National Honors Society, FFA, 4H and sports. In addition to school and farming, Kevin helps clear honeysuckle from the woods on his farm. Way to go, Kevin!

Jacob Schlichter comes from a farming family. He is a long-time member of 4H and FFA, earned the prestigious State FFA Degree, and was a member of the Rural Soils Judging Team that qualified to participate in the National Land Judging competition in Oklahoma. Jacob was inducted into the National Honor Society and for the past year has interned with Dr. Ken Krom at the Krom Veterinary Service. He plans to attend Miami University before going to vet school at Ohio State.

Wyatt Snodgrass has extensive experience in conservation. He volunteers for the Raccoon Creek Watershed Partnership, the Waterloo Aquatic Education Center and is a Stream Restoration Volunteer for Bulter County Soil and Water. In 2016, he worked for MetroParks of Butler County and the Ohio Division of Wildlife (Fisheries Conservation) and in 2017 he will begin pursuing a B.S. in Wildlife Conservation at the University of Rio Grande.

The purpose of this annually awarded scholarship is to provide support for applicants pursuing careers that relate to the mission of the Trust. For example, work in agriculture, conservation, ecology, water management and sustainability represent some but not all of the related careers. Applicants are judged on the basis of a personal essay describing their commitment to conservatioan, an application, and two letters of recommendation. They do not need to be a high school or college student. Usually, there is only one award winner, but this year, there was enough money available to make three awards. Information about this scholarship is available on the TVCT website.

Congratulations to Kevin, Jacob, and Wyatt!

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Ruder Preserve Is All Yours!

Did you know that Ruder Preserve is one of the few properties owned by Three Valley?  And that means that as a partner of the Trust, it belongs to you!  And that means . . .  that you are always welcome to help in the restoration effort underway there!
The restoration has been moving along this spring with the help of many MU students and some TVCT members – – THANKS EVERYONE!  Here’s what we’ve accomplished:
  • another ~1 to 1.5 acres cleared of honeysuckle
  • garlic mustard pulled on much of the western side of the property
  • ~125 trees and shrubs planted
  • ~90 of those trees and shrubs caged to protect from deer browse
  • some lesser celandine sprayed with glyphosate herbicide
  • a small bench built and placed near the low level dam (THANKS Hays Cummins’ ecological restoration class!)
  • 2 dead trees cut down (if you need firewood, please feel free to come and get it!)
However, as the summer begins and MU students leave town, we still have ~ 50 trees to plant, plants to water if the rain ever stops, cages to make, stakes to put into cages to keep them in place, and – as always – more honeysuckle to remove.
So, since Ruder Preserve belongs to YOU… would you be willing to help?  If so, please contact:
We’d really love for the Ruder restoration to become your project, and for you to enjoy the results this summer as you walk the beautiful trails.
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Beautiful Biking Series

Beautiful Biking on May 11 / Photo credit Nathan Weber

Do you like to ride bikes?  Would you like to explore some of the beautiful rural areas in Butler and Preble County?  Then join Amy Weber, board member for Three Valley, in monthly rides (mostly on Thursday evenings) this summer.
Most rides are for teens and adults, but June 14th is for younger children also.
Bring your bike and wear your helmet!  All trips start at 6:00 pm.
W, JUNE 14th –  Fitton Center, 101 S Monument St., Hamilton  **Younger children welcome!  We will ride the Hamilton Miami River bike trail.**  **Note day change – Wednesday, not Thurs.**
TH, July 13th – Concord United Church of Christ, 2225 Concord Rd., Eaton
TH, AUG 10TH – Twin Creek chapel, 17017 Yohe Rd. West Manchester
TH, SEPT 14TH – 2550 Indian Creek Road, Oxford, OH (near Reily)  **Season Finale – snack provided by easement owner Ann Geddes**
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Wonderful Wednesdays!

As part of the TVCT’s Summer Outdoor Education Series, Wonderful Wednesday events will be starting up soon. The first event will be on May 31.

What: Feast, Fire and Frogs- Come explore the Edge of the Farm Conservation Area’s prairies and ponds. Bring something to grill on a campfire!

When: May 31 at 6:00-8:00 pm

Where: 5398 McCoy Road, Oxford, OH (near Reily)

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Ruder Restoration Work Continues!

Restoration progress at Ruder Preserve/Photo by Donna McCollum

Want to wander in the woods?  Join us for a garlic mustard pull on Saturday April 29th, or more planting and caging of trees on Saturday May 6th, 9-noon each day, followed by lunch.

If you haven’t driven by Ruder Preserve lately, come see the wonderful work that has happened this week (thank you Miami University students and TVCT members!) – another half acre of honeysuckle was cleared near the entrance and about 100 trees and bushes were planted!  Wildflowers are beginning to come up – there are fields of wild ginger and patches of white violet, Virginia bluebells, dutchman’s breeches, waterleaf, and more!  It is truly a beautiful place!

On April 29th, 9-12 am with lunch afterwards, we will be working on removing bush honeysuckle, of course, but we also will do a garlic mustard pull. We especially need – right now – people who can identify small honeysuckle – it is a perfect time to pull the small ones so we don’t have to use herbicide on them or dig them up when the soil is hard as cement.

Please join us either (or both) of the next 2 Saturdays as we work to get this beautiful area looking more like what it used to!  There are plenty of things to do, whether it is hauling honeysuckle to our giant piles, wielding a chain saw, helping provide food for our hungry volunteers, or just taking pictures to document the effort.

Contact Donna McCollum at with any questions.

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Community Biking Event!

Come and enjoy a country bike ride with your community!  The first bike ride of the summer biking series is starting on May 11th. The ride will start at the west end of the Walmart parking lot along Todd Rd at 6:00 pm.  Bring a helmet as this will be a road ride and cover a distance of ~10 miles. If you have any questions contact Amy Weber (

When: May 11 at 6:00pm

Where: Meet at the west end of the Walmart parking lot along Todd Rd

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Precious Preschool Outdoor Adventures

On May 13th preschoolers will get a chance to see birds up close and personal with ornithologist Dave Russell at the Hueston Woods banding station.  There is nothing like looking a bird in the eye or touching its feathers!  Come join the fun from 9:30-11:00 am on Saturday May 13th!

This event is open to all preschoolers and their parents and is organized by preschool educator LaTricia Hillman.  The combined expertise of LaTricia and Dr. Russell should lead to a magnificent morning of connecting your preschooler with our beautiful natural world.

When:   Saturday, May 13 at 9:30-11:00 am

Where:  Hueston Woods – Avian Research Education Institute banding station – turnoff from loop road near Brown Road

Contact Tricia at or Donna at, or call the TVCT office at 513-524-2150 with any questions.

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