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Click any of these to go directly to an update.
12/16/14 - Winter Web Updates
12/10/14 - Horseback Riding Trails
12/10/14 - New Free Snowshoe Borrowing! Plus Cross Country Skiing, Sledding & Walking
12/3/14 - Upcoming Park Closures
11/17/14 - Feed the Birds by Hand at The West Woods!
11/15/14 - 2015 Reservation & Fee Schedule
11/10/14 - Q: What's New with The Maple Highlands Trail?
10/31/14 - Now Accepting Small Research Grant Applications
9/30/14 - Public Internet Access
9/19/14 - Q: What's New with the Something's Afoot Exhibit?
7/28/14 - Play Ball! and Other Fun Activities in Your Parks
5/13/14 - Burton-Middlefield Rotary Makes Substantial Contribution to Nature Scopes
2/16/12 - White-nose Syndrome Found at The West Woods
1/28/11 - Social Media and Our Voices of Nature eNewsletter

 

 

Update: December 16, 2014

Winter Web Updates

Brrrrrring on the winter website changes! Now added are your winter Voices of Nature newsletter and Chit Chat newsletter and geocache. (Please note that the newsletter includes an incorrect geocache coordinates and riddle. Consult the website for the correct one!) Coming soon: your winter printable three-month calendar and naturalist video.

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Update: December 10, 2014

Horseback Riding Trails

Did you know horseback riding trails can be found at eight Geauga Park District locations? Click here for trails lists, which include notation for those trails that do not allow bicycles. (This link can always be found above under Things to Do.)

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Update: December 10, 2014

New Free Snowshoe Borrowing! Plus Cross Country Skiing, Sledding & Walking

If you’d like to try out snowshoeing but aren’t quite ready to buy a pair yet, we have a great opportunity for you: snowshoes available to borrow from The West Woods Nature Center

  • Fee/Registration: No charge. Registration preferred at 440-286-9516. Any snowshoes not reserved are available on first-come, first-served basis.
  • Age Restrictions: 18+ to check out. Anyone under 18 must be accompanied by an adult. No one under the age of 10 may use the snowshoes.
  • Check-in: Each registrant must sign a waiver form, leave a driver’s license as a security deposit, and be issued a copy of Safety Rules and Regulations.
  • Rental Period: Up to 2 hours between 10 AM and 2 PM. All snowshoes must be returned to the nature center by 4 PM.
  • Snowshoe Programs: Snowshoes may also be borrowed for snowshoe programs listed on the Park District's website and in the newsletter.
  • Snowshoes may not leave The West Woods except for programs.
  • At least a few inches of snow on the ground is needed, and the deeper the snow, the better. Enjoy!


Also, register here to get your name on our call list for special snowshoe programs that will be "called into action" December 15 through March 1 whenever the snow conditions are right for snowshoeing at The West Woods Nature Center. Borrow our snowshoes (first-come, first-served) or bring your own. Programs may be held anytime during the day or evening depending on the conditions. Once again, ages 10+ only, please.

Check the details below for other cool ways to connect with your parks this season:

Cross Country Skiing

Trails are once again being groomed at Orchard Hills Park and along The Maple Highlands Trail between Mountain Run Station in Chardon and Claridon Troy Road. Visit our Facebook wall or Twitter feed for grooming updates.

Cleared Trails for Walking

Park operations crews regularly clear snow from paved walking trails at four parks: Walter C. Best Wildlife Preserve in Chardon, Sunnybrook Preserve in Chesterland, Frohring Meadows in Bainbridge, and now on The Maple Highlands Trail-North from Big Creek Spur north to the Lake County line. (The trail will NOT be plowed from the spur south along Route 44 to the Highway Patrol.)

Sledding

Sledding hills can be found at Orchard Hills Park and Beartown Lakes Reservation. For after-dark sledding at Orchard Hills, find the pole with the "Lights" sign and switch, and please turn the lights off upon the last person's departure.

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Update: December 9, 2014

Upcoming Park Closures

For your safety, the following parks will be closed on the days listed below for the indicated controlled hunting activities. We appreciate your cooperation.

Park

Type of Hunt

Hunting Dates

Big Creek Park Muzzleloader January 2 & 3 ONLY


All Geauga Park District buildings will also be closed Christmas Day, the day after Christmas and New Year's Day. Unscheduled closures are always posted on WKYC and WEWS in Cleveland.

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Update: November 17, 2014

Feed the Birds by Hand at The West Woods!

Winter is a great time to observe birds, and what better place to observe them than the comfortable, serene wildlife feeding station at The West Woods Nature Center. But what if we told you that YOU could be the bird feeder?

Following the saying "a bird in the hand is worth two in the bush," Geauga Park District's Bird in the Hand Project allows you to feed the wild birds by hand!

This project debuted in the winter of 2014 to great success, and the Black-capped Chickadees immediately warmed up when the feeder went back out this fall.

To try your hand at feeding the birds, follow these three steps:

1) Time up your visit for daylight hours and dress warmly - extra layers, hat and gloves - since you will be standing still. If it's between 10 a.m. and 4:30 p.m., stop into the nature center to collect some black oil sunflower seed; otherwise, use a little from the feeder already placed on site. Hand-feeding works best with just one or two people or a small group, like three or four.

2) Follow the Trout Lily Trail, then hang a right at the fork after the boardwalk across the wetlands, following the sign. Soon you'll come upon the feeding station marked by a feeder and a mannequin, "Parker," who keeps the birds familiar with a human presence. (Parker is pretty realistic; then again, birds are fairly easy to fool.)

3) Take down the feeder, hide it under the bucket that's there,
extend your hand with some seed in your palm, then wait. Odds are good you'll have a taker if you're patient, enjoying the peace and quiet a handful of minutes or so, maybe less.

Why was the Bird in the Hand Project established anyway? Well...'cause it's cool! (Click here to watch Chief Naturalist John Kolar feed the birds last year.)

Led this year by naturalists Dottie Drockton and Linda Gilbert and a crew of dedicated volunteers, this project is one that you won't want to miss - starting now and lasting all winter long.

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Update: November 15, 2014

2015 Registration & Fee Schedule

Click here for the new fee schedule for 2015 reservations, which will open on the following schedule: December 15 for Geauga County residents, January 1 for all others.

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Update: November 10, 2014

Q: What's New with The Maple Highlands Trail?

A: The new south section of The Maple Highlands Trail is now open! Click here for a map that includes details about the new section (extending below Headwaters Park), and stay tuned to this page for an announcement, coming very soon now, of the opening of the new north section (the part that looks like a bent arm above Chardon).

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Update: October 31, 2014

Now Accepting Small Research Grant Applications

If you haven’t already submitted a proposal for Geauga Park District’s Small Research Grant program, please hurry! Project proposals are being accepted until Wednesday, December 31.

Geauga Park District will award up to $3,000 for a one-year project and $6,000 for a two-year project if approved.
Click here for details and to view some of this program's past projects.

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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: September 19, 2014

Q: What's New with the Something's Afoot Exhibit?

A: We know dinosaur bones have been found all over the country, but did you know that some were found right here in Geauga? Have you ever wanted to see them? It's almost time for your chance! Get the scoop on an upcoming update to our Something's Afoot exhibit on our Special Events page!

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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, sand volleyball, horseshoe pits, bocce ball court, tetherball, activity field backstop (just added)

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 — soccer goal, tetherball

Orchard Hills Park — orchard-themed playground

Swine Creek Reservation — soccer goal, horseshoe pits, tetherball, activity field backstop (just added)

Sunnybrook Preserve — horseshoe pits, bocce ball court, tetherball

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Update: May 13, 2014

Burton-Middlefield Rotary Makes Substantial Contribution to Nature Scopes

In support of Geauga Park District's Nature Scopes binocular program for county fifth-graders, Burton-Middlefield Rotary Club presented a check for $3,000 at its May 7 meeting, making it the largest civic group donor to the program.

"Burton-Middlefield Rotary believes that Geauga Park District's Nature Scopes program should be available to every fifth-grader in Geauga County," said club treasurer Tracy Jemison. "It is a great educational program that stimulates the students' interest in science. We applaud the Park District for offering this program to the fifth-graders throughout Geauga County."

Nature Scopes is a comprehensive, year-long program aligned with Ohio Science Education Content Standards. It reached 90 percent of county fifth-graders this year, with a goal of reaching 100 percent by the 2015-16 school year.

"But we can only do this with the continued support from individuals and civic organizations like the Burton-Middlefield Rotary," said Teresa Runion, Park District development associate, pictured above with Burton-Middlefield Rotary President Rich Newsome. "The club has contributed to this program for three years, and Geauga Park District is very appreciative of its partnership and support."

Research shows that we spend 90 percent of our time indoors, but there is evidence that nature is critical for a child's healthy development - not just physically, but emotionally and intellectually.

Nature Scopes teaches kids to get outside and get plugged into Nature with binoculars, not plugged into a video game or TV. Since the program's inception in 2003, it has reached 4,300 Geauga kids - and all funds are underwritten by private donations that purchase binoculars and field guides given to the students through this program.

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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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Update: January 28, 2011

Social Media and Our Voices of Nature eNewsletter

It's never been easier to find out what's going on at your Geauga Park District! Click here to receive our new Voices of Nature eNewsletter, featuring pictures, articles and upcoming programs; "Like" us on Facebook or "Follow" us on Twitter for daily updates and special insights from our experienced naturalist team; or check out our YouTube page, featuring more than 150 clips of park fun "in the field"!

 

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