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


Its Spring, but there's snow on the ground

Well, it had to happen. I was walking a beautiful property along a tributary to Tinkers Creek in northeast Ohio last week, and one of the land owners commented on what a beautiful day it was. Then his brother-in-law noted that it would snow one more time.

“When was the last Easter you remember without snow?”, he said.

I grinned for lack of any memory of Easter weather. I did, however, silently hope he was wrong. Well. He was right. I woke up this morning to a blanket of snow. We had planned to be camping this week, but my astute wife checked the weather and we realized this was not the week to take two little kids, and a rambunctious dog out in a tent. I was disappointed, but of course she was right. Allegheny National Forest can wait.

Instead, I had to comfort myself with some low quality photos of last weekend’s outdoor wanderings at Punderson State Park and Geauga Park District’s West Woods. I am including a couple of early bloomers in this post just to make it feel more like spring today. The first is a photo of a cluster of skunk cabbage Symplocarpus foetidus flowers taken in a wetland at West Woods. I have seen skunk cabbage blooming around northeast Ohio wetland and seep areas since the last week of February this year.

The yellow flower is coltsfoot (Tussilago farfara). A naturalized wildflower, coltsfoot grows along trailsides, roads, and in disturbed areas. It is one of the earliest spring flowers. Although non-native, it does not appear to cause ecological harm, at least as far as I can tell.

This next photo isn’t a flower, but it is as beautiful as one. This is the nature center at West Woods. Geauga Park District did a great job on this wonderful building. If you are looking for a great place to learn about nature, or just love cool buildings, visit West Woods nature center.


Bird Gardens – Wildlife Gardening for Birds – thedailygreen.com

Check out this post at the Daily Green: Bird Gardens – Wildlife Gardening for Birds and Other Ways to Help Birds. Not only does it include some great photos, but there are 25 bird conservation tips from the National Audubon Society.

The skunk cabbages have been up for over a week, so Spring is just around the corner! Soon spring migrations will be heating up, so this is a perfect time to brush up on some beginning bird watching tips as well.


Spring is on its way…

A couple of days ago, I was standing in my bedroom, looking out toward the woods. Suddenly, I saw a strange bluish, head looking out from the shrubs. This alien looking creature then stepped forward, revealing itself to be a wild turkey. It was a tom with a beard about 10 inches long. I got excited. Then another followed, and another, and another. My excitement grew. Six large toms eventually sauntered out of the woods and into the field.

Stepping out to the patio and opening a window, I made a couple of lame attempts to call to them in turkey language. Alas, I am not fluent. They stopped moving, but didn’t even look at me. On the third try, they did look at me, but never called back.

In any event, the subject of this post is Spring. I was told by a friend, who was forced to listen to this whole episode, since I was on the phone with him when the turkeys appeared, that the large mixed-gender winter flocks start to break down into single-sex groups when spring is near.

So, groundhogs are out. Turkeys are in. Spring, here we come!


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.