The water pumps at Bessie Benner Metzenbaum Park in Chesterland have been turned off, as they have not passed the EPA requirement for drinking water, and will remain off until further notice. We apologize for any inconvenience this may cause park visitors.
Time to sign up for the 2013 5K on June 9! Click here to learn more and register.
PLEASE NOTE: The address and phone number of Achilles Running Shop have changed to 7439 Mentor Avenue and 440-942-2059. Previous versions of
the registration form listed the old address and phone number instead.
Did you attend last year? Click here for the 2012 race results, click here for nearly 300 photos from the event, and once more, thank you to the nearly 400 people who made last year's event such an awesome success!
Construction: Big Creek Park, Beartown Lakes Reservation
BEARTOWN LAKES RESERVATION – Visitors to Beartown Lakes Reservation in Auburn and Bainbridge townships can expect to encounter a re-paving project at the park May 13 through 17. However, because asphalt is very much weather dependent, that schedule is subject to change. Paving will look similar to a paving project on a township or county road, and although there will be some closures to entrances or areas of the park as needed, the contractor will work to maintain traffic flow in and out of the park. Due to minimal noise and the smell of asphalt in this case, neighbors are also being notified by postcard.
BIG CREEK PARK – To better serve valued guests to Big Creek Park, asphalt improvements are underway; they began April 24 and will continue for approximately two weeks. Improvements will include culvert replacement, milling, resurfacing and restriping Monday through Friday from 7 a.m. to 5 p.m. as weather allows. Access to the Meyer Center will be maintained, but please excuse disruptions to normal parking procedures during certain times of milling and resurfacing. Thank you.
For the 14th year, the Geauga and Portage Soil and Water Conservation Districts (SWCDs) are sponsoring the Wonders of Watersheds (WOW) education summer workshops for teachers and informal educators. Both workshops provide an exciting, in-depth look at the natural wonders of our region, along with invaluable training, curriculum guides and one to three graduate credits through Ashland University.
The WOW (June 12-14 and 17-18) is five-day workshop (typically 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.) and participants meet in various locations throughout Geauga and Portage counties. The Advanced WOW (June 24-26) is a three-day experience held at Old Woman Creek Estuary in Huron, Ohio In both workshops, teachers and educators will have the opportunity to participate in numerous hands-on environmental science and biology activities led by many local resource professionals. Workshop participants travel to unique ecosystems including a kettle bog, freshwater estuary, pristine wetlands and forests, vernal pools and the shores of Lake Erie.
Rejuvenate your routine, gain new skills and treat yourself to an academic adventure this summer! The registration deadline is June 3. For more information and registratiom brochures, visit www.geaugaswcd.com or contact Gail Prunty at 440-834-1122 ext. 2 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Public internet access is now available at The West Woods Nature Center with the password CHIPMUNK and Big Creek Park's Meyer Center with the password SQUIRREL. Stay tuned for information about similar access at Observatory Park.
Chances are good your best childhood memories include some outdoor adventures - bike rides, fishing, exploring through woods and streams. Now your kids can also make some of those memories and more through Geauga Park District's brand new daytime camps: Adventure Day Camp and Space Day Camp!Click here to learn more and register.
Signs have been posted at Frohring Meadows in Bainbridge Township with the noticeable return of a pair of coyotes.
"We know from monitoring wildlife cameras that these animals are in the area," said Paul Pira, Geauga Park District's park biologist. "They may be using this park once again for denning, so we're trying to be proactive by cautioning people to respect wildlife and obey the leash laws.
Leash laws are enforced on all Geauga Park District properties, and dogs are required to be on leash at all times for the benefit of dog owners, other park visitors and the resident wildlife. Even the most highly trained and best-behaved pets can be unpredictable at times, and we must require leashing for the best interest of all. Failure to follow this law can result in a fine.
Pira notices the impact unleashed dogs have had on wildlife research.
"There are numerous other animals in our wetland study areas that we have also documented as being highly disturbed by dogs off leash at Frohring Meadows park," he said. "They have disturbed our trapping research, killed waterfowl and caused us to cease work on some research projects."
Where coyotes are denning, pets off leash may also provoke coyote pairs by wandering off trail and finding their dens, Pira said. Click here to watch a video of this type of behavior in California.
"There shouldn't be any problem as long as they're on leash," Pira added. "Hopefully we won't have to close the trails."
Frohring Meadows' Big Bluestem Trail was closed for more than two months in 2012 after a woman and her dog had an encounter with the coyote pair. The same trail is now marked with signs at the entrance to the woods.
Rangers will also be monitoring the area more closely during this time to ensure compliance and safety, Chief Ranger Scott Wilson said.
Eastern coyotes are known to inhabit the area of Frohring Meadows. They are normally passive. However, coyotes may act alone or in a small family group to defend their territory. This behavior is normal but may be more intense from January through June due to mating, denning and pup weaning.
The presence of dogs may trigger coyotes to display forms of aggression consisting of yips, howls and growls. Coyotes may follow behind dog-walkers for a short distance. If you encounter a coyote, calmly control your pet and leave the area the way you entered. If you are walking a dog, shorten the leash; keep the dog close and as quiet as possible. Pick up and carry small dogs.
If a coyote does approach, walk backwards slowly and try to discourage it by shouting in a deep voice, waving your arms, throwing objects and looking the coyote directly in the eyes. If you are wearing a coat or vest, spread it open like a cape so that you appear larger.
Carrying a whistle with you can help frighten a coyote and alert others.Please report coyote interaction to the Park District’s Ranger and Natural Resource Management departments at 440-286-9516.
A number of Park District staff volunteered to participate in this annual count on January 5. Click here to see its tabulations, including record-high Burton counts of American Tree Sparrows and Song Sparrows.
Have you ever wondered how the Park District handles significant snow events? Wonder no more: snow removal and maintenance always occur in the order of roadways, parking lots, restrooms, then trails. That being said, once a snowstorm subsides, maintained trails will be groomed within 24 hours
Observatory Park is open for casual visitation daily from 6 AM to 11 PM. But in addition to seasonal programming listed under "Find a Program" above (including full moon nights and themed programs every second and fourth Friday), here's a list of regular opportunities for you to enjoy Observatory Park with a naturalist.
Oberle Observatory & Robert McCullough Science Center Open January - February, November - December
Fri. and Sat. 6 - 10 PM
Sun. 1 - 4 PM (planetarium show at 2 PM) Open March - October
Fri. and Sat. 6 - 11 PM
Sun. 1 - 4 PM (planetarium show at 2 PM)
During building/staffed hours, enjoy looking through the Oberle telescope with a naturalist (as weather permits), or bring your own telescope any time during park hours and use one of the many telescope pads to self-guide your night viewing.
Please note that the Donald W. Meyer Center at Big Creek Park and The West Woods Nature Center will be closed for holidays on January 1 (New Year's Day), March 31 (Easter Sunday), November 28 and 29 (Thanksgiving and the day after) and December 25 (Christmas).
Also, the Meyer Center at Big Creek Park returns to its winter hours in November, and will remain closed on the weekends through early May.
Any additional building closures will be announced on WYKC or WEWS in Cleveland.
Herons won the day, it seems! Click here for photos of the Nature of Metal Community Art Exhibition's People's Choice winners, named Monday, as the exhibition was being disassembled this week.
Blue ribbons went to "The Wading Game" heron sculpture (by Greg Koesel) in the decorative category, Blue Heron Garden Gate (by Roy Troutman) in the functional category, and "Vain Vine" necklace (by Laura Recek) in the jewelry category; 13 others received honorable mentions for notable performances in the voting. Congratulations to all!
Geauga Park District's Nature Arts Festival drew 1,162 people on Saturday (despite heat) and 844 people on Sunday (despite morning rain) to another great show of regional artwork at The West Woods.
This year's Outstanding Booth/Display Award winner, who will return to next year's festival as Featured Artist, was Chandler Beatty, a painter from West Middlesex, Pennsylvania.
From his website: "The striking of shadow and light, combined with beautiful color, best describes the artwork of Chandler Beatty. A realistic painter, whose favorite mediums are acrylic and watercolor, he loves to create detailed still lifes of common everyday objects with interesting compositions. An avid sportsman who enjoys the great outdoors also loves to hunt and fish, Beatty also enjoys painting scenes of nature and wildlife."
Park District volunteer Sandy Weibusch was the Geauga Park District Foundation's lucky raffle winner this year, taking home "Eastern Amberwing on Water Lily" by 2011 Outstanding Booth/Display Award winner Dean Chriss.
And last but not least, with entries into this year's People's Choice Competition more than doubling – 61 last year vs. 125 this year – here are your chosen winners...very much deserving!
"Bluebird" by Chandler Beatty
"Woodland Beauty" by Peggy Hannan
"Rainbow Point" by Tom Millward
"Fire & Ice" by Wayne Mazorow
"Driftwood Heron" by Ray Thurston
"Dropping In" by Roy Podojil
Children's (Ages 8-12)
"The Lily Pond Inspiration" by Anna Sanders, Age 11
"The Seashell" by Anna Sanders (not pictured)
Children's (Ages 13-17)
"Black & White Wolf" by Rachel Rich, Age 14
"Eye of the Tiger" by Kaitlyn McKanna, Age 13 (not pictured)
What was all the hype about anyway? Click here to read the release that drew WKYC and the Geauga Maple Leaf, then check out WKYC's news story at this link.
Lastly, a very special thanks to members of the Chagrin Valley Astronomical Society for so generously sharing their telescopes with the masses! Your contributions to Observatory Park continue to be out of this world.
As part of the land management plan at Observatory Park in Montville Township, visitors this summer may see soy crop growing within and immediately surrounding the Planetary Trail.
These plantings will prepare the soil for native Alleghany meadow planting as early as late 2013, if not 2014, according to Park Biologist Paul Pira.
"Soybean agriculture is proven to prepare soil for the seeding of a native Alleghany meadow," Paul said. "Even after harvest, leftover remnants of the soybean will provide a healthy situation for planting."
About 20 acres, also including two plots in the un-trafficked front portion of the park, will be leased for $1 this year to the same Huntsburg farmer who has farmed this property in years past. The property has been a working farm on and off since the 1930s, and not farming it could also allow invasive species to take root. "The farmer is basically doing us a favor by doing this," Paul said.
Application of the herbicide Roundup will occur on these plots as early as May 4, be performed once within a two-week window, weather permitting, and take only several hours to complete. Neighbors will be notified immediately, signage will be posted at least a week in advance, and only affected trails will be closed during the time of the spraying.
According to Land Steward Bob Lange, soybeans will be planted shortly thereafter.
A native Alleghany meadow will ultimately maintain the property as open space allowing for great views of Observatory Park's unique features, such as its Great Pyramid of Giza corners – all the while fostering biological and ecological integrity, beneficial species of plants and animals, Paul said. "We hope to improve our chances of success by this method."
Observatory Park, already open to the public daily from 6 AM to 11 PM, celebrates its Grand Opening this June 16. Get all the details of this special community event on our Special Events page!
There are many ways that the Geauga Park District Foundation accepts gifts on behalf of Geauga Park District - and now it has added online giving! Click here for a complete list of options, including the quick and easy way to do it online.
Q: When will the park officially open?
Observatory Park is officially open 6 a.m. to 11 p.m. daily year-round with later hours by programming and special permit.
Q: Will there be walking trails?
the Planetary and Weather trails amass 1+ miles, and future phases of the park will include woodland trails connecting Observatory Park with the Nassau Astronomical Observing Station.
Q: When will horse trails be installed?
A: Geauga Park District's Board of Park Commissioners is discussing ways to make this a reality; we'll keep you updated on this website.
Q: Where is the Case telescope, and when will this be open?
A: The Nassau Astronomical Observing Station is right up Caves Road from Observatory Park, and will open after funding is obtained for its renovations and improvements through a future phase of construction. Learn more about ongoing fundraising issues on our Capital Campaign page.
Q: How big is this park, and what else can we expect to see here?
A: Learn more about Observatory Park and all its offerings, present and future, on its individual park page.
Q: Can I access the weather and seismic station data online?
A: You sure can!
Click here for the Seismic Station readings. On the right of the page, select Station Data, and on the next page select Montville to select Observatory Park. Clicking on the Helicorder under "OGSO Station Data" gives the best representation of the actual signal and shows activity up to 24 hours ago, depending on which Helicorder you select.
Visit our Publications & Forms page to view Geauga Park District's 2010 Report to the Public, complete with pages of pictures and information about what we accomplished last year with your help and support. Thank you!
Keep in Touch Through Facebook, 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 - or "Like" us on Facebook for daily updates and special insights from our experienced naturalist team.