Alumni Alumni in the News

July 15, 2013 at 4:33 pm

Plant Biology, Women’s and Gender Studies Alum Guest Blogs for Hocking Hills

Courtney Denning ’10, who double majored in Plant Biology-Applied Ecology and Women’s and Gender Studies at Ohio University, now works as the Experience Designer at Franklin Park Conservatory and Botanical Gardens in Columbus, OH.

She guest blogs for Hocking Hills Tourism Association on July 10, evoking memories of family, friends, and plant biology classes.

My family used to go to Hocking Hills all the time when I was growing up.  We’d usually rent a cabin for a few days or just the weekend and hike at a few different parks, mostly visiting in the summer or winter.  This area of Ohio is magical, the hills and caves, the plants and wildlife – they always make me feel like I’ve been transported to another world!  One of my favorite books, The Lord of the Rings by J.R.R. Tolkien, was being made into a series of three films around the time that we visited Hocking Hills the most.  Brittney and I must have watched the first movie, The Fellowship of the Ring, a hundred times!  We even took a VHS tape of it to a cabin one winter to watch.  When we went hiking we felt like we were following the path of Frodo and the other hobbits though the hills and forests of the Shire or Rivendell – the woods had that much of a hold on us and our imaginations.

When Kenneth and I went to college at Ohio University in Athens – Hocking Hills was less than a half hour drive away.  Several of my plant biology classes field trips went to Hocking Hills to study plant ecology or mushrooms.  Kenneth and I were able to visit the area during any season and we went on one of our most memorable hikes after a winter ice storm.  We went to Old Man’s Cave and discovered waterfalls that had turned into huge icicles and large pools of water completely frozen over.  Buds on trees were captured in large ice ‘droplets’, reminding me of ancient mosquitos preserved in amber.  There were very few other hikers that day so we had this winter wonderland all to ourselves!

Read more of Denning’s blog posts at

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