There’s beauty everywhere! Sometimes you need people to point you in the right direction.
I’m in Southeast Ohio visiting families. This afternoon, we joined the Rural Action group on a vernal pool hike. About twenty people of all ages and sizes met in Trimble, Ohio to walk the Trimble Tomcats Environmental Learning Lab. This private land, protected by a conservation easement, is on old coal country, still owned by a coal company.
Southeastern Ohio had many coal towns until probably the 1950s. This past even has a name: Little Cities of Black Diamonds. So while the purpose of the hike was to find and observe salamanders, I found its past fascinating.
The land still had rusting oil tanks and oil donkeys on the property. We found bits of pottery and glass, and we couldn’t decide if this was junk or artifacts.
The staff was concentrating on finding wildlife in vernal pools – temporary pools of water that don’t depend on river and snow melt. It seems that tadpoles and salamanders thrive in these pools in the right season.
Most vernal pools are on dirt roads, here disturbed by four-wheelers and dirt bikes. So Rural Action, along with Trimble High School dug some holes to catch water and attract amphibians. And it worked.
I’m fascinating with what people will do to deal with land that really no one wants. And how is this land protected? And who decides what gets protected?
Though the environmental groups are protecting the land, they aren’t protecting the historical artifacts. While the Blue Heron mine in Kentucky and Tennessee is protected by Big South Fork National River and Recreation Area and the National Park Service, the Little Cities of Black Diamonds are saved by local enthusiasts.