By Tina Patterson and Dave Wendling
While the day started off with soft showers, by the time we arrived at Dauner Martin the skies were clearing. The sun had come out and with it, a great group of hikers excited to be a part of the Odyssey! Paul and Sue McEwen did a fabulous job of spreading the word and were ready and waiting with their friend John Smith, who added so much to our day. John was exceedingly knowledgeable about the sanctuary and was able to identify many species in a very interesting and informative way. He also pointed out several butterflies to us including a tiger swallowtail, red admirals, and a comma butterfly. Some great photographers were also part of the group, with Marianne Glosenger of Empire looking forward to entering her photos in this year’s photo contest. Seeing some of her work on this trip, we know she will be a contender. Being a part of the Odyssey and meeting so many great people is what makes this such a special time; getting to know people along the trail and sharing the “ooohhhs” and “ahhhs” as we saw massive ash and cherry trees, the first swallowtail butterfly of the season, as well as just being a part of a perfect day. Photos of our day at Dauner Martin should be in the next issue of the Midweek Times, thanks to a staff photographer who shot some candids of the 21 people who helped make our day great.
As we entered the 155-acre sanctuary in the city of Fenton, one of the first things that caught our eyes was a group of several small Ohio Buckeyes that were located only at the Dauner Road entrance. It soon became evident that the 4.5 miles of interconnected trails were very well marked and kept cleared by the great efforts of the stewards, and signage was strategically placed along the trails so that no one would lose their way. Several benches were located along the trails, some of which were made by Eagle Scouts; the scouts also constructed a very nice boardwalk over a wet area of the sanctuary.
The major habitat of the sanctuary is second growth oak-hickory forest along with pine plantations and wet depressions. Several large trees were seen; notable were cherry trees, and a very large ash tree that had sadly been killed by the emerald ash borer. There were not a lot of spring wildflowers in bloom; however, we did see several species of violets as well as Jack-in-the-pulpits. Dave pointed out several moss-covered logs and decaying wood that were providing a habitat for mushrooms, part of a healthy forest ecosystem.
Halfway through the hike Paul stopped to explain all the stewardship activities that were going on at the sanctuary including the many work days they have scheduled to remove invasive species. Paul and Sue invited everyone to come back to help on scheduled work days and be a part of future field trips. We know we want go back to Dauner Martin, and hope you will, too!
Check out more photos from our visit to Dauner Martin on MNA’s Flickr page!
If you’d like to join us on a future Odyssey tour, visit the MNA website.