Acorns Bring Benefits To Ohio Wildlife

Presented By Rathkamp Financial

(Columbus) – The Ohio Department of Natural Resources (ODNR) Division of Wildlife annually surveys oak trees for acorn abundance at 38 wildlife areas. This year’s survey results showed an average of 40% of white oaks and 49% of red oaks bore fruit, meaning white oak production is slightly above average and red oak production is slightly below average.
 
“Many of Ohio’s native wildlife species depend on oak trees and the acorns they can produce by the thousands,” said Division of Wildlife Chief Kendra Wecker. “More than 90 forest wildlife species depend on acorns for survival. A small sample of these species includes deer, squirrels, wild turkeys, woodpeckers, blue jays, raccoons, foxes, coyotes, mice, ruffed grouse, and wood ducks.”
 
Division of Wildlife employees scan the canopies of selected oak tree wildlife areas to determine the percentage that produced acorns as well as the relative size of the acorn crop. This is the 17th year the Division of Wildlife has completed the acorn production survey. The proportion of white oaks bearing acorns increased 13% from 2020, while red oak proportion decreased 20%. The long-term average for white oak acorn production is 37%, and 55% for red oak acorn production. All results, including tables and historical numbers, can be found at wildohio.gov.
 
In addition to determining the presence or absence of acorns, observers estimate the percentage of each tree’s crown that is covered with acorns. The average crown coverage of acorns for white oaks was 10%, up significantly from last year’s 6% coverage and near the long-term average of 9.5%. The average crown cover for acorns for red oaks was 18%, a decrease from last year but near the long-term average of 20%.
 
Acorns come in two basic types: red and white. They are divided into these groups based on the type of oak tree. Red oak acorns take two years to develop, and the acorns are bitter, containing a large amount of the chemical tannin. White oak acorns take only one year to develop and have a sweeter taste.
 
As a critical food source for many forest wildlife species, acorn abundance has been linked to body condition, winter survival, and reproductive success. A year with low acorn abundance causes deer and other wildlife to move around more and search for food. In areas with poor acorn production, wild animals are more likely to feed near agricultural areas and forest edges.
 
Oak trees have value beyond food and shelter for wildlife. Collect mature acorns in the fall and place them in a bucket of water. Keep the ones that sink and discard any that float, as those won’t germinate. Store the remaining acorns in the refrigerator or outside for at least eight weeks in the winter months. Plant the acorns under a shallow covering of soil in the early spring, water regularly, and enjoy seeing your new oak trees start to grow.

Dance For Kids’ Sake Nets Nearly $70,000 For Big Brothers-Big Sisters of SCO

Presented by Hometown Motors, Inc.

Erin Allsop talks about the success of the 2021 Dance For Kids’ Sake.
Board President Greg Woods addressing the audience attending the 2021 Dance For Kids’ Sake. Dan Ramey/Litter Media

For the first time in the 10 years of the event, Dance For Kids’ Sake fundraiser was held outdoors at Ohio University-Chillicothe.

Organizers moved the event to the parking lot of Shoemaker Center to offset holding it indoors due to the pandemic. Fortunately, the severe weather which had rolled through the Scioto Valley overnight had passed, creating the perfect setting for the night.

“I was up here at 5:30 this morning” said Board of Directors President Greg Woods told the audience. “Rain was moving sideways. I was speaking to a police officer working security for us and he asked ‘Are you really going to have this?’ and now look at it. It’s gorgeous!”

Dancers spent weeks preparing routines and raising funds to prepare for the event which generated an announced $67,000 for the mentoring agency.

“I’m just blown away by the generosity of our community” Executive Director Erin Allsop told Litter Media after the event. “I should know this by now because this is what our community does. Every single time, it’s like ‘Wow’ they just go above and beyond.”

Rhythmic Thunder was awarded the Children’s Champion presented to the dancer which raises the most money. The group was led by Dr. Reggina Yandila from Adena Health System. “I want to thank everyone who has helped by giving for our team” Yadila told the audience. “I know some of you did this for us, but it’s really for the kids. This is such a worthy cause.” Her team included Valerie Good, Katie Neal, Laura Adams and Ben Copher.

The Audience Choice award was given to Brad and Kelly Bigelow. Kelly, owner of Rustic Gals Boutique said she’d been approached to dance in the event before, but it was Brad who encouraged her to accept the invitation. Brad, a contractor by trade, did some remodeling inside the BBBSSCO office last summer. “When I saw the kids coming into the office and watch the ladies working with them, I knew we had to do this.”

The Judges Choice went to Marshall and Jade Berry. Marshall said participating was an easy decision because he benefitted from the agency as a child. He told the audience he personally knew the importance of the mentoring agency.

Other participants included Josh Tripp, Principal of Chillicothe Intermediate School; Johnathan Davis, Superintendent of Pickaway-Ross Career and Technology Center and his wife Kristen and Josie Vallette who learned last week she’d be performing in the place of Susie Webb & Allie Joseph. Webb was forced to withdraw from the event for health reasons.

For more details on volunteer opportunities with the agency, visit www.bbbssco.org or call 740-773-2447.

Brad & Kelly Bigelow
Jade & Marshall Berry watch their video presentation on the big screen before dancing to KC & The Sunshine Band’s “Get Down Tonight”
Jonathan & Kristen Davis dance to “You’re the One that I Want” from Grease.
Josie Vallette opens the competition.
Josh Tripp and Celina Davis dance to “Proud Mary”