The following are the archived main articles from the 2013 issues Heartland Outdoor School’s  newsletter, Nature Notes:

January 2013

Student Accomplishments at Camp

The last week of November ended a fantastic fall season for Heartland Outdoor School. This fall, 25 schools visited us bringing around 3900 students.  These students made countless discoveries and lasting memories. They developed team building skills, stretched their personal limits and encouraged success in their classmates. Fears were conquered in Reptiles and Amphibians class as students afraid of snakes were willing to pet and even hold some of our snakes in the nature center. When asked if the encounter made them less afraid, the majority of students reported that these creatures were not as scary as they had originally thought. In the Arthropod class, students found over thirty different types of insects and arachnids, including a praying mantis egg sack. Some students were even brave enough to hold a banded garden spider that was about the size of a quarter.  In team challenge, many groups learned how to overcome differences to achieve their goals as a team. During archery, we had a large number of students that hit a bull’s-eye.  At the creek, students found a crawdad as big as a lobster. They also found a rock covered in salamander eggs and students were even able to observe the young amphibians moving around in the eggs.  On an extreme nature hike, students had the opportunity to explore off the trail and discover everything the woods had in store. All this is just scratching the surface of all the amazing accomplishments and discoveries made by students last year.

The Heartland staff are busy this winter working on improvements to make next season even better. We know it will be excellent and look forward to seeing what amazing discoveries the New Year will bring!


March 2013

Heartland’s New Property

There are great things happening at Heartland! We have acquired some new property in the past year that will allow us to expand our hiking trails and wild areas for our guests to explore. The property also includes a scenic meandering stream called Bunker Run. It is a small tributary that drains into Alum Creek. The stream zigzags through the landscape and is filled with beautiful glacial boulders that create excellent habitat for its many inhabitants.

Some of the wildlife you may see in this area could include white-tailed deer, wild turkey, fox, coyote, many songbird species, and raptors like owls or hawks. The stream is filled with several different species of minnow as well as a few species of darter, a bottom-dwelling fish that loves fast-moving water. Darters are one of Ohio’s most beautiful families of fish. Some people even call them “The jewels of Ohio’s streams.” This is due to the striking colors that they display during the mating season.

The new property encompasses 66 acres of forested area that will provide opportunities for relaxation, hiking, and bird watching. The next time you are at Heartland be sure to head to the north side of the property and explore the forest and stream. You never know what you will discover!


May 2013

Food For Thought

Here at heartland, we have made an effort to be more conscious of how much trash we create at mealtimes. We have been encouraging the students to consider the amounts of food waste they are creating as well. Why should we care about how much food we waste? A study in 2009 calculated that Americans waste about 40% of the total food available1. That equals to about 200 pounds of wasted food per person every year2. This would be enough food to feed one person for about a month and a half! That’s a lot of waste!

To help with this, we initiated a program called Food For Thought. At the end of the meal time before we begin clean up, we show the students a short video that teaches them a fact about the worldwide food waste epidemic. We also offer tips to the students about things that they can do at home and school to help fight against this problem. By raising awareness, we hope to encourage the students to be instigators of change in their community.

For more information about the waste we make and ways to reduce the amount we put in a landfill, visit the following site: This website has an interactive activity called “My Garbology” which allows students to learn about recycling, reusing, and composting.


  1. Hall, K. D., Guo, J., Dore, M., & Chow, C. C. (2009). The progressive increase of food waste in America and its environmental impact. PLoS One, 4(11), e7940. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0007940
  2. Walsh, D. (2011, Sept 15). A war against food waste. The New York Times. Retrieved from