Biologist Randall Sanders to speak on Ohio Streams

Staff report

Randall Sanders pictured with his crafted picture frames.

Randall Sanders pictured with his crafted picture frames.

Randall Sanders, past chair of the Ohio Chapter of the American Fisheries Society Streams Committee, will present “Ohio Streams” on February 8 at 7:30 pm in the Glenn Center on the campus of Bristol Village in Waverly.

Sanders will discuss multiple aspects of our state’s streams and rivers, including recreational use, water quality, wildlife diversity, ecology and restoration.

As a stream biologist for the Ohio EPA and Department of Transportation, Sanders conducted numerous stream surveys, submitted agency reports and published fisheries articles. His concerns involved water quality as well as the many creatures and aquatic plants that inhabit our waters.

Several years ago Sanders and his wife inherited a family owned farm in southern Pike County. After retiring as an Environmental Administrator for the ODNR, he began managing the farm in an environmentally sustainable way. On this farm nature and wildlife are his priorities.

Sanders’ approach to farming and lumbering are quite unorthodox. Whereas lumber companies harvest the straightest and tallest trees, Sanders culls the old, diseased and broken trees for use in his woodworking and artistic endeavors.

He sells wood picture frames, cutting boards, crosses and small furniture at local craft outlets and he harvests native plants which are marketed primarily at the Clintonville Farmers’ Market.

Sanders has recently assisted Cooper Wildflower Woods in Bristol Village in its effort to restore a native plant garden which had been invaded by non-native species. After volunteers removed the invasive plants, they replaced them with native ferns, bushes and wildflowers, many from Sanders’ Pike County Farm.

“Randy has been a tremendous help,” says Cooper Wildflower Woods Chair Karen Berney. “Not only has he provided many desirable plants, he has guided us in which species will grow best in our environment.”

As a naturalist, Randy makes it his habit to remove plants only from roadsides and right-a-ways where they cannot be allowed to grow, or he harvests from areas where the plants are abundant. A recent article in Edible Columbus featured Sanders. It dubbed him The Tree Whisperer because of his intimate kinship with the natural woodland.

“The term is appropriate,” says Berney. A group of Cooper Wildflower Woods volunteers visited his farm last summer. Randy trods through his forest and reels off the name of every tree he passes. He grabs a twig, points to a minute bud and explains why it’s a male and not a female flower.”

Sanders’ knowledge of trees and plants is matched only by his knowledge of the biota of Ohio’s streams and rivers. His degree from OSU in 1975 in Fish Management has been followed by 28 years experience in the field. The culmination of this work is presented in A Guide to Ohio Streams, a publication of the Ohio Chapter of the American Fisheries Society, which Sanders helped publish.

This book will be the basis of his talk at Bristol Village, which should be of interest to biologists, recreational fishermen and naturalists as well as anyone who enjoys the outdoors or has a concern for protecting our ecosystems.

The presentation is free and open to the public. Directions to Bristol Village: drive to Waverly on Route 23. Turn south at the Clough Street traffic light, onto Route 335. Travel almost a mile to Bristol Village. A large stone structure marks the entrance. Turn right into Bristol Village. The Glenn Center is the large brick building on the right. Free parking is available.

Randall Sanders pictured with his crafted picture frames. Sanders pictured with his crafted picture frames.

Staff report