Day 108: Hunting For Fossils


time of year

Right in the middle of the flat Ohio farmland is Springville Marsh State Nature Preserve, Carey, OH which at first makes it seem a little out of place. But it turns out that most of the surrounding farmland used to be marsh before it was drained by settlers to farm or mine for peat. This 267 acre preserve was donated to The Nature Conservancy in 1978 and transferred to the Ohio Division of Natural Areas & Preserves in 1981. Springville Marsh is an unequaled nature preserve in northwestern Ohio. It is the largest inland wetland in this part of the state and home to a remarkable and diverse inventory of flowering plants. A mile boardwalk takes through the marsh, past educational signs and to a bird blind and an observation deck. The birds were singing and there were animal prints in the mud the entire way around. Behind the bird blind is a wetland area where the fish were more active than I’ve ever seen them and red-wing blackbirds sang and looked for food. We had a really lovely time just appreciating the nature around us and that people have been able to protect it and preserve the unique ecosystem.


For a treat we got Timbits from Tim Hortons. I haven’t had Timmies since we visited Canada years ago. I like that they label their restrooms as “Washrooms” as a nod to their Canadian roots.

Fossil Park, Sylvania, OH. This park invites you to hunt through what’s left of the shallow sea that covered Ohio during the Devonian period 375 million years ago. It’s one of only 2 prime Devonian Era sites on the entire planet. No tools are allowed, you are supposed to use your hands and a brush if you have one to find Trilobites (looks similar to a flat potato bug), Aulopora Coral (has little circles on it), Horn Coral (ice cream cone shapes in shale), Crinoids (which look like Cheerios), Brachiopods (small shelled creatures). We spent an hour searching for fossils in the shale and clay. We did find a few pieces but we weren’t exactly sure we were looking correctly.


Microtel Inn and Suites, Ann Arbor, MI

Price: $119/night

Matthaei Botanical Gardens and Nichols Arboretum, Ann Arbor, MI. $2/hour or $5/day parking. The Conservatory is fabulous with a wide variety of exotics including a young corpse flower plant and a sausage tree. Yes, it’s really called that. They also have an impressive collection of Bonsai trees, an herb garden, wildflowers from desert to marshland. We ate our picnic dinner overlooking the pond, surrounded by beautiful trees, listening to birdsong.


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