What's New home


Click any of these to go directly to an update.
4/27/16 - Bluebird Box Cam, Starring a House Wren!
4/20/16 - 2016 Controlled Burns: They Happened!
4/20/16 - Picnic Spot Recommendations
4/12/16 - Updated! Earth Day Extravaganza Schedule of Events
4/4/16 - Spring Web Updates
4/1/16 - Milkweed Giveaways
3/28/16 - Youth Turkey Hunting
3/22/16 - 21st Annual Nature Writing Contest
2/18/16 - Bird Count Results
1/19/16 - Upcoming Park Closures
11/25/15 - Winter Fun (Bird in the Hand, Free Snowshoe Borrowing and More!)
9/30/14 - Public Internet Access
7/28/14 - Play Ball! and Other Fun Activities in Your Parks
2/16/12 - White-nose Syndrome Found at The West Woods





Update: April 27, 2016

Bluebird Box Cam, Starring a House Wren!

We've already had one false alarm with Black-capped Chickadees in the Big Creek Park box. But now we're excited to announce that a male House Wren has begun building in the nest box at The West Woods. Will a female select his nest to call home? Check it out day or night at http://bit.ly/gpdbluebird, and watch for regular naturalist blog updates on his progress!

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Update: April 20, 2016

2016 Controlled Burns: They Happened!

When it comes to managing wildlife and natural areas, interagency cooperative efforts are often the key to achieving our goals on important larger-scale projects. Over the past few weeks, Geauga Park District's Natural Resource Management (NRM) staff have been assisted by Portage Park District (special thanks to Bob Lange, our burn boss leader), Hiram College and Western Reserve Land Conservancy. In addition, other departments within Geauga Park District – Operations, Naturalists, Planning and Adminstration – were all crucial to the success of these projects.

Last Friday, this crew burned 27 acres of meadow habitat at Frohring Meadows. (An additional 8.9 acres of meadow habitat at Burton Wetlands Nature Preserve was burned a few weeks earlier.) This work will undoubtedly produce excellent results – improved habitat – for our meadow-dependent wildlife over the next few years.

PhotosVideo (credit: Land Steward Jen Weitzel)

Friday was also the first time we created a call list – a "hotline," if you will – for members of the public to be notified when a burn would take place so they could come see it. The program's first half was a slideshow talk about why NRM staff use fire as a management tool, stressing the historical, ecological and environmental importance of fire regimes in Ohio and elsewhere. Then attendees were all able to watch the actual controlled burn. Also in attendance, and multiplying our educational outreach tenfold, were WKYC Channel 3, The Plain Dealer, The News-Herald, the Geauga County Maple Leaf and the Chagrin Valley Times. Thanks to everyone who came out to learn from the burn!

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Update: April 20, 2016

Picnic Spot Recommendations

Thinking of packing a basket?

Headwaters Park is a great for an impromptu picnic by the water followed by a hike, or vice versa. This park has great access to water, fishing, camping and The Maple Highlands Trail (for those who want to bike to their picnic). Think lots of places to get away from people and enjoy a feeling of wilderness isolation with your meal.

Bessie Benner Metzenbaum Park would be great for a small family picnic. There's a playground, small parking lot perfect for bikes and small kid toys, and a mile-long hike. Plus, very little outside traffic appears.

Beartown Lakes Reservation has a few great reservable picnic shelters, but it's worth mentioning a more intimate, single-hexagon-tabled shelter just behind the main shelter that cannot be reserved. It's first come, first served, but totally worth running the risk of picnicking on the open grass if it's occupied. It includes the use of a double grill and trash can. The reservable Minnow Pond Shelter is also small, and nestled in the woods.

For those who want to come to Chardon, the Maple Grove Shelter area of Big Creek Park is very popular. A large shelter can be reserved near a small children's play area; a picnic table is tucked amidst tall pines just beyond; and just beyond that is an enclosed table with a great overlook over a ledge into the woods. Also nearby is a big field for activity and Wild Goose Pond, where people just love to sit and fish. Another, more private shelter at Big Creek is just past Deep Woods Shelter, which is also a great reservable shelter. On the park map you can follow the dashed line from the Deep Woods parking lot area to the end of the spur...see that little tiny square at the end?

If you're looking for a shelter with a fireplace, electricity, two tables and a nearby restroom, you may now consider Orchard Hills Park's Pondside Shelter. The view over the pond is beautiful. And it features two octagonal and two standard 8-foot picnic tables. Please be mindful, however, of the fact that this scenic shelter has no drive-up access.

The Rookery has a picnic area near the large white silo there. The four tables are uncovered, so they can be directly in the sun, but there are two grills, a large grassy area for playing games, and restrooms not far at all.

Finally, Whitlam Woods is one of those not-well-traveled parks that many would consider a hidden gem for its hiking and bird watching. There's no picnic area per say, but several benches along the trails would make awesome spots for a brown bag picnic, including a particularly beautiful overlook.


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Update: April 12, 2016

Updated! Earth Day Extravaganza Schedule of Events

Of course we encourage you to live every day like Earth Day. But for the actual Earth Day, we’re doing something a little extra special in 2016.

Geauga Park District’s Natural Resource Management Department invites you to come to the park and experience an exciting live birds of prey show; amphibian and reptile show-and-tell; bird and insect walks; up-close bird banding and bird box care; hands-on tree and wildflower planting; expert speakers on wildlife and conservation issues; astronomy club and telescopes; informational displays; refreshments; and tree and wildflower giveaways so you can continue the celebration at home.

It’s our first-ever Earth Day Extravaganza on Saturday, April 23 (the day after Earth Day) at Frohring Meadows!

Education will be focused on two primary goals: 1) what wildlife/environmental issues goes Geauga County currently have and why, and 2) what citizens can do locally to make a difference for Mother Earth. Tentatively scheduled are:

  • 11-11:30 AM – Welcome & Overview of GPD’s Natural Resource Management Work by Park Biologist Paul Pira)
  • 11:30 AM-Noon – "Lake Erie Starts Here! Let Your Yard Be a Solution to Water Pollution" Talk by Gail Prunty, Geauga County Soil & Water Conservation District
  • Noon-12:15 PM – Break/Plant Giveaways/Refreshments
  • 12:15-1 PM – Live Birds of Prey Show by Harvey Webster, Cleveland Museum of Natural History
  • 1-2 PM – Bluebird Box Care, Bird Walks, Kids Craft (“Seed Bombs”), Reptiles & Amphibians, Tree & Wildflower Planting Demos, Telescopes, Etc.
  • 2-2:30 PM – “Native Plant Gardening/Landscaping” Talk by Garrett Ormiston, Lake Erie Allegheny Partnership for Biodiversity (LEAP)
  • 2:30-3 PM – “Caring for Your Backyard Stream” Talk by Keely Davidson-Bennett, Chagrin River Watershed Partners; Tree & Wildflower Planting Demos
  • Just added! Free tours of Frohring Meadows via rides on the EZ Go Cart

Most activities will be wheelchair/stroller accessible; however, parts may be off-trail and not accessible. School-aged and up is recommended. Registration is not required. Please call 440-286-9516 with questions.

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Update: April 4, 2016

Spring Web Updates

Spring is here! And so are these seasonal web updates.

Spring Geocache

Spring Voices of Nature Newsletter

Spring Chit Chat Volunteer Newsletter

Spring Printable Three-Month Calendar NEW!

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Update: April 1, 2016

Free Milkweed Giveaways

Once again, Geauga Park District will hand out the Monarch's only host plant in an effort to bolster Monarch populations. Visit the park on the dates below and get a free milkweed plant (one pot containing several plants per family).

April 23 - Earth Day Extravaganza, 11 AM-3 PM, Frohring Meadows
May 8 - Mother's Day, 10 AM-2 PM, The West Woods
May 14 - Spring Wildflower ID Workshop, 1-3 PM, The West Woods (must register to get free plant)
June 19 - Father's Day, 10 AM-2 PM, The West Woods

Link: Guidelines for Planting Milkweed (Common & Swamp)

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Update: March 28, 2016

Youth Turkey Hunting

Click here for an application for our new Youth Turkey Hunting Wildlife Management Program. The season starts April 16 and 17.

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Update: March 22, 2016

21st Annual Nature Writing Contest

Click here for an application for this contest, with submissions due by May 3, for a chance to win cash prizes! Winners will be listed in the summer Voices of Nature newsletter, which hits every mailbox in the county (42,000 households!), and celebrated during the Nature Arts Festival.

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Update: February 18, 2016

Bird Count Results

Many thanks to over a hundred people who stopped by The West Woods and helped us count birds at the wildlife feeding station during the Great Backyard Bird Count February 12 through 15. Click here for complete tallies, and click here for a printable certificate of appreciation. Our highest species count during the four-day period was 18 species. Northern Cardinals and Tree Sparrows were the most numerous visitors all four days. Our West Woods bird list joined 55,183 other checklists from across the U.S. All this data is then used by scientists to do cool things like make the animated bird migration map found here.

Earlier, this year's Burton Christmas Bird Count saw the most species ever recorded in our circle! Click here for complete tallies and some notes from Naturalist Linda Gilbert.

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Update: January 19, 2016

Upcoming Park Closures

There are no currently scheduled park closures. Unscheduled closures are always posted on WKYC and WEWS in Cleveland, as well as to our Facebook and Twitter.

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Update: September 30, 2014

Public Internet Access

Public internet access is now available at Observatory Park, The West Woods Nature Center and Big Creek Park's Meyer Center with the SSID (name) gpPUBLIC and the password GCpublic.

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Update: July 28, 2014

Play Ball! and Other Fun Activities in Your Parks

New baseball backstops are now installed, along with other activity opportunities, just in time for the holiday weekend. Enjoy! (And don't forget to share.)

Bass Lake Preserve — fishing pier

Beartown Lakes Reservation — horseshoe pits, bocce ball court, tetherball

Big Creek Park — soccer goal, tetherball, activity field backstop, sand volleyball

Chickagami Park — soccer goal, horseshoe pits, tetherball, activity field backstop

Frohring Meadows — tetherball

Orchard Hills Park — orchard-themed playground

Swine Creek Reservation — soccer goal, horseshoe pits, tetherball, activity field backstop

Sunnybrook Preserve — horseshoe pits, bocce ball court, tetherball

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Update: February 16, 2012

White-nose Syndrome Found at The West Woods

Click here for today's unfortunate news, that bats hibernating at The West Woods are affected by white-nose syndrome (WNS). For a federally kept map of all the sites WNS has been found, click here.

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