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Summer Orchid Hike, Mercer Old Growth Forest Preserve
July 22, 2023 @ 10:00 am - 12:00 pm
Several summer blooming orchids are reaching their peak glory. Join us for a pleasant walk through a mature hardwood and hemlock forest, as we view several native summer flowering orchids – among the shiniest jewels of the rich natural heritage of our native forest habitats.
We expect to see flowers on the Purple Fringeless Orchids which are starting to bloom. We will also explore the woods a bit looking for flowers on the Rattlesnake Plantains and Crane Fly Orchids. We expect to see seed pods on several spring-blooming orchids. Orchid expert Ken Mettler will lead this tour of the Mercer Woods Old Growth Forest Preserve that will focus on native orchids of the Hocking Hills region. This event is a follow up to our Spring Orchid Walk when we viewed numerous spring-flowering species.
Mercer Woods is the core portion of 4 properties and over 180 acres conserved by AOA in scenic Misty Valley. Located in the northern extent of the Hocking Hills, this area is part of AOA’s Hocking River Conservation Corridor initiative. The site includes characteristic Hocking Hills landscape features including sandstone outcrops, a small gorge and headwater streams and waterfalls in the several ravines. There are a wide variety of habitats and numerous wildflowers – some still in bloom. Mercer Woods is home to the largest trees and the most impressive old growth forest found on any of AOA’s many preserves. The highlight is a couple of nearly 5-foot diameter oaks.
The Orchid Viewing and other AOA events are free and open to the public. This activity will be held rain or shine – so please come prepared and dress appropriately for the weather and hiking on slopes. Although it is hot this time of year the deep forest maintains a much cooler ambient temperature.
Time: Meet at 10:00 a.m. The Walk will last approximately two hours but stay as long as you like.
What to Bring: Snacks and/or drinks of your choice. Feel free to bring a lunch and enjoy the peace and serenity of the deep forest environs. Insect repellant is recommended during tick season..
Location: Mercer Woods is located at 9012 Buckeye Troxel Road, just southeast of Sugar Grove. Look for AOA signs and volunteers who will be directing parking.