• Categories

  • Archives

  • Enter your email address to follow this blog and receive notifications of new posts by email.

    Join 48 other followers

Pawpaws on the Rise In Oglebay Park

By Jake Francis, Director of Environmental Education–In the late summer and early fall, during the brief moments when our educators are not teaching one of our various programs, some of the Schrader Center Staff can be found prowling our trails in search of the large green leaves of a Pawpaw patch. Those foul smelling leaves are a surefire guide to the custard-like fruit that many Central Appalachian residents associate with this time of year.

The American Pawpaw (Asmina triloba) population in the Park has been on the rise, with the large clonal clumps growing and new clumps appearing annually.  The trees’ success is due in a large part to their shade tolerance, but according to Greg Park, Director of Nature Interpretation, deer seem to also leave the trees’ foliage alone. A little bit of research revealed that plants such as the Pawpaw in the family Annonaceae (the Custard Apple Family), produce a toxic chemical known as acetogenins in their foliage and bark. These acetogenins stop crucial parts of our cellular machinery from producing energy, and thus deter almost all animal herbivory.

Interestingly, one insect, the Zebra Swallowtail Butterfly, takes advantage of the acetogenins.  The butterfly lays its eggs on the plant, which is consumed by the hatched larvae.  The acetogenins are then stored in the butterflies’ bodies throughout their life, making them unpalatable to avian predators (birds!)

If you have time, come out to the Park and hunt down a Pawpaw patch of your own, but remember that there is a mandatory 10% fruit tax on all pawpaws found in the park  (payable to the office of Environmental Education, of course!)

Advertisements

Arrows are Flying at the Schrader Center!

Archery is the art or skill of propelling arrows with a bow toward an intended target. A person who participates in archery is typically referred to as an archer or bowman, and according to Wikipedia, one who is fond of or an expert at archery can be referred to as a “toxophilite”. While archery has traditionally been the sport of  huntsmen, in modern times it has become a recreational activity enjoyed by all age groups. The Schrader Center’s resident toxophilite is none other than our own Greg Park, senior naturalist and birder extraordinaire.

There has been recent rise in the popularity of archery attributed to movies such as The Hunger Games and the success of 2012 Olympic silver medalist and American archer Brady Ellison. According to the Associated Press, NBC ranked archery as the most popular sport of any that it aired on its cable networks during the first few days of the 2012 Olympics– bigger even than basketball.

So what’s really got us going at the Schrader Center these days? You guessed it — archery! With the addition of two youth archery programs, that completely filled within the first two weeks, we’ve set up the targets and are preparing to see the feathers fly (arrow’s feathers, or course!) during the months of September and October. The programs, taught by Greg Park, are targeted to students between the ages of 9-12. Students meet on Tuesday or Wednesday from 4-5pm and are instructed in proper shooting technique, stances, form, range estimation, safety and more.

Several corporate groups visiting Oglebay Park have booked archery programs through the Schrader Center as team-building experiences for employees. Imagine being lined up beside your boss, suited up in archery gear with a bow and arrow?

We hope to be able to add additional archery courses that are available to the public in the spring 2013. Check out OI’s website for updated listings. Give us a call at the Schrader Center at 304-242-6855 for more information.