April showers or not, the May flowers are certainly blooming on Ohio Memory! A new collection, digitized from the slides of naturalist Ralph Ramey, is now available on the site thanks to one of our many dedicated volunteers. The images capture a variety of plant and butterfly species native to Ohio in lush and vivid color, scanned from 35mm slides that Ramey often used either as illustrations in the books he wrote, or as visual accompaniments to his public lectures on the nature of Ohio.
Ralph Ramey, who can be seen here on the far left, is an Ohio native who has spent over half a century documenting plants, animals, insects, and other notable features of the Ohio landscape on his travels throughout the state. He is also a prolific writer, and the author of, among other things, “Fifty Hikes in Ohio: Walks, Hikes, and Backpacking Trips throughout the Buckeye State.”
After becoming interested in nature as a boy growing up in the Columbus suburb of Bexley, he continued with his photography hobby while a student in Wildlife Conservation at the Ohio State University, often supporting himself by working at different camera shops. Ramey later spent time working for the Columbus, Franklin County, and Miami County Park Districts, and served as Director of the Glen Helen Nature Preserve in Yellow Springs, Ohio. He also worked as the Chief of the Ohio Department of Natural Resources, Division of Natural Areas and Preserves, before retiring in 1994. In 2006, he was inducted into the ODNR Hall of Fame along with fellow heavyweights like John Chapman (a.k.a. Johnny Appleseed) and Louis Bromfield.
Check out the rest of the collection on Ohio Memory, and maybe use this holiday weekend to get out there and see some native Ohio species for yourself! You can try one of the fifty hikes suggested by Ralph Ramey, or simply see what flora and fauna there is right in your own neighborhood!
Thanks to Lily Birkhimer, Digital Projects Coordinator at the Ohio History Connection, for this week’s post!