Broken Timber: A Place For Everybody, Not Just Kids
Editor’s Note: This is the second of four articles on Broken Timber Outdoor Education Center in Hannibal.
ODNR’s 4,200 acre Powhatan Point Wildlife Area, located near the Broken Timber Outdoor Education Center, has a pond that the center’s Mike Willis would like to utilize.
Membership is available for a small fee, which allows access to all the facility has to offer including a loaner program. All kinds of fishing equipment is available to members to use. Willis hopes to fill the stock room with all types of hunting and fishing equipment for the loaner program.
The Sarah Jacobs Memorial Library, located in the center, has dozens of books, videos and information available on all types of outdoor fishing and hunting. There is a large screen TV to play the videos.
The library is dedicated to the late Sarah Jacobs because she had tried to help Willis establish something like the center. Jacobs’ sister and brother-in-law gave a monetary donation to help establish the library.
Down the hall, decorated with wildlife posters, there is a room with a bait station which holds minnows. Willis is looking for a refrigerator to store other bait.
The lab, which has an overhead ventilation system, is just right to melt lead for making sinkers and jig heads. Safety equipment includes goggles, protective sleeves and gloves. “Safety is always first,” said Willis. There is a polisher to smooth the lead and paint available to paint the sinkers and jig heads.
A number of seminars are in the planning stages. Willis is waiting for confirmation from a pro staff member of the Tru-Tungsten company to finalize a date for a river fishing seminar. A spring turkey seminar is being planned with Peck Martin of McMechen, who makes turkey calls.
A sanctioned turkey calling contest also is being planned, along with deer hunting and trapping seminars. Willis would like someone to step forward to organize a Women in the Outdoors program. There is room in the facility to house this program.
Three Signs of Spring
BY MARY VARGO
of Broken Timber Outdoor Education Center
“Do you hear what I hear?” Even when ice still sits on standing water, they start calling. Who? Pseudacris crucifer crucifer. Huh?
My husband says that sounds like something a priest would say. Not too far off. “Crucifer” does mean cross, but it refers to the X on the back of these tiny toads. How tiny? Only about an inch in length! But loud! Just your basic (Northern) Spring Peeper! You may never see one, but if you live near water you can hear them. They are tree toads and after their noisy mating season, they move to moist woodlands to feed on insects.
“Look! Up in the sky!” Right on! Turkey vultures! When I saw four of them overhead while driving home my thought was “Welcome back! The area is full of lovely road kill for you.” Here in the Ohio Valley, they are a familiar site, lunching on a possum or a slow raccoon.
However, one of their favorite nesting sites is north of us in Hinckley, Ohio. They nest – if you can call laying eggs on a rock a nest – in the crevices of caves and boulders. Hinckley’s glacial “ledges” are a perfect spot for that reason.
The locals have even made it into a tourist attraction by having a welcoming back celebration on the Sunday closest to March 15, which is when the biggest number seem to arrive.
While Cathartes aura may not have a pretty face, it is beautiful to watch as it rides the thermals looking for something dead for dinner.
Good eyes? No, they actually have a methane sensor to catch whiffs of the gas that decomposing animals give off!
You have to look down to find number three. Little yellow flowers about an inch across. They look like dandelions, but they’re not. Just a pretty yellow flower on a bare stem. Yup! Coltsfoot!
Even that clever old Roman, Pliny, didn’t know that the leaves of the plant come out after the flower! He believed they were two different plants! Wrong. After those lovely spring flowers, the hoof-shaped leaves that give the plant its name appear. Their name in Latin is Tussilago Farfara. No, it doesn’t have anything to do with horses or yellow flowers. Tussilago means “cough plant.”
Its use was so popular in Europe that colonists brought it to America to treat coughs, usually taken as a tea.
While it can be eaten, its bright yellow leafless flowers are important to me as a sure sign that winter is over and spring is here!