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Of Owls and Orbs

If you didn’t have enough reason to visit Big Rock Park, the Directors have added a fun summer twist—hidden glass orbs. If you find one, it’s yours!

The orbs were the brainchild of Director George Clark, who’d heard of a park in Rhode Island which did this to get residents outside and engaged during the pandemic.

Central College Art Department was the generous donor of the globes. Professor Brian Roberts teaches a glassblowing course and his students enthusiastically made 23 glass globes for our project. You can read more here.

To make an orb, a piece of glass on the end of a metal rod was heated to 2000 degrees in a furnace.

The hot glass was removed from the fire and rolled in glass bits to add color.

Next it was shaped with a ring to make the sphere—the orb!

It was placed on a stand to cool and stamped with the owl.

Thank you to Professor Brian Roberts for supplying the photographs!

Why an owl you might ask? They are a tribute to the barred owls who live in the park. (photo by Sherril Graham)

The orbs are hidden just off the trails and in plain sight so you might imagine finding one will be a walk in the park. But with 83 acres and over three miles of trails, easier said than done.

Hint: They aren’t walnuts.

Watch out for the poison ivy!

A happy finder!

Can you see the owl?

More orbs will be hidden in the park the first week in August & September. Here are some hints for your August hiding from Friends Director George Clark:

“I plan to hide the orbs during the first week of August and will post the specific date on our Facebook page. To emphasize the importance of finding ‘natural treasure’ in Big Rock Park as well as the ‘Owl Orbs,’ I’m planning to place the August orbs in or at the base of the hackberry trees in the park. Targeting these trees will both help seekers narrow their search and prompt them to look up hackberry trees online to see what they look like and (hopefully) learn some more details about them. In addition, we will be attaching a note to each orb encouraging finders to take a selfie with the orb or simply a picture of the orb with the number and the year included in the post.”

The September orbs will be hidden near Shagbark hickory trees.

To see what orbs have already been found and to report your treasure if you are a lucky hunter, check out the Friends of Big Rock Park Facebook page here.

Below:: A found orb. Photo by Kay Van Wyk


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