News & Events

Why we all should care about POLLINATORS

an interview with Jamie Walters

Jamie Walters – 46yrs, Defiance lifelong residence, Defiance County OSU Extension Master Gardener, Hancock County Ohio Certified Volunteer Naturalist, Ohio State Beekeepers Association – Journeyman Beekeeper, Northwest Ohio Beekeepers Assoc. – Vice President, CSAW Ohio Forestry Management, Ohio State Pollinator Specialist and Defiance County Apiary Inspector.

  1. Jamie, pollinators seem to be a hot topic these days, can you explain your interest in promoting them?
    Since taking the Pollinator Specialists class with Denise Ellsworth at OSU, it has really opened my eyes to our needs of having pollinators. When some people think pollinators, they only think of honeybees, in which they are missing all types of bees, bumble bees, leaf cutter bees, long-horned bees, mason bees, minor bees, oil-collecting bees, sweat bees, & yellow faced bees. We have over 500 species of bees just in Ohio, let alone the ants, beetles, birds, butterflies, flies, moths & some wasps that also pollinate our flowers, trees, plants, and vegetables.
    These animals help to pollinate nearly 75% of our food crops; apples, strawberries, plums, peaches, and 35% indirectly contribute to our food chain; alfalfa and clover for animal forage/feed, dairy and beef. Most of your fresh fruits and vegetables would disappear from our grocery stores shelves without pollinators. The best examples I can give that would affect most people are:
    Chocolate – Cocoa beans could not develop from not being pollinated. The milk from dairy cow would significantly be reduced from the alfalfa and clover that it needs to eat, which is pollinated to help produce seed to grow more alfalfa and clover.
    Beef, pork, poultry and lamb – derived one way or another from insect pollinated legumes such as alfalfa, clover, lespedeza, and trefoil.
    Coffee – directly impacted as it requires pollinators to set seed; coffee bean.

  3. Why do you believe pollinators populations are at risk?
    Forage: Through research of State Colleges, USDA, Pollinators Partnership, and more, there is solid concrete proof that forage is disappearing at alarming rates. The pollinators use the pollen as their protein to consume, reproduce, and store to get through periods when pollen is not available. This is no different than humans going to the grocery store to eat their next meal or put it in the cupboards for next week. Do you enjoy going to the corner market, local grocery store or what if you had to go to Toledo or Ft. Wayne every time you wanted nourishment?  Pollinators require pollen from the first signs of skunk cabbage blossoms, dandelion, white Dutch clover through summer till golden rod and asters in the late Fall.
    Chemicals: Pesticides, herbicides, insecticides, and fungicides are becoming an increasing concern. There is an ever growing abundance of chemicals on the store shelves. Knowing what to spray, when to spray, and even if you need to spray should be everyone’s responsibility. Properly identifying the pest first, either by reaching out to your County OSU Extension Office, Soil & Water Conservation District, or trained personnel, you can then react to what needs to be done. Using an integrated pest management (IPM) practice will help reduce chemicals in our environment and always follow label directions. There is research & development that goes into writing them, placing an extra doing no good to you or the environment.
    Humans: Wanting the perfect green lawn, spraying chemicals, cutting back native areas and/or trees and best management practices.

  5. Where do honey bees fit into this equation?

    On January 10, 2017 the United States Fish and Wildlife Service placed the rusty patched bumblebee (B. affinis) on the list of endangered species.

    Honeybees are a big part of this because we place them into a hive, manage, and they are the only insect that humans get a product from – honey. Since we can move our hives to any location for pollination of apple orchards, vegetable gardens, strawberry fields, and many others, we tend to see first-hand if there is enough forage in the areas. If there isn’t enough forage for native pollinators, they move out of that area or go extinct, as in the case of the Rusty Patch Bumblebee here in Ohio. Beekeepers, like myself can use tools; Google Earth to look for proper forage areas for our beehives and move them, if needed. Knowing that from each hive, our honeybees will forage in a maximum 5 mile radius, approx. 50265.5 acres. Pollinators contribute more than $20 million dollars to the United States economy, of which honeybees account for more than $15 million dollars through their vital role in keeping, fruits, nuts, and vegetables in our diets.


  7. What can people do to help?
    If everyone would help just a little, the impact would be tremendous. Having a “Spray Free Zone” on your property. Planting and landscaping with Ohio native plants;  milkweed, purple cone flower, cup plant, joe pye weed, etc. Allowing their lawns to grow dandelions, white Dutch clover, or just allowing an area of their lawn to grow will.  I ask everyone to take the “1 Foot Challenge”, allow 1 square foot of your property to go back native by planting a plant, clover, dandelion, etc. per year, each additional year, add another square foot. I’m asking everyone to give just a little back so pollinators have a place to forage, reproduce, and thrive.

  9. Where can people visit your booth or go to learn more?
    Visit and are both great resources for native pollinator plants, information, and best practices. You are welcome to add me on Facebook at where I post upcoming presentations and information. The Defiance Public Library asked me to present on Attracting/Preserving Pollinators on June 7th, 5pm, at the Northtowne Community Room where I will have a power point presentation and hand-outs for everyone. If you have an organization that is interested in hearing more, you are welcome to contact me and I would be happy to help.

Annual Spring Events


City of Defiance Annual Clean Up Your Parks Day


Earth Day

April 22


Riverfront Gathering

Last Weekend in June
Join us at Pontiac park on Friday night (5-9 pm) and Saturday (12-9 pm) for a celebration of
our Rivers! Music, food, and activities. The highlight will be the opportunity to enjoy a free pontoon ride! You can also give kayaking a try!

Youth Camps:

Science Camp is incr-EDIBLE” Kid’s Outdoor Science Camp,  at Camp Palmer for grades
3-8. Scholarships available.
Kid’s Outdoor Camp at Penney Nature Center, for grades K-2.

Photo Contest

K-12th grade.  Photos must be taken in Defiance County. Watch for more info on 2018 Categories and dates.

Poster Contest

Grade level categories: K-1, 2-3, 4-6, 7-9, 10-12. Watch for more info on 2018 Categories and dates.

Like Defiance SWCD on Facebook or visit for info on these events and contests.

2017 SWCD Tree Sale


Defiance Soil & Water Conservation District Annual  Tree Seedling Sale.

Now taking orders for conifers, deciduous trees and shrubs.

Fruit trees are available in a four-species variety pack at a cost of $48.00 per pack and include 2 apple, 1 peach, and 1 cherry. Due to limited availability, please call 419-782-1794 to place an order. Do not send payment without first contacting the District.

Order Deadline Extended to March 17, 2017.

2017 Order Form and Descriptions


We All Need Trees




Around Defiance County


Our region is not the only place undergoing a paradigm shift to create healthy living opportunities for the community. Developing pedestrian transportation resources, promoting our most obvious natural resources as assets to be enjoyed by the public and creating connectivity within and between neighborhoods—these are just a few of the ways that Defiance is creating more access and visibility to the Maumee and Auglaize Rivers. To beautify and enhance the confluence, developing a central location for a gathering place by envisioning a pedestrian “tridge – three legged bridge” connecting Kingsbury, Pontiac and Fort Defiance Parks together is just a start!

Riverfront Concepts

The City of Defiance has acquired several properties through the FEMA Floodplain Mitigation Program. The additional green space is becoming part of the park system which prompted the City to contract with a firm to develop a concept plan for the Riverfront and Confluence Area. One of the sketches appears on the back cover of our fall issue of Land to Lake Magazine.

Connectivity: Boat, Bike & Walking Trails

The Defiance County section is pictured here. Click to see the full trail PDF.

Maumee River Water Trail

The proposed Maumee River Water Trail will go from the state line to Lake Erie.

The ‘Trail’ is the River!

Designation as an ODNR State Water Trail will include signage at access points, water view signs, additional and improved access sites along with printed and digital maps. All of this makes planning your trip on the Maumee River easy, safer and fun. If you were not able to attend a public meeting, please learn more and share your input at:

Trail to Independence Dam

Plans are beginning to create a 4-mile pedestrian/bicycle trail along River Road, or County Road 424, by widening the road from Pontiac Park to Independence Dam State Park. The project is expected to get underway in 2018. We look forward to sharing more details as they become available.

This trail will allow pedestrian and bicycle traffic to travel safely along the existing roadway. This 4 mile stretch, when completed will allow trail users connectivity to the trail system in Lucas County, utilizing various tow path trails through Henry County.

Reservoir Nature Trail

The City has been awarded a grant for $150,000 from Ohio Department of Natural Resources (ODNR) Recreational Trails Program toward the construction of a boardwalk-style pathway through the wooded portion of the municipal reservoir site. An asphalt path was constructed around most of the base of the Reservoir in 2015. This new boardwalk pathway will connect both ends of the existing asphalt path, giving trail users a unique woodland experience and completing the loop around the reservoir. This multi-use trail will be fully ADA compliant with select areas designated for birdwatching and educational features.

Buckeye Trail

The City of Defiance and Defiance Development and Visitors Bureau (DDVB) have submitted an application for the designation of Defiance as a “Trail Town”. Watch for opportunities to enjoy
the trail and “follow the blue blazes.” Details at

Walking Trail at Defiance County East

This trail has two ½ mile sections, one gravel and one paved—starting on the back edge of the parking lot, looping around through the woods adjacent to the Maumee River. Spring is coming; it’s time to take advantage of these great resources in our community!

Rotary Walkway

Watch for new benches coming soon to enjoy views of the confluence!


Lake Erie UpDate

March 2017

Animals can be invasive too! Asian carp are an example of a nonnative species
that can replace native fish populations. These carp are threatening to upset the
balance of Lake Erie reducing populations of fish such as walleye. One model
suggests that Asian carp could eventually account for up to 34% of the total fish
weight in the lake.

Bighead and silver carp, imported from Asia to control algae, compete with native fish that eat microscopic plants and animals. Another Asian species, grass carp, will feast on aquatic vegetation that provides crucial habitat and spawning grounds. They have been found in Lakes Erie, Michigan and Ontario, although it’s uncertain how many there are or how widely they have spread.

November 2016

If you visited Lake Erie this summer there is a chance you saw algal blooms. Unfortunately, you didn’t need to go that far, as we had a harmful algal bloom detected on the Maumee River right here in Defiance. 🙁

Having a bloom such as this on moving water demonstrates that we have a long way to go in reducing the nutrients entering our streams and rivers.  These algal blooms occur when there is excess  phosphorus & nitrogen, as algae and cyanobacteria feed on these nutrients.  In addition, warmer water can increase the blooms making them more likely to occur in stagnant systems, usually not moving water flowing down a river!  The Defiance Department of Health responded by posting warning signs at access points along the River.

Fixing the Harmful Algal Bloom problem will not occur overnight, but Ohio has signed an agreement with some specific targets for reducing phosphorus inputs.   We have committed to a 20% reduction by 2020 and a 40% reduction by 2025.  Scientists are working to identify target areas and strategies that will be most effective by using computer models and data such as land use, soil type, and conservation practices to pinpoint phosphorus hotspots.

Conservation Partner of the Year

img_5329Joe Blosser was honored and recognized this year by the SWCD as “Conservation Partner of the Year.”  Joe has an extensive collection of wildlife mounts and furs that he has very generously shared at SWCD events and classroom programs.  Thousands of Defiance county students and adults have learned about Ohio wildlife by hearing Joe’s presentation and getting up close and personal with the mounts and furs.  Although these are expensive and delicate, Joe has always encouraged people to touch the animals!  These experiences not only create a relationship with our wildlife population, but cultivate a respect for natural resources and promote a mentality of conservation.  Thank you to Joe Blosser for the use of these displays along with the donation of his time.  A champion of Defiance County conservation!

Riverfront Gathering

img_5184This event took place this August on the banks of the Maumee River in Defiance. The evening was a time to stop and reflect on our local historic and natural resources. The goal was to connect people to the river and we achieved this by taking about 130 people on free pontoon boat rides! The pontoon was provided by the Tri-State Watershed Alliance, a group focused on improving watershed health, recreation, and business opportunities.

The mayor of Defiance, Mike McCann, and an Upper Maumee Watershed Partnership Board member, Rex Oskey took turns driving the boat and chatting with riders about local history, water quality and plans for the future. In addition, we had kayaks available for people to try a little human powered boating. Overall, it was a great event with music, food, art, farmer’s market, and activities for the kids. Look for a similar event in 2017 to celebrate the River!