Portage Park District Plans Morning and Moonlight Hikes

Our friends at the Portage Park District have announced some interesting, fun and informative activities. Check them out:

Early Morning Bird Hike
at Dix Park

Did you ever hear the saying early bird gets the worm? Saturday May 9 at 8:00 am Join our Park Naturalist for an informative, bird-filled morning walk! Dix Park consists of 103 acres of woods and wetlands with hiking trails-at this time of year the woods are filled with a variety of migrating songbirds. Located at 7318 State Route 44, RavennaTownship. Directions: From the intersection with SR 14 go North on SR 44 about 3/4 of a mile to park entrance on east side.

Full Moon
Bike Ride

on the PORTAGE Bike & Hike Trail

Sat May 9th. Meet at 8:15 pm in the Towner’s Woods parking lot for an easy 4 mile round-trip ride to experience the natural sights and sounds of a spring dusk–helmets and lights are recommended.
Towner’s Woods Park is located at 2296 Ravenna Road, Franklin Township. From SR 43, turn east onto Ravenna Rd., go 2 miles to the park entrance.

Mother’s Day at the Park
Spring Wildflower Hike

Sunday May 10th 9:00 a.m. Grab Mom and bring her to Dix Park to enjoy the beautiful woodland wildflowers before they’re gone. Dix Park consists of 103 acres of woods and wetlands with hiking trails at 7318 State Route 44, Ravenna Township Directions: From the intersection with SR 14 go North on SR 44 about 3/4 of a mile to park entrance on east side.

The Portage Park District was formed by the action of the Portage County Commissioners in 1991 as an independent government agency. It is overseen by an unpaid, five-member Board of Park Commissioners appointed by the County Probate Judge according to Ohio Revised Code 1545.

Contact Info:
Portage Park District
128 North Prospect Street
Ravenna, Ohio 44266


Mushroom times a comin'

Want to learn about mushrooms? Here is an opportunity to learn to tell the good from the bad, and the ugly:

A mushroom workshop will be conducted at the Malabar Farm Visitor’s Center April 25th, 2009 at 10AM. The workshop will help you identify the vast amount of mushrooms (poisonous and non-poisonous) growing throughout North Central Ohio. The workshop begins with an in class seminar and ends with an outside mushroom exploration hike. Some strenuous climbs involved.

Pre-registration is required by calling the park office at (419) 892-2784. This event is FREE.

The Malabar Farm Restaurant will be open Tuesdays through Thursdays 11:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m.; Fridays and Saturdays 11:00 a.m. to 9:00 p.m.; and Sundays 11:00 a.m. to 7:00 p.m. Stop by for lunch or dinner and don’t miss the homemade wild mushroom soup.

For dining reservations or more information call 419-938-5205.

Additionally, overnight accommodations are available at the Malabar Farm Hostelling International. Call 419-892-2055 for reservations.

Malabar Farm is located 12 miles southeast of Mansfield, just one mile west of SR 603 on Pleasant Valley Road. Louis Bromfield, a world-renowned novelist and conservationist, created the farm in the 1940s as a demonstration farm for progressive conservation practices. Malabar Farm State Park is the only working farm in the Ohio State Park system. Programs and special events are offered year-round. For more information about this or other programs, call the park office at 419-892-2784 or visit their Website at www.malabarfarm.org.


Appalachian Forest School in Southern Ohio

From a press release sent out by The Arc of Appalachia Preserve System:

Those of us living east of the Mississippi River all share something in common. We live within the primeval boundaries of what was once North America’s great temperate broadleaf forest. Only a few hundred years ago, this nearly unbroken forest cloaked the entire eastern third of the continent. Despite its size, for most citizens our native biome has become an “invisible forest,” fragmented from its original unified grandeur, and unrecognized as a living force in our daily lives.

The Arc of Appalachia Preserve System is encouraging Eastern citizens to awaken to their common forest heritage. Acknowledging our shared home in what was once among the world’s largest forests could help us connect more deeply with our native landscape, connect more strongly other forest stewards across multiple state lines, and anchor a more meaningful sense of place in the world.

To advance forest literacy among citizens, the non-profit Arc of Appalachia Preserve System of southern Ohio is sponsoring the new Appalachian Forest School, an institute offering 3-7 day long courses to be held at various locations within the historic range of the Eastern Forest. Each course includes an emphasis on global and national perspectives, and invites a cross-disciplinary understanding of the temperate forest biome in which the majority of U.S. citizens work and live. Instructors have been carefully selected from professors, field researchers, land managers, and naturalists — combining talents and specialties to present a broad and integrated view of the Eastern Forest. Even as disturbed as America’s Eastern forest is today, the second growth forest that remains in Eastern United States is the largest remnant temperate forest in the northern hemisphere, offering significant potential for ecological study and restoration.

The 2009 Course Schedule includes:

Forests of the Ozarks, “Life on the Edge,” May 26-June 1st.
Visit pine-oak woodlands and remnant old-growth forests on the interface of two major biomes — where the Eastern temperate forest meets the prairies of the Midwest. See the nation’s largest and cleanest spring-fed river systems, rich canebrake communities sheltering Swainson’s warblers, wild rarely-explored caves, collared lizards and other fascinating reptiles, and wet orchid-strewn glades in one of the largest forest wilderness areas left in Eastern United States.

Trees of the Temperate Forest, July 12-17th.
Learn how to recognize 45 species of primary temperate forest trees, learn forest succession principles, and apply skills in interpreting the health and history of any single woodlot. This course will prepare you to recognize approximately 90% of the standing trees in forests located throughout the forest heartland, from Maine to Tennessee.

Forest Waterways, Lifeblood of the Eastern Forest, August 16-21st.
An integrated view of the richest aquatic systems to be found anywhere in the temperate world — the streams and rivers of Eastern United States. Learn the global significance of our rivers’ fresh-water fish, mussels, salamanders, crayfish, and other aquatic wildlife; and their ecological inter-relationships.

Private Forest Landowners Course – Managing for Biodiversity, Sept 18-20th
Learn how to clarify the management goals you hold for your privately-owned forest. Unlike most courses which teach owners how to make financial profit from the timber assets of their forest, this course teaches interested owners how to sustainably manage a forest for the primary purpose of restoring high biodiversity of native plants and wildlife.

2010 and beyond:

Forests of the Far South – Exploring the Wilderness of Florida’s Panhandle

Forests of the Far North – Forests of the Boundary Waters of Minnesota

Forests of the Heartland – The Mother Forest of the Southern Appalachians

Spring Ephemerals – Wildflowers of the Eastern Forest

Interpreting our Eastern Forest Heritage – Training for Teacher Naturalists

For more information on the non-profit Appalachian Forest School, see www.highlandssanctuary.org/WE/AFS.htm
For recent copies of Nature Notes from the Eastern Forest, click here: www.highlandssanctuary.org/naturenotes.backlist.htm

Description of Sponsor:

The Arc of Appalachia Preserve System is an educational non-profit organization that operates 12 preserves and stewards a total of 3000 acres in rural southern Ohio for the purpose of forest biodiversity preservation. The Arc of Appalachia operates visitor education and hiking trails at the Appalachian Forest Museum, featuring dramatic educational murals that interpret the global significance of the temperate broadleaf forest. The Appalachian Forest Museum is located in its headquarters, the Highlands Nature Sanctuary, in Bainbridge, OH, 45612. The Arc of Appalachia also sponsors The Appalachian Forest School, offering adult courses that advance temperate forest education and conservation among Eastern citizens.


Southern Ohio Wildflower Pilgrimage

The following is from a recent email announcement from the Highlands Nature Sanctuary:

Spring will soon return.

Why not spend it in the woods, among the company of flowers?

In all the world, nothing compares to the verdant beauty of an Appalachian Forest in the spring. Join us as we celebrate the return of the flowers.

Southern Ohio Wildflower Pilgrimage
April 17, 18, 19, 2009
The Arc of Appalachia Preserve System

Three days of over thirty field trips to southern Ohio’s spectacular wildflower showcases. Led by some of our area’s best botanists and naturalists. Each field trip is limited to 15 participants. The Arc of Appalachia region has some of the most beautiful wildflower displays in the U.S. Eastern Temperate Forest. You are encouraged to register as quickly as possible. Area lodging and complete meals available.

This year’s keynote speaker is Kentucky’s superlative Photographer, Tom Barnes, author of Kentucky’s Last Great Places, Wildflowers and Ferns of Kentucky, and the just-released Rare Wildflowers of Kentucky.

Sponsored by the Arc of Appalachia Preserve System with the cooperation and assistance of The Nature Conservancy Ohio Chapter, Cincinnati Museum Center, Cincinnati Nature Center, Cincinnati Zoo & Botanical Garden, Ohio Division of Natural Areas and Preserves, Ross County Park District, Shawnee State Park & State Forest, Southern State Community College, and the Ohio Historical Society.

TO REGISTER: click here

For general information see Arc of Appalachia’s web site.


Avon Lake Power Plant Field Trip

Northeast Ohio Nature: Avon Lake Power Plant Field Trip

The blackbrook Audubon Society had a field trip to Lake Erie last week where they saw Glaucous gull, Greater Backed gulls, Redhead ducks, Common Mergansers, Common Goldeneye and Bufflehead ducks. Check out their blog posting and photos of the trip.

Blackbrook Audubon Society promotes conservation and restoration of ecosystems with emphasis on birds and habitat through education and advocacy within Ohio’s Lake, Geauga, Ashtabula counties and adjacent communities. Lord knows we could use more of that!

If you ever have a chance to attend an event like this, even if you don’t know birds well, it is a real treat. Their next event is SUNDAY, MARCH 15th, 2009, when Blackbrook Audubon will visit Sheldon’s Marsh in Huron Ohio. You can learn more by going to their web page.


February Events at Malabar Farm State Park

Malabar Farm State Park in North Central Ohio has the cure for cabin fever!

Cross Country Skiing/Rentals

Thursday through Sunday
11:00 AM – 5:00 PM
$5.00 per rental hour

The ski trails are open and are currently graded as “Excellent – Snow depth 3″+ over 90% coverage over all trails”. The grad will remain intact if temperatures stay below freezing and will improve pending more snow fall. Please visit www.malabarfarm.org for current conditions.

Malabar Farm “Big House Tours”
Saturday & Sunday
12PM, 1PM, 2PM, 3PM, 4PM
$4.00 Adult
$3.60 Seniors
Under 18 $2.00

Malabar Farm Restaurant
Saturday: 11am – 9pm
Sunday: 11am – 7pm

Owl Walks (FREE)
February 7th & 14th
Saturday & Sunday
7:30 PM

A few more activities to round out your day…

  • Stop by the new Malabar Farm Songbird Aviary.
  • Take the kids to the Malabar Main Barn and discover our farm/petting animals.
  • Explore the rock shelters and caves in all of its winter beauty.
  • Eat our farm fresh products at the Historic Malabar Farm Restaurant (1820).
  • Rent a sled and find the nearest hill for a little adventure.
  • Ice Skate on the frozen ponds (weather and conditions pending).
  • Explore over 10 miles of picturesque hiking trails (For a sample, go to neoNaturalist.com’s review of the Butternut Loop Trail.)
  • Purchase old fashioned Lehman’s products, Malabar Farm grass-fed meat, and fresh fudge in the Louis Bromfield Gift Store.

And…a sneak peak of March:

Malabar Farms FREE Maple Festival will be held March 7, 8 14, 15.

Get out and enjoy Ohio Parks!