Friday, January 16, 2015

What animal walked through here?

Tracking Winter Wildlife
By Andy Avram, Interpretive Manager

A fresh coating of snow lies over the land, disturbed only by a single line of footprints. These tracks offer us a glimpse into this animal’s life—a few pages of its story on this winter day. What animal walked through here? What was it doing and where did it go?

By examining the size, shape and pattern we can tell it was a small mammal, likely a meadow vole. Following the tracks we see it burrowed into the snow as the tracks end in a small tunnel, about the diameter of a quarter, but resurface a couple feet away to carry on the journey. The tracks stop by some nibbled vegetation where the vole had a bite to eat, but suddenly the footprints become widely spaced as if the vole was startled into running away. It ran a short distance before the prints simply vanish. Looking next to the area where the footprints disappeared, we see what looks like brush strokes in the snow and realize our little friend was captured and carried off by a hawk or owl. Our footprint story ends here, but the bird of prey’s story continues on.

It is stories like these that make hiking in the winter so much fun, but we know that it sometimes takes a little extra motivation to leave a nice cozy home to brave the outdoors. Animal tracks, birds, trees and even interesting insects that crawl on top of the snow can be found all winter long and Lake Metroparks offers a number of opportunities to get out with a naturalist to discover these. 

For general nature try a Winter Nature Walk. If you would like a more in-depth program to learn about and look for animal tracks, join us for Wildlife Tracking.

Wildlife Tracking
January 24 at Veterans Park
February 28 at Pete’s Pond Preserve

Winter Nature Walk
February 21 at Penitentiary Glen Reservation

These programs are free. To register (required), click on the link provided. Registration may also be made by phone at 440-639-7275 or in person at the Registration  Department at Concord Woods between 8 and 4:30 pm.

Monday, January 12, 2015

Come outside and have fun: Winter programs at Lake Metroparks Saturday, January 17

It's winter time and we have a variety of programs happening this Saturday in our parks for people of all ages and abilities. Pre-registration required.

Saturday, January 17

Bird Walk 
Penitentiary Glen Reservation
8:30 to 10 am • FREE

Lake Metroparks has a long tradition of guided bird walks. The park’s variety of habitats offers the chance to see and hear many species of birds. Bring binoculars and field guide if you have them. We also have some that you can borrow during the walk - just contact the instructor prior to the walk. Beginners welcome.

Skate Ski Lessons 101 (beginner level)
Chapin Forest Reservation
9 to 10:30 am
$20 with ski rental
$10 without ski rental

Learn the basics of skate skiing with plenty of on-the-snow practice. Learn about equipment, body positions, poling, and V1 and V2 techniques. A limited amount of equipment is available.

Classic Cross-country Ski Lessons 101 
Chapin Forest Reservation
9 to 10:30 am
$15 with ski rental
$10 without ski rental

Learn to fall down and get up, glide, stride, stop, turn, and use your poles. Please state gender, shoe size and height when registering with rental. Participants should arrive 15 minutes prior to class start time.

Frozen Falls Bus Tour
Meet at Penitentiary Glen Reservation
9 am to noon • $40 per person
Ages 18 and older

Explore Lake County by bus visiting different frozen waterfalls and enjoying the beautiful winter scenery. Participants should dress for the weather and be prepared to hike to falls.

Crazy Kidz Ski Academy: Skinny Skis - First Tracks
Ages 4, 5 and 6
Chapin Forest Reservation
9:30 to 10:30 am
$10 with ski rental
$5 without ski rental
$5 each additional sibbling

Our motto is "No Child Left in the Lodge." This introductory class teaches young children the basic skills of cross-country skiing and snowshoeing. You're never too young to learn how much fun snow sports can be!

Snowshoe the Parks
Indian Point Park
10 to 11:30 am
Ages 16 and older
$10 with ski rental
$5 without ski rental

Try snowshoeing on varied terrain through out our different parks! We will begin each class discussing the basics of snowshoeing and then going out and trying it on a different trail in a different park. Rental equipment will be brought to the different parks so pre-registration is necessary. If you're renting, please state height and weight when registering. Park location may change based on snow conditions.

Ride a Draft Horse
11 am to 12:30 pm • $20
Ages 10 and older

You have seen them pull wagons and plows, now here is your chance to groom, saddle and ride a mighty draft horse.

Creative Kids: Fabulous Fur
Children's Schoolhouse Nature Park
Noon to 1 pm
$5 for one child and one adult
$4 for each additional sibling
Ages 3 to 8

It's winter time, and many animals have their fur "coats" on. Come, learn, and create all about fur!

Winter Carnival
Painesville Township Park
1 to 3 pm • $5 per child
Ages 3 to 10

Want to have some indoor winter fun? Come join us for our indoor winter carnival for games, prizes and crafts! Concessions will be open for food purchases.

Adapted Winter Carnival
Painesville Township Park
3:30 to 4:30 pm • $8
Ages 9 and older

Come join us for our fun indoor winter carnival! Play old fashioned carnival games and win prizes, listen to music and enjoy refreshments. Program designed for participants with special needs only.