Category: Learn

14 Apr 2023
Young Tree of Heaven in Indian Hill woodlands

Invasive Spotted Lanternfly and Tree of Heaven

Young Tree of Heaven in Indian Hill woodlands
Tree of Heaven: an invasive in North America and the preferred host plant of spotted lanternflies

Invasive Spotted Lanternfly and Tree of Heaven:
A Double Threat to Local Ecosystems

Spotted lantern fly is once again making the news since this is the time of the year when their eggs are most visible. This invasive insect species has been spreading across the United States since its first sighting in Pennsylvania in 2014. Unfortunately, it reached Ohio last year, and the extent of this insect’s impact is not fully understood.

The spotted lanternfly is a type of planthopper, which means that it feeds on plant sap using its piercing mouthparts. They can cause significant damage to trees by feeding on their sap, which can weaken the tree, making it more susceptible to disease and other pests, and even killing it in severe cases. One tree to keep an especially close eye on is tree of heaven, a favorite of the lantern fly.

Spotted Lanternfly Nymphs
Tree of Heaven, marked by pink tags, in Indian Hill woods
Tree of Heaven (marked by pink tags): an invasive species to North America and the preferred host plant of Spotted Lanternfly

Tree of heaven (Ailanthus altissima) is also an invasive species that has become problematic in many parts of the country, including Ohio. It is highly successful due to its ability to produce clones in addition to over 300,000 seeds per year. These trees are also allelopathic meaning they can secrete chemicals into the soil that inhibit the growth of surrounding native vegetation. Greenacres is currently in the process of developing in-house methods to control tree of heaven.

What can be done to address this double threat to local ecosystems? 

  • Report any sightings of spotted lanternflies or tree of heaven using the form or QR code found at Ohio Department of Agriculture.
  • Remove or treat any tree of heaven growing on your property. This can be done using methods such as herbicides, cutting and stump treatment, or girdling. However, care should be taken not to disturb or harm other plants in the area.
  • Encourage the growth of native plant species in your garden or landscaping. Native plants are adapted to the local environment and provide food and habitat for a variety of insects, birds, and other wildlife.

    By working together, we can help protect our local ecosystems from the negative impacts of invasive species like the spotted lanternfly and tree of heaven. If you have any questions or concerns, don’t hesitate to reach out to Greenacres or other local organizations for advice and support. 

    The spotted lanternfly can congregate in large numbers.
    The lanternfly with its wings open.
    20 Mar 2023

    Prescribed Fire at Greenacres

    Prescribed Fire at Greenacres

    Fire as a Land Management Tool

    As stewards to the land gifted to us by the Nippert family, Greenacres strives to utilize the best land management practices available. Fire has always been a part of the natural world, and returning prescribed fire to our landscape is an integral part of conserving nature, for the benefit of both wildlife and humans alike. Various plant communities found on our properties are dependent on fire to create a healthy, resilient, and biodiverse ecosystem. From the wildflowers of spring and summer, to the oak trees feeding its acorns to the animals of the forest, to grasslands hosting quail – all are dependent of periodic fire to keep the ecosystem in balance.

    Students out on an early fall adventure.

    Conducting a Prescribed Burn

    As a land management tool, prescribed fire requires careful planning and thorough training to ensure the safety of persons and property. Greenacres staff members who plan and lead prescribed fires are certified through the Ohio Division of Forestry and have years of experience. Staff trainings are held to ensure all those who are working these fires are knowledgeable and competent in their roles. Permits are issued through the Ohio Division of Forestry, the Ohio EPA, and local fire departments, holding Greenacres to the utmost standards while conducting prescribed fires.

    Greenacres conducted two prescribed burns in Indian Hill in 2022 – for more information on those fires, please click here

    If you have questions, or would like more information, please email Chris Glassmeyer at

    13 Sep 2022
    school bus in front of arts center

    Discover Together – Fall 2022

    school bus in front of arts center

    Discover Together – Fall 2022

    Welcome Back!

    We have enjoyed welcoming you and your students back to Greenacres for another adventure-filled year! It has been great seeing old and new friends participate in programming throughout the fall. We are excited to begin publishing “Learning Together”, a newsletter focused on education programs at Greenacres. Two-to-three times a year, we will highlight new opportunities for visiting schools, introduce our educators and highlight any important changes to our education programming. We hope this gives you another way to interact and stay up-to-date with Greenacres. We look forward to continue serving you and your students.

    If you haven’t browsed our available programming lately, we encourage you to check it out. You can find a full list at

    Students out on an early fall adventure.
    Students out on an early fall adventure.

    Meet Scott Wingate, Director of Education

    Introducing our new Director of Education, Scott Wingate. Scott has been involved with Cincinnati non-profits and their education initiatives for most of his career. He spent time at the Cincinnati Zoo before becoming the Executive Director of the Newport Aquarium’s WAVE Foundation. He is excited to join our team and looks forward to continuing to grow Greenacres education programs. 

    “I am excited to start the role of Director of Education at Greenacres as it combines my passion for conservation, nature and affinity for educating our community!  I look forward to collaborating with our community leaders to develop innovative education programs that are engaging, impactful and ensure students are meeting the requirements of their schools while developing a sense of wonder for our natural world!”

    Scott Wingate, Greenacres Director of Education

    Have you visited the Arts Center?

    When you visit the Greenacres Arts Center for a field trip, your experience will be enhanced by learning from a group of teaching artists, who are active participants in the arts world. Each member of the Arts Education team is excited about the work they do, the communities in which they are involved, and are eager to share their love for music, visual arts, and theater experiences with visiting classes throughout the year. 

    A great field trip destination year round

    The Arts Center offers access to art galleries, art studios, and performance spaces while maintaining its historical integrity. In addition to the facility itself, the grounds present curated gardens, water features, and courtyards, which are regularly used in programming. Just steps away is working farmland, an inspiring greenhouse, and extensive woodlands with trails and creek access. The diverse facilities provide truly unique, hands-on learning experiences.

    Arts programming occurs both indoors and outdoors, allowing versatile settings to explore each season. For example, the seasonal changes brought by autumn inspires students’ creativity through new sound and color palettes. Music, visual arts, and theater opportunities are explored equally in nature and in the Arts Center. Greenacres arts programming provides different avenues for students to connect with the arts in a new environment.

    Arts Programming from a Unique Perspective

    Arts programming draws inspiration from our founders, Louis and Louise Nippert. Louis Nippert was a farmer and outdoorsman, while Louise Nippert was a performer and supporter of the arts. Their collective interests have created a convergence between the natural sciences and the arts at Greenacres which gives our programs a unique feel not found anywhere else.

    Our Arts Education team values and upholds Greenacres’s mission “to encourage appreciation of music and culture by providing facilities and an atmosphere that will encourage artists to display their talents for all age groups”. Their diverse skill sets allow for customizable learning experiences in one or more of the following disciplines: theater, music, visual arts, and art gallery experiences. This program model encourages lifelong participation in and appreciation of the arts. In all of our programs, we value:

    • Experiential learning that places a strong focus on the creative process over the final product.
    • Opportunities to use artist quality materials and materials made from the natural world. 
    • Honoring the creativity and individuality of each learner.
    • The importance of both collaboration and self expression.
    • Using the assets around us to ground programming in the history of the arts.
    Students enjoy a beautiful Spring day at the Arts Center.

    We recognize schools’ interests to integrate state and national standards from a variety of subjects, including science, math, social studies, and language arts. Problem solving, experimentation, and critical thinking drive our arts-centric learning. Examples include:

    • Arts in the Natural World Program Series: This brand new series explores the intersections between art and the environment. Different subjects will be offered to different grade levels to ensure fresh content every visit. For example, one visit might take you on a hike to the creek to process natural clay into an artistic medium, while the next visit may include learning how to make paints made from plants or composing musical soundscapes by listening to the sounds of nature.
    • Patterns and Energy: Students use critical thinking skills, develop hypotheses, and experiment with patterns and energy through drumming, painting, drawing, and movement activities.
    • Cincinnati’s Stories: This program is grounded in the Queen City’s rich history and connection to the arts and culture. Whether it is examining the Arts Center’s collection of Rookwood pottery, listening to music created in Cincinnati, or diving into our city’s heritage, this program is not one to miss!

      What can Visiting Students Expect?

      We want your visit to the Arts Center to be fun, engaging, and enriching! Throughout your visit, you will uncover the various phases of the Arts Center’s history. The Arts Center was originally built as a Norman style residence in the 1920s and was restored and transformed into the Arts Center. By visiting the Arts Center, you contribute to this chapter of our history–told through the perspective of the visual, performing, and musical arts. During programming, you can expect:

      • Hands-on learning and active opportunities to experiment with new artistic concepts.
      • A chance to explore architecture, gardens, farmland, and woodlands.
      • To engage with artworks throughout the building, including contemporary works of art, art created by local artists, and historical works of art such as Rookwood pottery.

      We hope to see you and your students for arts programming soon! To book a field trip at the Arts Center or any of our field trip destinations, please visit: 

      Administrative Meeting Spaces Available

      Is your faculty looking for offsite meeting space? Greenacres can host your school’s administrative meetings at no cost to your organization. Whether you are planning a professional development seminar, conducting leadership training, or have planned a strategic planning meeting, Greenacres is happy to welcome you and your team to our property. Our facilities offer large meeting spaces equipped with the latest technology. Your attendees will feel inspired after being treated to stunning views and learning how Greenacres can help with their educational objectives. If you are interested in this for your faculty, please reach out to

      21 Jun 2022
      tall grass with wooden and wire fencing

      Why We Mow Less

      tall green grass with wire fence and trees in background

      Why We Mow Less

      Tall Grass is Good Stewardship

      Around Greenacres, you may notice some of our grasses are not mowed frequently, and can grow quite tall.  While freshly cut lawns can look nice, mowing isn’t beneficial for the environment. Gas-powered mowers put emissions into the atmosphere, contributing to air pollution. Mowers also cut down native wildflowers, reducing the nectar available to pollinators. Mowers are also heavy machines that compact the soil. By mowing less, we practice good stewardship by supporting our ecosystems and native plants.

      Rather than over-using fuel-powered mowers, we can also let our cattle, sheep, and horses graze and maintain our landscaping naturally. Greenacres livestock manager, Leevi Stump, informs us, “It is an extensive process managing all of the sections of property we graze. The livestock are our ‘mowers’ and their impact is great as their hooves return any decaying material to the Earth where insects and soil microbes can utilize it. Grass’ main purpose is to reproduce, and as it matures and seeds out, it loses its nutritional value. Grazing encourages regrowth and root development and lengthens the time the plant is in a vegetative state, allowing the grasses to capture as much solar energy as possible leading to improved soil and animal health.”.

      tall grass with wooden and wire fencing

      “It is an extensive process managing all of the sections of property we graze. The livestock are our ‘mowers’ and their impact is great as their hooves return any decaying material to the Earth where insects and soil microbes can utilize it. Grass’ main purpose is to reproduce, and as it matures and seeds out, it loses its nutritional value. Grazing encourages regrowth and root development and lengthens the time the plant is in a vegetative state, allowing the grasses to capture as much solar energy as possible leading to improved soil and animal health.”

      Leevi Stump, Livestock Manager

      Our local pollinator and bird populations benefit when we mow less, by preserving their food sources and habitats. These animals and insects are essential components of our ecosystems and in our garden production. Native birds and some native insects use organic materials like grasses to build their homes. So, the less we mow, the better it is for our pollinator and bird communities.

      Mowing can also have a harsh effect on the ground below. Heavy machinery continually compacts the soil, making it difficult for healthy root growth. When we allow the land to rest by mowing less often, roots are able to grow deeper into the soil. With longer and stronger roots, water can penetrate deeper into the root zone, making the plants less susceptible to heat stress and more drought resistant. 

      You can mow less, too!

      Even if you don’t have livestock on your property, you can mow less often and still see environmental benefits! Try setting aside a portion of what you typically mow, and let it grow tall, mowing about once a year. Take note of any new flora or fauna you observe throughout the seasons! You can even sow seeds of native plants to increase the biodiversity of your plot. You’ll spend less time mowing, while also lowering your carbon footprint.

      If you have any questions about our land management practices, please don’t hesitate to contact us.