Since the late 1940s, the Trumbull Soil & Water Conservation District in Cortland has devised ways to protect Trumbull County's natural resources.
It also has constructed numerous education outreach programs and workshops for children and adults. These programs serve as a way for the district to teach the importance of preserving and conserving the area's natural resources and wildlife.
And now it has a new program.
Trumbull SWCD and Pymatuning State Park held a vernal pool program at Pymatuning State Park on March 21. Thirty-three participants, including several senior citizens, from Ohio and Pennsylvania joined Amy Reeher, Trumbull SWCD watershed coordinator, and Linda Armstrong, Pymatuning State Park environmental education specialist, in exploring these springtime habitats. Reeher has developed the Outdoor and Wildlife Loving Seniors program (OWLS), which will begin May 25,?to teach seniors about wildlife and the outdoors.
Amy Reeher, watershed coordinator at TSWCD, developed the Outdoor and Wildlife Loving Seniors program (OWLS) to teach seniors about wildlife and the outdoors. The first session is scheduled for May 25.
"We submitted a grant to the Senior Services Advisory Committee and the Trumbull County Commissioners office," Reeher said. "I love the outdoors and could remember the experience of growing up with my two grandfathers who were both into the outdoors. We talked about the idea of seniors having more of an education about the outdoors."
Mike Wilson, executive director of the TSWCD, said the district applied for a mini grant last year from the Trumbull County Senior Levy to start OWLS.
When you go
The first session of OWLS is set for 2 p.m. May 25. Interested individuals should contact Amy Reeher at 330-637-2056, Ext. 111, or firstname.lastname@example.org
"We did a couple of test programs a few years ago, seeing how seniors would like the programs and workshops," Wilson said. "One of the test programs was a workshop that dealt with birds, butterflies and bees. We developed workshops out in the field serving the 60 and over clients."
Among the workshops being offered as part of OWLS are ones on birds in Ohio, outdoor gardening, workshops on pollinators, and developing rain gardens and rain barrels. The programs also will include instruction on water quality.
Reeher said an example of a workshop OWLS might include is a blue bird box maintenance or maintaining habitats and learning about wildlife in Ohio.
She said the district developed education outreach programs to attract each age group. With the OWLS program, Reeher hopes to reach out to seniors.
"We are getting seniors to learn about the outdoors and get them out and moving," she said. "We are also looking at how to address people who are in retirement and have more time to enjoy the outdoors. We are addressing issues that fit into adult education outreach programs."
One of the most popular workshops offered as part of OWLS is bird-watching and bird-feeding.
"Bird watching and bird feeding is a multi-million dollar industry," Reeher said.
Loyd Marshall, of Gustavus, a volunteer coordinator for the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, believes OWLS is a beneficial tool for seniors and residents of all ages.
"Seniors have a lot of knowledge and experience and are also interested in learning about new things," he said. "The benefit of having all ages in the programs is to be able to share the different knowledge bases."
Marshall said TSWCD offers a variety of programs and has extensively educated people in the area about environmental matters.
"I feel that the programs are very informative on different levels because they give you the basic information that you need on a subject in a short time," he said. "There is usually an expert there to answer more detailed questions. Contacts are provided to obtain more information. Generally people who are retired or have their family raised, have the opportunity to pursue new interests."
Marshall believes OWLS will be a success for the community.
"I think the OWLS program will offer opportunities for new learning and a chance for seniors to meet people of similar interests," he said. "Without the program, many people may not get the chance to participate in the different activities. I know from my own experience while volunteering at the lake, I have met a lot of nice people and have been able to work on projects that I may not have been able to do otherwise."
"We are always going to have the education proponent," Reeher said. "Most importantly, we are going to give seniors the tools to enrich their lives."