Fossils and a Light Buffet, This Sunday July 23

Ordovician fossils. Picture from Humboldt State University’s Natural History Museum

Fossils and a Light Buffet is this Sunday, July 23 from 3:30- 6:30 pm (7611 Camden-Sugar Valley Rd, Camden).  Join Mark and Jason House to learn about organic gardening and local fossils, then enjoy a light buffet prepared by dad, Frank House, with naturally healthy ingredients raised in his garden and farm. Mark is curator of the Krohn conservatory, designing most shows and butterfly exhibits in the past 10 years. Jason, a local fossil expert, will lead our search on Paint Creek near Devil’s Backbone, where many of MU’s fossils were found.  RSVP required! 

Make your reservation today to give Frank plenty of time to plan and gather food for the meal. Email for your reservation.

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Nature’s Engineers Wonderful Wednesday, July 19

Image resultA Wonderful Wednesday all about beavers?!  What could be better?  Join Erika Nelson of Earlham College’s Joseph Moore Museum to learn all about these elusive creatures.  There will be a presentation and then a walk down to Acton Lake to visit an area where beavers have been very active felling trees.  Image result for beaver cut trees

Meet at 9 am on Wednesday July 19 at the Hueston Woods parking lot for the Blue Heron Trail.  This is 50 feet east of the road down to the fishing area where Brown Road ends.  Hope to see you there!


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Symphony on the Farm August 12–Save the Date

No automatic alt text available.Join us for a Symphony on the Farm on August 12!

The evening will feature a concert of selections from the Civil War era performed by an ensemble from the Richmond Symphony.  The concert will begin at 8 pm at the amphitheater at the Preble County Historical Society (7693 Swartzel Rd, Eaton, OH).


There are two ways to enjoy this concert:

Concert only ($15.00 per person): Tickets can be purchased at the gate.  The concert starts at 8 pm at the amphitheater at PCHS (Rain date is Aug. 19).  Drinks are available for purchase.  Be sure to arrive early enough (gate opens at 7) to explore the 11 acres of museum grounds, including an 1813 log house, Exhibit Hall building, an 1855 smokehouse and over six miles of hiking trails.

Dinner & Concert ($90.00 per person): Enjoy an elegant four course meal, including appetizers and cocktails, specially prepared by Frank House with locally-raised Berkshire pork and/or organically grown vegetables. Vegetarian main course available upon request. Wine for purchase. Dinner begins at 6:00 pm. There is limited seating for dinner. Reservations are required and can be made by calling the Preble County Historical Society (937-787-4526).

Proceeds benefit both the Three Valley Conservation Trust and the Preble County Historical Society.

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The Wonderful World of Bugs For Preschoolers

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In Remembrance: Carl Joseph Hesselbrock  (1927-2017)

Carl and Marge Hesselbrock

Patriarch to three generations of Hesselbrocks and loving husband to his wife Marge of 67 years, Carl Hesselbrock embodied the best qualities of the American farmer.  A native of Morgan Township, Carl and Marge began farming together in 1950, raising five children on the historic Governor Bebb property.  Over the years, Carl served in the US Army, oversaw the growing farm operations, and served on Butler County’s Soil Conservation Board.  Carl was widely admired and emulated, earning a reputation as one of Butler County’s leading farm practitioners.  Always willing to embrace new ideas and management practices, Carl and Marge in 2005 became the first farmers in Morgan Township to voluntarily place conservation easements on farmland.  Carl and Marge understood the special value of family farmland, and managed their diverse operations with great care.  Carl’s legacy of careful stewardship has been passed on to his three sons and grandson who manage and farm the family’s extensive landholdings.  His two daughters have professional careers and remain vital contributors to the family.  The Three Valley Conservation Trust and the Paddys Run Conservation Project extend their condolences to Marge and the entire Hesselbrock family on the loss of a dear man and remarkable agriculturist.

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Founder’s Day Picnic

This swamp white oak tree was planted in memory of Orie Loucks, a founding member of Three Valley Conservation Trust

Mighty oaks from little acorns grow.  Undoubtedly, Wallace Edwards thought of this parable when he envisioned land conservation in the Four Mile Creek Valley.  It was 1994 when Edwards, along with Miami faculty members Dwight Baldwin and Orie Loucks, organized what would become the Three Valley Conservation Trust.  Last month, Three Valley Trust members, friends and staff gathered at the Trust’s Ruder Preserve to dedicate a swamp white oak tree planted in memory of Orie Loucks (1931-2016), professor at Miami University from 1989 – 2002.

Professor emeritus Mark Boardman, chair of the Three Valley Trust, unveiled the memorial marker.

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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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