Big Plans for the Picnic this Summer

I just came back from the initial planning meeting for the annual picnic this July 21st.  We have many MOA members who are enthusiastic about making this the best picnic yet.

We already have a confirmed speaker and also 2 probable speakers.  There will be games, a charity event with prizes and of course great food.  We plan to advertise the event and make this the place to be in July if you are an atheist in Ohio.

More details to follow so keep checking back.

Darwin Day Celebration Evolves into a Great Event

The Darwin Day Celebration went very well.  Our speaker, author Mary Anne Farah, was able to be at the meetup despite a very bad snow storm in Ontario Canada.  She left early Friday to go to a meetup in Toledo and was stopped by the storm only a half hour from her home.  She couldn’t even get back to her home at that point and had to get a hotel room for the night.  Luckily she was able to continue to Toledo on Saturday where she was a speaker at the Great Lakes Atheists Darwin Day event.  Mary Anne then came to Mansfield today and was early for our event.

H.M.S. BeagleOur event started with me giving a brief opening.  Then Drenn Workman, Mid Ohio Atheists Vice President, gave a presentation on the life of Darwin and his voyage of discovery to South America aboard the H.M.S. Beagle, a survey vessel.  The presentation also covered the Theory of Evolution that Darwin wrote about in his seminal work, On the Origin of Species.




HMS Beagle

imageThe next speaker was Mary Anne who presented her e-book, Pepper’s Special Wings.  Mary Anne said she thought the evolution of the peppered moth species in England would be the perfect subject for a children’s book explaining how evolution through natural selection works.

Pepper’s Special Wings is about a peppered moth aptly named Pepper that was darker than her friends, who were mostly white with small flecks of black.  There were a lot more light colored moths than dark ones.  Mary Anne asked for volunteers from the audience to help count the moths on the white birch tree.  Two children came up and it was easy for them to find the dark colored moth but not so easy to find the white moths.

In the story, Pepper had to be very careful to hide from hungry birds because she was so easily seen whereas her white friends didn’t have to be so careful since they were harder to see on the white birch bark.

The story goes on to describe how industry moved close by where the moths lived and soot from the air pollution the factories produced had turned the trees to a much darker color.  Now it was easy for Pepper to hide from the hungry birds but not so easy for her friends.  Pepper went on to have lots of babies so that eventually the forest was full of dark moths like Pepper.

I thought it was a great learning experience for the kids and they seemed to really enjoy the story.

I am sure we will have more events like this in the future since this was so enjoyable.  Mary Anne was a great speaker and I would recommend her to anyone.  I want to thank her for coming all the way from Canada to Mansfield.  I also wish to thank Drenn Workman for presenting and Barbara Williams for letting us borrow her projector.  Special thanks goes to Marisa Hills for planning and coordinating the event.

Picnic Sneaking Up on Us and an Exciting Announcement

The Regional Atheist Picnic 2012 sponsored by Mid Ohio Atheists is coming up this Sunday, July 15th at 11 AM..  That is only part of the good news.  The other part is that JT Eberhard, a well known atheist organizer, blogger, speaker, and debater, will be speaking at the picnic about building communities and networking for nonbelievers.  He has promised to stick around for the rest of the picnic too.

One other new thing we are going to try this year is to invite the public to come and meet some atheists.  In the press release I sent out last week I also made it clear that this is an invitation to meet us, not debate or argue.  I’m sure our invited guests will be on their best behavior, but if not, any situation that gets out of control will be quickly handled.

This goes to our mission of being an educational organization.  We hope to educate the public that atheists are people too, that we don’t have horns.  That when we bring our kids to a picnic, they are not there to be part of the menu.  😉

Here is the press release about the picnic-

Public invited to Regional Atheist Picnic

Atheists hold Contest to benefit Homeless Shelter

Mansfield, OH, July 2, 2012:  Mid Ohio Atheists (MOA) has announced they are sponsoring a Regional Atheist Picnic which will be held on July 15th at the Mohican State Park near Loudonville.  MOA president Ron Stephens said the event will be held at the picnic area by the covered bridge at 11:00 AM.   Members of the public are welcome and encouraged to come out and meet area atheists.

MOA asks the public to remember that while the public is encouraged to attend and meet their members, this is not the setting for arguments or debates.  The picnic is intended as a family event for atheists, freethinkers, and nonbelievers, and a chance for local religious leaders and believers to come out and see that nonbelievers are not much different than believers.

The picnic will include a contest to benefit Harmony House, a homeless shelter in Mansfield.  The contest will be judged on who brings the most toilet paper, trash bags, and paper towels for donation to Harmony House.  These items are the ones most people don’t think to donate but are some of the things that are greatly needed.  Prizes will be awarded for first and second place.

Secular Student Alliance campus organizer JT Eberhard, who is well known in the atheist and freethinker community as a blogger, speaker, and debater, will be speaking to attendees about community building and networking for nonbelievers. There will also be several activities for children and adults, including corn hole, volleyball and ladder ball.

Members of many surrounding groups such as the Cleveland Freethinkers, Cleveland Skeptics, Great Lakes Atheists, Recovering from Religion Toledo Chapter, and Humanist Community of Central Ohio will be in attendance at the picnic.

Mid Ohio Atheists is actively building an atheist community in the Mansfield area by having social activities for members.  Pub nights and movie nights are regularly scheduled events, a Mohican River canoe adventure is being planned for August, and a trip to the Creation Museum will be in September.

The group can be reached at or their website at

The original blog entry where you can get more information on what to bring is HERE.

Don’t forget the contest, the proceeds of which go to help local homeless families who certainly need a helping hand.

I also want to emphasize that this year we have a nearby shelter reserved in case of rain.  So, come rain or shine, the picnic will go on.

Reason Rally/AA Convention Photos and Videos

Just a quick reminder that you’ll be able to see all the photos and video we post, along with the possibility of a live stream from the rally at our UStream..

Here are some links so you can follow us at the web.

UStream – (watch for live video during the rally)

Facebook Video – (videos posted during the weekend)

Facebook Album – (Reason Rally and Convention Photos)

We will also be recording an impromptu Video Pod Cast tonight!  So watch for that late tonight.




Reason Rally and the MOA

The Reason Rally is only a few days away!  All the Mid Ohio Atheists members who will be attending are hoping to meet as many people as possible!  This is what you can expect from us if you’re down there and want to meetup with the members of MOA-

The first of our members will be leaving Ohio late Wednesday night, some by car, and some by train, and hopefully arriving by early afternoon at the Bethesda Marriott North, the location of the 2012 American Atheist National Convention, which will follow the Reason Rally.  While subject to change, our plans are to get settled on Thursday, hopefully touch base with some others who have arrived early and prepare for the next day.  On the Friday before the Rally, we plan on seeing what the city has to offer and doing much of the tourist activities available down town. Our plans are to scope out the Mall and visit as much of the Smithsonian as possible, being our top priorities.   That evening we hope to touch base with two close friends of the Mid Ohio Atheists, Jamila Bey and Ronnelle Adams, who both are locals to the DC area!  If you’re in town and want to meetup that night, send us a text or give us a call at 419-862-5044.  We’ll let you know at what local watering hole you can find us!

Saturday morning will begin with the traditional sacrifice of a young vir—- oops sorry wrong list– um, it will begin with my happy dance!  I’ll be the one with the extra skip in my step and a smile so big you’ll want to slap it off my face as our group gets ready to attend the Rally!

Our plans are to be there early, to meet as many people as possible that morning.  We will be asking people if they are willing to record their story concerning what brought them to the Rally and why they think it’s important they are there. We won’t just be speaking to Rally attendees but also to the Counter Protesters so that we can find out what it is they are hoping to accomplish with their counter protests. If you want to meetup with the Mid Ohio Atheists, if we’ve meet you at other events and you want to hang out again, or if you just want to tell us we suck, give us a call or send us a text and come find us! Remember the number we can be reached on at the Rally or anytime is 419-862-5044!

During the Rally our plan is to attempt to do some Live Blogging.  However, as people have pointed out, this might become difficult if the numbers of attendees expected are reached and could overwhelm the local cell towers.  My promise to you is that as long as the networks are functional and allow us to broadcast, we will be streaming as much of it as possible on our Ustream Channel.  If the network is unable to sustain the amount of people attending the Rally, we will record as much of the event and interaction with attendees as possible and it will go up on the web as soon as it can be uploaded. You can spot us by looking for shirts our members will be wearing.


The evening after the Reason Rally is still up in the air for our group, but you may see us at the Atheist Nexus after party which will be held at the convention hotel in conjunction with American Atheists.

On the first day of the convention you will find most of our members front and center, eager to hear from the convention speakers.  On Sunday night of the convention we will be attending the costume dinner and comedy night at the convention hotel.

Early on Monday, the last day of the convention, we will again be front and center for the speakers and, much to our dismay, several of our members will be sneaking out around lunch to catch the train back to Ohio.

I encourage all of our friends to introduce yourself if you happen to see our members during the rally or convention.  The biggest thrill for our members is to have a chance to meet and network with Freethinkers, Atheists, and Skeptics from all over.  We would love to meet you and hear your story!   So, don’t hesitate for a second to come up and introduce yourself to our members!

See you there!


Ohio Michigan Atheist Winter Potluck

Mid Ohio Atheists member Barbara Williams has a message for everyone in our group-
p style=”padding-left: 30px;”strongem”I’d like to invite all of my friends to our Ohio Michigan Atheist potluck. It will be at the Sylvania Heritage Center Museum. var/varThe museum is a gorgeous old house that will be decorated for the holidays. I’m asking anyone who attends to bring a dish to share.   Thanks, Barbara/em/strong”/p
The museum is located at 5717 Main Street, Sylvania, OH 43560

Season of Reason Party and helping the needy

For our December monthly meetup, we will meet at noon on the 18th for a celebration of the season, family, and friendship at my home in Plymouth for a pot-luck lunch.

Please bring a covered dish and whatever you wish to drink.   Turkey and ham will be provided.

We are also collecting food and blankets to give to secular organizations that help the needy. Please be generous in your donation.

If you need directions, send a request to-

Edit- the location was changed to Plymouth.

Atheist breakfast coming this Sunday

Just a reminder that we will be getting together this Sunday, August 21st, at the Golden Corral in Ontario at 10:00 AM.

This will be a social activity where we will get together to to enjoy good conversation and have a good meal.  This time of the day the restaurant serves breakfast type foods and they have a very wide selection of items.  The cost is around $9.00 per person and that includes your drink.

I hope to see everyone there.

Ron Stephens

Annual Picnic Signup List

Our annual picnic is coming up soon. The picnic will be at the Mohican State Park, in the picnic area next to the covered bridge on Sunday July 17th at Noon.


In order to track what people are bringing to the picnic, please send an email to with what you plan to bring.

I think we will have about 50 people show up.  Keep checking back here as I will update the number of people as more people respond.  I will keep the list of items updated as I receive emails also.

Thanks, Ron.

Things people have already volunteered to bring:

  • Diet pop and water
  • Pop & other drinks
  • Potato salad
  • Veggie Platter
  • Fruit Platter
  • Macaroni salad
  • Brats
  • Hamburgers & buns
  • Hotdogs & buns
  • Deviled Eggs
  • Iced tea
  • Venison burgers, farm raised
  • Condiments (Ketchup, Mustard, Relish, Barbecue Sauce, Mayo, Pickles, etc…..)
  • Plates
  • Plastic ware
  • Napkins
  • Cookies
  • Chips / dip
  • Charcoal & Lighter Fluid

Things still needed:

  • Watermelon
  • Desserts
  • Anything else you want to share.