the BEACON Newspaper, Indiana 3-18web - Page 4

Page 4A THE BEACON March 2018 Over the Rivers, Creeks, Ponds, and Woods, to the Oxbow We Go Continued from page 1A sation he had years ago with one of the founding members of the organization, “He was talking about making sure that people had access; they had to have access or they wouldn’t protect it. You can’t love something if you don’t have any idea what it is.” The Oxbow includes rivers, creeks, ponds, fields, woods, dirt roads and all kinds of plants and animals. Dr. Sey- mour explains, “It is a 5,000 acre protected area encom- passing most of the mouth of the Great Miami River and almost all of the floodplain of the Great Miami River. This is really what was the dream of the people when they got together back in 1985, hold- ing meetings at the cabins on Shawnee Lookout, with Great Parks agreeing to try to protect the Ohio side, and we agreeing to do what we could to protect the Indiana side. We have finally joined up … Five thousand acres; now put that in perspective: that’s 7.8 square miles.” Dr. Seymour says, “I want the community to be aware and support us because there should be a pride in what they have here, which is really unique: Seven-point-eight square miles of essentially protected land without houses that is that close to a major city - and it’s right on their doorstep here in Dearborn County. It’s right on their doorstep and they can come and enjoy it. East of the Mis- sissippi, having a track like that, that’s not a state park or a national park is unusual; most land tracts like ours, a lot of them have more acre- age, but it’s split up all over the place, scattered around five counties, something like that, but with what we have adjacent to Shawnee Lookout is pretty unusual.” Oxbow, Inc. is a non-profit organization dedicated to protecting those acres of wetlands that are vital to the survival of migratory bird populations. Just sixteen miles from Cincinnati, a wide variety of waterfowl come to the Oxbow for food, shelter and rest throughout the year. Some species will fly hun- dreds of miles during seasonal Members of Oxbow, Inc., like Meg Poehlmann and Jon Seymour, are dedi- cated to preserving the Oxbow, and are equally enthusiastic about shar- ing all that it offers with the community. migrations and cannot com- plete such long flights without stops along the way. To better inform the public about the importance of this special area, Oxbow, Inc. offers field trips, monthly meetings, an annual Birda- thon, and other programs and classes throughout the year. Additionally, every year one student from each of the five high schools near the Oxbow receives a $500 scholarship, and grant applications are available two times a year for one of four $1000 educational grants. Both funds require re- cipients to have a connection to the natural world, either through study or program content. Dr. Seymour explains that the Oxbow is not only a place; it is a non-profit busi- ness, as well. “The founders were hunters and fishermen, birdwatchers, botanists, farm- ers - they were all people that enjoy the outdoors in differ- ent ways, and the group was Approximately 5,000 acres of land to the east and west of the Great Miami River are protected from development through conservation easements and outright purchases. Near the site of a long defunct runway, stands what remains of an airplane hangar - one of many chapters in the story of the Great Miami River floodplain. Photos by Susan Ray possibly a little difficult to manage.” He smiles and continues, “I have a note from Warren Wells who was one of the early Rangers; he was tak- ing notes at one of the early meetings and scribbled in the margin, ‘I don’t know if these people will ever get together.’” Upon taking on the role of president, Dr. Seymour met with the board. He recalls, “I said this is a business and we have to run it like a business, and that was a shock to a fair number of folks. They didn’t really want to consider it in The Oxbow is home to sixty-six species of fish, and 287 species of birds, including these geese taking full advantage of a mid-winter thaw. that way. It’s a fun thing to do: protection, passion, but how do you make that a busi- ness? If you want to protect it, you have to make a business Continued on page 5A 215 E. Broadway St, P.O. Box 513 Harrison, Ohio 45030 We believe in going beyond what is (513)367-4545 Fax: (513)367-4546 expected to offer each family a caring compassionate service for an affordable price. “Providing funerals and cremations with dignity and compassion.” 215 E. Broadway St, P.O. Box 513 Harrison, Ohio 45030 (513)367-4545 Fax: (513)367-4546 Ready f or in g? Better B an k in You can always... 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