Friday, April 29, 2011

Weather forecast for this weekend: GET OUTSIDE!

Finally...the weather is supposed to break and the skies will be filled with radiant sunshine!

This calls for a celebration!  Get outside and enjoy our parks and discover the beauty of the trees that are beginning to show their early spring green.  As the sayings goes, April showers bring may flowers.  Same for the budding and unveiling of the leaves from the trees that have been brown and dormant since late fall.

Looking for something to do in our parks?  We've got a list for you! 

What are you waiting for?  Get ready for some outdoors fun and enjoy the weather!

For more information about our parks, visit

Thursday, April 28, 2011

Free Crabapple Trees

To foster more green in Lake County, Lake Metroparks is developing more roots in Lake County, literally.

Thanks to a generous donation by Doug Secor of Secor’s Nursery, several of the Lake Metroparks will have new plantings, just in time for Arbor Day. Arbor Day is a nationally-celebrated observance that encourages tree planting and care. Founded by J. Sterling Morton in 1872, it's celebrated on the last Friday in April.

Lake Metroparks is making available to the public, bare root crabapple trees at Penitentiary Glen Reservation Sunday, May 1. 

There will be several varieties of crabapple trees available. The trees, also donated by Doug Secor of Secor’s Nursery are large in size at two inches in diameter and at least eight feet tall. There is no charge for the trees.

Pick up is scheduled from 9:00 to 4:30 p.m. While supplies last.  There is a limit of two to three trees per family.  For home use only; trees are not for commercial or resale use.  Please bring a truck or means of taking the trees with you. For more information, call 440-256-1404.

While visiting Penitentiary Glen, enjoy a special art show, “Lake Metroparks through Paint & Canvas," with works by James Polewchak in the Nature Center. See your park system come to life through the medium of oil painting in this special one-man show. Visit native Ohio Wildlife at the Kevin P. Clinton Wildlife Center. Also, take a train ride provided by the Lake Shore Live Steamers.  (1-3 pm, weather permitting). 

Penitentiary Glen Reservation is located at 8668 Kirtland-Chardon Road in Kirtland. To get there, take I-90 to Rt. 306 south for about one mile. Turn left onto Rt. 615. Turn right onto Kirtland-Chardon Road and continue for two miles. Penitentiary Glen Reservation is located on the right side of the road.

According to, there are few plants that create greater intrigue or visual impact during all four seasons than the flowering crabapple. In the spring all eyes are enticed with delicate colors offered by emerging leaves and buds. Unopened flower buds may hint of one color and as flowers open, other hues are revealed in a spectacular floral display. As flowers fade the rich foliage offers another subtle contribution to the landscape.

Crabapples have diverse growth habits or tree shapes. The shapes consist of weeping (pendulous), rounded, spreading (horizontal), upright (columnar), vase-shaped, and pyramidal.  Flowering crabapples vary greatly in size. At maturity, certain cultivars will only attain a height of eight feet, while others will tower to heights greater than 40 feet. However, most flowering crabapples reach mature heights of 15 to 25 feet.

Due to their versatility, crabapples make excellent choices for use around homes, schools, parks, public and commercial buildings, and in highway plantings.  Tree health and vigor depends upon proper site selection and preparation. Before planting, have the soil tested to assure proper pH and nutrient levels. If necessary, make any adjustments to the soil before planting.

Every effort should be made to keep roots or the root ball from drying out before planting. For bare root trees, the planting hole should be dug wide and deep enough to allow for the natural extension of the root system. None of the roots should be cramped or bent to fit into the hole. This can result in girdling (strangling) roots that will slowly kill the tree. Damaged roots should be pruned just above the break or damaged area prior to planting.

For more information about site requirements, planting and establishment of crabapple trees, visit

    Monday, April 25, 2011

    Lake County's Rivers and Streams

    By: Tom Adair, Natural Resource Manager

    Nearly four hundred and thirty seven miles of river and stream pulse through Lake County. These rivers, streams and tributaries vary widely in character and beauty. The natural, historical and recreational values afforded us by these wonders are evident in many ways as we travel the waterways of Lake’s rivers and streams.

    The rivers, streams and creeks that flow through this county all contribute to the unique and valuable nature of the region's waterways. Lake Metroparks strives to showcase these amazing systems in many of the Parks found throughout Lake County.

    For more information about the rivers, streams, and what Lake Metroparks is doing to help preserve access to these natural wonders, visit

    Wednesday, April 20, 2011

    Relieving the stress of human impact on wildlife populations

    Brown pelican mired in heavy oil - Yahoo | AP
    On this one year anniversary of the oil spill disaster in the Gulf of Mexico, we are reminded about the significant human impact had and continues to have on the ecosystem and wildlife.  The wildlife specialists in that region did an amazing job helping to clean and preserve the lives of many of the affected species.

    At Lake Metroparks, it is our mission of to relieve the stress of human impact on wildlife populations through human education and wildlife rehabilitation.  

    Each year, nearly 2,000 injured or orphaned animals receive first aid and rehabilitation at the Kevin P. Clinton Wildlife Center. Patients include backyard wildlife, such as rabbits and songbirds, and endangered species such as the peregrine falcon and bald eagle. Many eventually resume their life in the wild.

     Click here to watch our staff caring for baby native Ohio wildlife, including squirrels and ducklings.

    For more information about the Wildlife Center and the services it provides or for questions about the baby wildlife you may be seeing in your neighborhood, visit our website or call the Wildlife Hotline at 440-256-2131

    Tuesday, April 19, 2011

    The Environmental Impact of Discarded Cigarette Butts

    New research released today further demonstrates the negative impact that cigarette filters and discarded cigarette butts have on the environment. Cigarette butts contain heavy metals that can leach into waterways, posing a threat to aquatic life.

    The new data is part of a special supplement – funded by the national public health foundation Legacy® – in the journal Tobacco Control. In observance of Earth Day, Legacy urges smokers to quit smoking, and if they can't, to properly dispose of cigarette butts and filters.

    Tobacco is the No. 1 cause of preventable death in the United States, and cigarette filters/butts are the No. 1 littered item found on beaches and in urban environments.

    According to environmental cleanup reports, nearly 2 million cigarettes or cigarette filters/butts were picked up internationally from beaches and inland waterways as part of the annual International Coastal Cleanup in 2010.

    This number includes more than one million from the United States alone, underscoring the fact that cigarette butts play a major role in polluting the already taxed environment.

    According to the new research, cigarette butts have potentially toxic effects on ecosystems, for example, in one laboratory test, one cigarette butt soaked in a liter of water was lethal to half of the fish exposed. Some other new research findings include:

    • Poison centers report hundreds of cases of cigarette butt consumption among children under 6 years old, with some cases of moderate toxicity due to nicotine poisoning.

    • Tobacco products are the single largest type of litter collected along US roadways and on beaches.

    • Tobacco industry research reveals that there might be misconceptions that cigarette filters are readily biodegradable or inconsequential as litter. However, in reality, even under ideal conditions, cigarette butts can take years to degrade, merely breaking up into small particles of plastic, toxic waste.

    • Cigarette litter clean-up costs can be substantial to local authorities.

    Source: Outdoors with Frischkorn - The News-Herald

    As part of our Earth Week celebration, Lake Metroparks is conducting cleanups at Lakefront Lodge, Fairport Harbor Lakefront Park, Painesville Township Park, Lake Erie Bluffs, Lakeshore Reservation, Arcola Creek Park, Chagrin River Park and Hidden Valley Park.  

    If you would like to volunteer, please contact the volunteer office at 440-585-3418.


    Monday, April 18, 2011

    How did the Spicebush get its name?

    Spicebush leaves - ODNR
    Spicebush – Known to the botanical world as Lindera Benzoin (a member of the Laurel family) it is one of the first shrubs to flower in our woodlands and gets it name from the spicy fragrance it emits when rubbed.

    Did you know?
    Spicebush is usually found as an understory shrub of moist to wet woodlands.  It has leaves that are alternate, elliptical to slightly obovate, dark green, shiny, and with impressed veins on the current season's growth.

    Spicebush fruit - ODNR
    Bright red fruits appear in late summer and early autumn on female shrubs, and are often quickly eaten by wildlife. Its dark green, glossy foliage, like that of Pawpaw, is unusual for woody plants that can thrive in full shade.
    Source: ODNR Division of Forestry

    Thursday, April 14, 2011

    Trout Stocking = Angler Fun!

    The annual trout stocking on Paine Creek provides weeks of recreational angling opportunities on Paine Creek. Lake Metroparks has been stocking rainbow trout in Paine Creek for nearly 20 years and Natural Resource Manager Tom Adair has coordinated the project since 1999. 

    Click here for fishing locations within Lake Metroparks.

    The annual process begins by submitting a request to the Chief of the Ohio Division of Wildlife for permission to stock trout into the stream. Quotes are then secured from certified hatcheries to determine who will supply that year's fish. "To be certified, a hatchery must prove that their fish are disease free. Diseases like whirling disease and VHS (Viral Hemorrhagic Septicemia) are dangerous fish diseases that we cannot risk introducing into wild populations,” Adair said.

    Lake Metroparks’ stocking project begins with dividing the fish into water tanks (with oxygen aeration) mounted in all-terrain vehicles that travel a stretch of Paine Creek extending from the parking lot at Indian Point Park's lower entrance to beyond the I-90 bridge. Lake Metroparks staff from several different departments net and place fish into pockets of appropriate habitat in the stream. Staff identifies fast flowing riffles and deep, cold pockets along the stream distance into which the fish are placed.

    "Since the fish are hatchery raised and all need time to acclimate to new surroundings, we generally see the newly stocked fish becoming more active and relatively hungry by the second day after stocking. Anglers waste no time in attempting to catch their limits and success catching these stocked fish can last for weeks after the stocking date, dependent upon conditions.” Over the years, occasional spring flood events have forced many of the stocked trout out to the Grand River prematurely.

    The stocking date is set for mid-April to coincide with favorable stream conditions and the steelhead fishing this region is known for.   This year, the Paine Creek will be stocked on Friday, April 15.

    Wednesday, April 13, 2011

    Rain barrels: Save that rain for a sunny day!

    Rain barrels are a smart way to save money on your utility bills and protect water quality in streams and Lake Erie. They are a simple rainwater collection system that saves precipitation for non-consumption uses. If you have a downspout, put it to work for you.

    While one rain barrel isn’t going to save the world, collectively, rain barrels reduce the amount of water that has to be treated by our drinking water plants. Water collected in rain barrels reduces the chemical impact of using treated drinking water on soils and the amount of runoff entering the stormwater system from our rooftops.

    Did you know?
    Just .25 inch of rain on 400 square feet of roof will fill a 55-gallon rain barrel. If you collect rainwater and later use it to water your plants, wash the windows, or wash the car on the lawn, you return the rainwater runoff to the soil and keep it out of the storm drain or swales.
    Source: Lake County Soil and Water Conservation District

    Click here to read more about rain barrels and get some answers to some commonly asked questions.

    Build a Rain Barrel Workshops
    All ages, Fee: $49 per kit
    At this workshop we provide everything needed to build a hassle and mosquito free rain barrel ready to hook up to a downspout.  Barrels are containers used to collect and store rainwater that otherwise is lost to runoff or storm drains. Collected water can then be used for to water plants, lawns and gardens and to wash cars.  

    All workshops are held in the Natural Resources Building at the Lake County Fairgrounds. Click on a link below or call 440-358-7275 to register or for more information.
    Instructor: Lake Soil and Water Staff, min 4, max 20
    Wednesday, April 20, 2011, 7 to 8:30 p.m.
    Wednesday, May 18, 2011, 7 to 8:30 p.m

    Tuesday, April 12, 2011

    Purple Martins

    Purple Martin House
    Purple Martin House -

    Who are those birds that live in “condo” type houses?  Those are the largest of the swallow family, the purple martin, whose journey home can be as long as 5,000 miles!  Look for their houses at Arcola Creek Park, Lakefront Lodge, Veterans Park,  and Erie Shores Golf Course.

    Did you know? 
    Purple Martins are colony nesters. Twenty or more families will raise young together in a very compact area. Special Purple Martin houses that look like small hotels are available. In eastern North America, Purple Martins now nest exclusively in housing provided by humans.

    The (Native Americans) attracted Purple Martins using hollow gourds hung near each other. (They) liked the Purple Martins because they functioned as "scarecrows". They drove away Crows from cornfields and Vultures from meat and hides hung out to dry.

    Monday, April 11, 2011

    Trustees of the Earth

    Since its creation in 1970, the original concept behind Earth Day remains the same: we are all responsible for caring for and improving our natural environment.  In the words of Earth Day founder John McConnell, . . . we, individually and with the help of others, seek in our jobs, buying habits, travel, land use and other actions-at home, work and play-to respect and protect Earth’s amazing web of life . . .to act as trustees of our portion of our planet.  To this end, all of us can become Earth Trustees and take a role, no matter how small, in the nurture and renewal of our earth. 

    Celebrate with Lake Metroparks this responsibility during our Earth Week activities featuring coastal shoreline cleanups, family activities, Eco-fairs, environmental programs, and concluding with a popular canoe and kayak race down one of Lake County’s most precious natural resources, the Grand River.   

    Click here for event details and driving directions.

    Friday, April 8, 2011

    Jeepers's the Spring Peepers!

    Spring peeper - Division of Natural Resources
    Spring peepers – What’s that you hear?  It’s the Spring peepers (small frogs) singing loud and clear.  Their chorus is a sure sign that spring is here.

    Northern Spring peepers (Pseudacris crucifer crucifer) are primarily a woodland or forest edge species after the breeding season and are found throughout Ohio.  The Peepers have large discs on their fingers and toes and are much more agile climbers than either cricket or chorus frogs; however they seldom venture more than one meter up in the vegetation. 
    Research & Collections in Vertebrate Zoology
    | Cleveland Museum of Natural History
    Click on the image to listen to information about Spring Peepers from the Ohio Outdoor Notebook

    Click here for a selection of websites about the Spring peeper assembled by the Science Reference Section, Science, Technology, and Business Division of the Library of CongressAll of the sites include images of spring peepers, and many have recordings of their song.

    Thursday, April 7, 2011

    Become involved in our Coastal Shoreline Cleanups

    Arcola Creek Estuary - Photo by Ella Spiri

    Coastal Shoreline Cleanups
    Lake Metroparks will be conducting cleanups the week of April 18 at Lakefront Lodge, Fairport Harbor Lakefront Park, Painesville Township Park, Lake Erie Bluffs, Lakeshore Reservation, Arcola Creek Park, Chagrin River Park and Hidden Valley Park.  Groups, organizations and individuals are encouraged to volunteer for a day, a morning, afternoon, or however much time you can participate.   All ages welcome (younger than 18 with adult).  

    If you would like to volunteer or would like more information about the cleanups click here.

    Tuesday, April 5, 2011

    Farmpark Farmers' Market offers Community Supported Agriculture Shares

    Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) allows a consumer to buy fresh, local food directly from a farmer. The food is sold in shares before the growing season arrives and picked up at a designated location weekly. This arrangement allows the consumer to have a personal relationship with the person who raises their food. Choice of a CSA is usually guided by the amount of food needed and the growing practices of the individual farmer. For example, choices could be certified organic, naturally grown and conventional. The consumer needs to keep in mind that selection of the produce is related to the weather and growing conditions of the season.

    Three farmers are offering CSA shares to be picked up at the Lake Metroparks Farmpark Farmers’ Market during the 2011 season. The market is located at 8800 Euclid Chardon Road on Wednesdays between 3:00 and 6:00 p.m.

    Click here for more information.