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Butterfly on purple aster

FALL COLOR HIKES by Shari

By on September 9, 2019

Pool season may have ended, but hiking season NEVER ends!

 

Ashtabula County Metroparks is presenting a series of fall hikes just in time for everyone to enjoy our crisp autumn air, local native plant and animal life, and our amazing fall colors!

 

  • Saturday, September 14 at 9:00 AM, meet in the Hatches Corners Metropark, State Rt 7 parking lot. Marc Hanneman, president of the Sam Wharam Nature Club will lead a leisurely Fall Bird Walk. (

 

  • Sunday, September 15 at 1:00 PM, meet in the parking lot of Eyring Wetlands Preserve Metropark on Windsor- Mechanicsville Rd. Leah Wolfe, MPH & Community Herbalist from the Trillium Center will lead a gentle Ethnobotany Plant Walk and discuss fall foraging.

 

  • Sunday, September 22, at 3:00pm, Metroparks will be leading a guided hike at the new Indian Mound Metropark, 431 Mill Road, Conneaut (off Welton Rd) as part of its joint Nature and Boater Safety Program with the Ashtabula YMCA.

 

  • Sunday, October 6, Fall Color Hikes have been planned in 3 of the Ashtabula County Metroparks to ensure that EVERYONE has an opportunity to get outside and enjoy our fall colors!
  • At Noon, meet in the Parking Lot at Camp Peet Metropark for a hike led by Leah Wolfe, MPH & Community Herbalist from the Trillium Center.   (405 Creek Road, Conneaut)
  • At 2 PM, meet in the Parking Lot near the Ellsworth Pavilion at Harpersfield Covered Bridge Metropark for a hike led by Joyce Bond, Certified Landscape Architect. (1143 Old Harpersfield Rd  Harpersfield)
  • At 4 PM, meet in the Parking Lot at Lampson Reservoir Metropark for a hike led by Larry Frimerman, Ashtabula County Metropark’s Executive Director.  1259 State Route 307, Jefferson Twp

 

In addition, Wednesday, October 9 at 2 PM, meet in the Parking Lot at Lampson Reservoir Metropark. Mark Meyer will discuss Preparing for and Feeding Our Winter Birds, followed by a leisurely hike led by Shari Bailey M.Ed., student naturalist.

 

Finally, mark your calendars for a fun-filled indoor Edible Ornaments Workshop!

On Monday, November 11 at Noon in the gymnasium at The Nature Center on Calendar Road in Rock Creek. Shari Bailey M.Ed., Student Naturalist, Kristy Belaney, Naturalist, and other Metroparks volunteers will demonstrate and assist participants in making outdoor edible ornaments to feed our winter wildlife when food sources become scarce. This program was a favorite with homeschoolers and attendees of ALL ages last year!

 

For further information on these or any of the Ashtabula County Metropark programs, or to register, call 440-576-0717

 

picnic table

Eyring Wetlands Preserve an Ashtabula County Metropark

By on August 29, 2019

Wetlands Wanderings

In the Eyring Wetlands Park

By Joyce Bond, August 2019

The pleasant weather recently provided me with the opportunity to take advantage of the new picnic tables at the Eyring Wetlands.  A relaxing lunch under the maples was punctuated with some flying friends in the form of butterflies and a not so welcome flying pest, a fly.  Which made me wonder about role of insects in the wetlands and woodlands of this Metropark.

Some of the most identifiable insects you can expect to see on your wetland walk at Eyring are dragonflies/damselflies, butterflies and bumblebees.  Of course, these are some of the more attractive and agreeable insects.  The wetlands and wooded areas of Eyring Wetlands Metropark are home to thousands of insect species. These include some insects for which we as humans are prey, making them less than desirable to us, but still important to the wetland ecosystem.  These include the mosquito, deer fly and other flies and gnats.

Dragonfly.  Flying insects tend to be just plain annoying. Mosquitoes bite you, leaving itchy red welts. Bees and wasps sting. Flies are just disgusting. But there’s something magical about dragonflies. Arriving on the scene around 300 million years ago, dragonflies are one of the first insects to inhabit this planet. Modern dragonflies have wingspans of only two to five inches, but fossil dragonflies from the Paleozoic era, when high oxygen levels existed, have been found with wingspans of up to two feet.

These insects, which number more than 5,000 known species (including damselflies), have had a long time to perfect the art of flying and hunting. In their larval stage, which can last up to two years, dragonflies are aquatic and eat just about anything—tadpoles, mosquitoes, fish, other insect larvae and even each other. At the end of its larval stage, the dragonfly crawls out of the water, then its exoskeleton cracks open and releases the insect’s abdomen, which had been packed in like a telescope. Its four wings come out, and they dry and harden over the next several hours to days.

Dragonflies are flat out terrifying if you’re a gnat, mosquito or other small bug. Dragonflies are expert fliers. They can fly straight up and down, hover like a helicopter and even mate mid-air.  They don’t simply chase down their prey. Instead, they snag them from the air with calculated aerial ambushes. Dragonflies can judge the speed and trajectory of a prey target and adjust their flight to intercept prey. Dragonflies catch their insect prey by grabbing it with their feet. They’re so efficient in their hunting that, in one Harvard University study, the dragonflies caught 90 to 95 percent of the prey released into their enclosure.

Bumblebees. The Bumblebee is a widely distributed social insect known for its ability to collect nectar from flowers and pollinate plants. Some differences from their non-native relative, the honey bee, is that Bumblebees live in smaller groups and do not tend to swarm. Bumblebees do not store food (honey) to survive the winter. The little food they do store is saved to feed the larvae and the egg-producing queen, or is used to survive cold, windy and rainy days. Just like social wasps, the bumblebee colony will die off at the end of summer. The new queens will then find somewhere to hibernate during the winter, usually underground and emerge to find new nesting ground ready to start a new colony in spring. Bumblebees will not die if they use their stinger, whereas honey bees will.

Bumblebees are large, yellow and black flying insects with a distinct buzz. There is variation in coloration among bumblebees and some species have bands of red, yellow and black. They have stocky bodies that are covered with many hairs to which pollen adheres. Bumblebees have four wings, the two rear wings are small and usually attached to the fore wings by a row of hooks. The wings move rapidly, at 130-240 beats per second.  The bumblebee’s commercial value and value in the wetlands is as a pollinator.

Mosquitoes. Mosquitoes don’t have too many admirers. Their bites are itchy, they spread disease, and their numbers swell rapidly. Mosquitoes have been on this planet for around one hundred million years. There are more than 3,500 different species of mosquito. They are one of the planet’s biggest success stories. Where humans, are concerned, mosquitoes are best known for their ability to bite and spread disease. Mosquito larvae are very important in aquatic ecology. Many other insects and small fish feed on them and the loss of that food source would cause their numbers to decline as well. Anything that feeds on them, such as game fish, raptorial birds, etc. would in turn suffer too.

The word “mosquito” is Spanish for “little fly”. Mosquitoes have a slender, segmented body, a pair of wings, three pairs of long hair-like legs, feathery antennae, and elongated mouthparts Mosquitoes first appeared about 226 million years ago. The life cycle consists of the egg, larva, pupa, and adult. Eggs are laid on the water surface; they hatch into motile larvae which feed on aquatic algae and organic material. The female of most species has tube-like mouthparts (called a proboscis) which can pierce the skin of a host and imbibe blood, which contains protein and iron needed to produce eggs. Thousands of mosquito species feed on the blood of various hosts ⁠— vertebrates, including mammals, birds, reptiles, amphibians, and some fish; and some invertebrates, primarily other arthropods. This loss of blood is seldom of any importance to the host. The saliva of the mosquito transmitted to the host with the bite can cause itching and a rash. In addition, many species of mosquitoes inject or ingest disease-causing organisms with the bite and are thus vectors of diseases.

Deerflies.  Deer flies are bloodsucking insects considered pests to humans and cattle. They are large flies with large brightly-coloured compound eyes, and large clear wings with dark bands. They are larger than the common housefly and smaller than the horse-fly. If you plan to avoid them at this time of year, apparently you will need to travel to Iceland, Greenland, or Hawaii since otherwise their distribution is worldwide.

Deer flies lay between 100 to 800 eggs in batches on vegetation near water or dampness. During the larval stage, which lasts one to three years, they feed on small creatures or rotting organic matter near or in the water. After a pupal stage, they emerge as adults in late spring and summer. While male deer flies collect pollen, female deer flies feed on mammal blood, which they require to produce eggs. They are attracted to prey by sight, smell, or the detection of carbon dioxide. Other attractants are body heat, movement, dark colours, and lights in the night. They are active under direct sunshine and their bite can be very painful. Anti-coagulants in the saliva of the fly prevents blood from clotting and may cause severe allergic reactions.  And like the mosquito, they can transmit disease-causing organisms. Predators of the deer fly include nest-building wasps and hornets, dragonflies, and some birds including the killdeer.

On the day that I visited the Eyring Wetland Park, I only encountered that one pesky fly.  There was a nice breeze that seemed to keep away any mosquitoes or deer flies.  But I did see many dragonflies skimming across the waters and the bumble bees were busily feeding on the blossoms of the Jewelweed and clovers. I also saw several Great Blue Herons up close and flushed a pair of mallards.  Though I only saw flashes of the smaller birds in the underbrush and tree canopy, I am sure there were some birds feasting on the many insects of the wetlands.

Milkweed plant

Wetland Wanderings-Eyring Wetlands Preserve Metropark

By on July 22, 2019

Wetlands Wanderings

In the Eyring Wetlands Park

By Joyce Bond, July 2019

The abundant rain and high heat has made for an interesting summer.  But as I walked the Eyring Wetland Park I noticed that for wetland flowers, this seems to be a banner year.  Plants are the building blocks of biodiversity. Nearly all animals are dependent on native plants, either for food or some part of their reproductive life cycle. For instance, the larvae of butterflies and moths – caterpillars – depend upon native flora as host plants. These caterpillars can only eat one or a few types of plants, and even those that are more general in their diet can only consume a relatively small number of plant species. Most of Ohio’s thousands of species of butterfly and moth caterpillars cannot process nonnative plants – they have no evolutionary history with introduced species.

The often-discussed Monarch Butterfly is one of the species where the caterpillar has co evolved an exclusive relationship with a specific native plant. Monarchs cannot survive without milkweed; their caterpillars only eat milkweed plants and monarch butterflies need milkweed to lay their eggs. With shifting land management practices, we have lost much milkweed from the landscape.  Because of this, there has been an effort in the native plants community to distribute milkweed seeds and encourage planting of this plant species.  The park is host to the milkweed plant (Asclepias spp.) pictured  growing along the path.

However, as adults, monarchs and other butterflies and moths will drink the nectar of many flowers in addition to milkweed. These adults need varying sources of nectar to nourish them throughout the entire growing season. During my walk in Eyring Wetland I spied many of those nectar plants in bloom. These included daisies, the non-native rose, common yarrow, and pink swamp rose mallow. These same nectar producing flowers are equally important to all of our songbirds which are dependent in many ways on native flowers.  Birds eat insects spawned from plants, and/or the seeds and fruit of plants. Plants provide nesting material for birds and other animals, as well as shelter.

Along with providing nectar and pollen for a wide variety of other pollinating insects, flowering plants sequester carbon and produce oxygen, and their roots hold streambanks and prevent erosion, thus protecting water quality. As plants die and decompose, they contribute to the production of rich soils. Flowering plants help form the lush botanical fabric of our wetlands. Another plant visible on a walk through Eyring Wetlands included the white or fragrant waterlily (Nymphaea odorata).  This floating aquatic plant with large, fragrant, white or pink flowers and flat, round, floating leaves is very abundant on the main pond in the park. The leaves have long stems and are bright green above and reddish or purplish underneath, almost round. One of the most common waterlilies, it usually flowers only from early morning until noon. The leaf stalk, which is soft and spongy are frequently eaten by muskrats.

I was glad for the opportunity to observe such a wide variety of blooming plants on my walk and to consider their importance to the insect, bird and mammal species.   But selfishly, what I was most in awe of was the intrinsic value of plants that contributes to people’s enjoyment of the outdoors and nature. It is for that reason that I enjoy my wanderings around Eyring Wetlands Park. It’s hard to imagine an environment without plants, especially showy wildflowers.

Man playing fiddle

MUSIC ALONG THE RIVER 2019 HARPERSFIELD METROPARK

By on July 18, 2019

Music Along the River 2019
Join us at the Harpersfield Covered Bridge Metropark for Music Along the River 2019, August 16th-18th. This year’s festival features old time string band, ‘Mr. Haney,’ and local jazz/folk group, ‘The Non-Trio.’ Want to hone your musical skills? Attend a free workshop on fiddle, singing, song-writing or traditional work songs. Like to play? Join our drum circle on Friday night, then sit in with our old time musicians and our Celtic Session on Saturday. Or, start your own informal jam on the banks of the beautiful Grand River! Festival hours are 7-9PM Friday and 11-6PM Saturday and Sunday. Food will be available on site and admission is free. For more information visit Facebook.com/MusicAlongtheRiver.

Schedule of Events: Music Along the River 2019 Event Schedule

wetlandsMay

Wetland Wanderings-Eyring Wetlands Preserve

By on June 7, 2019

Wetlands Wanderings

In the Eyring Wetlands Park

By Joyce Bond, May 2019

The sounds of spring were abundant during my visit to Eyring Wetland this week.  Starting with the sounds of the Ashtabula County highway department.  The County has a portion of Mechanicsville Road closed as it works on a culvert at the intersection of Mechanicsville Road and South River Road just south of the park entrance.  For the next few weeks, until June 14, access to this Ashtabula County Metropark can only be made from the north on Mechanicsville Road.  But this is only a portion of the construction noise that can be heard at Eyring.  Brett Bellas, ACMP Operations Manager, has been busy supervising the construction of boardwalks over some wet areas, mowing of paths and other grass areas, trimming of overhanging branches and repair of bank erosion and holes caused by muskrats.  All of this is typical maintenance work that is continually performed by Brett, his seasonal helper Austyn Hamper and a group of dedicated volunteers referred to as the “Over the Hill Gang”.  All of this work gets the park ready for some busy hiking months ahead. But don’t forget to wear your boots, it is a wetland park after all.

But the occasional sound of construction is not the only noise to be heard in the Eyring Wetland Metropark at this time of year.  The birds are busy and filling the air with their calls.  I am not an expert on bird identification, but I was able to pick of the distinct trill of the Red-winged Blackbird which the Audubon web site describes as a musical o-ka-leeee!  I also heard the calls of Canada Geese before I was lucky enough to spy a group of about 8 birds gracefully gliding across the main wetland pond.  Among the trees, I spied a Black-capped Chickadee who serenaded me with its signature chick-a-dee-dee-dee.

But the most intriguing and pervasive sound out at Eyring at this time of year is the sound of the American Bullfrog.  This true frog is amphibious and lives in freshwater ponds, lakes, and marshes. The Bullfrog has an olive green back and sides blotched with brownish markings and a whitish belly spotted with yellow or grey. The upper lip is often bright green and males have yellow throats. Bullfrogs like the warm weather that has finally come our way so there was an abundance of sound as soon as I stepped onto the path.  The male bullfrog’s advertisement call is deep and loud. Jug-o-rum or rumm…rumm…rumm, it calls. Some people think it sounds like a cow mooing, which is why the frog has “bull” in its name. Walking between the ponds at Eyring Wetlands, you might hear a whole chorus of these calls as male bullfrogs let other bullfrogs know the boundary for their territory.  A frightened individual, especially a juvenile, may give out a loud eeek! when it leaps into the water.  I was a witness to this behavior as one after another frogs jumped into the water as I approached.

Bullfrogs eat all kinds of insects, mice, snakes, fish, and other small creatures. They hunt at night, waiting patiently until they see something pass by that they figure would make a good meal. Then, with a powerful leap, they lunge at their prey with their mouths wide open and down the gullet their unlucky prey goes.

So as usual the sights and sounds of the park did not fail to delight.  It is always a pleasure to take the time to enjoy what nature has to offer and to experience what Ashtabula County Metroparks has to offer.

 

Bike Trail (2)

Coming Soon: New Trailhead for Western Reserve Greenway Trail

By on May 8, 2019

 

The Ashtabula County Metroparks is building a new parking lot and trailhead facility for improved access to the Western Reserve Greenway Trail in the Village of Roaming Shores.  The asphalt parking area will provide  parking spaces along Rome-Rock Creek Road.  A paved path will connect to the Western Reserve Greenway Trail.  The Ashtabula County Metroparks worked to secure state funding for the project and negotiated a lease to utilize land owned by the Village of Roaming Shores for construction of the new facility.

If you have any questions or for more information, contact the Metroparks Office at 440.576.0717

LeahMG_1365

The Herbal Eye

By on April 19, 2019

Plant Identification and Relationship – Happy Earth Day!

Earth Day 2019: Monday April 22nd

The Herbal Eye – Part 1

by Leah Wolfe, MPH

The sap is rising, the buds are swelling, and new shoots and leaves are springing to the surface. I’m hearing birds that I haven’t heard in a while. And those squirrels sure look skinny.

As an ever curious seeker of wild plants and mushrooms, I am happy to see familiar plants and intrigued when I find something new. I watch to see who’s up and who’s not, who lives next to who and who is off alone. Who loves the sun, and who loves the shade. What I see betrays the relationships and roles of forest dwellers, whether plant, animal, or creepy crawly.

Forests or meadows or lonely shorelines show us how community works. Each plant and animal has a role in the daily cycles and evolving state of the community. As much as we understand these roles through scientific observation, there is still an element of the magical in the ways that these systems balance themselves.

Then there are the between spaces or the edges. First there are the transitions zones between one ecosystem to another, such as the shoreline or the forest’s edge. Then there are the edges humans create, parking lots, sidewalks, factories, logging, trails, etc. These edges fill up with a class of plants often used in herbal first aid, as if these transition zones are wounds in the earth’s surface. Mostly we call them weeds.

But among these healing plants we also find poisonous plants and mushrooms. Some have medicinal uses if properly processed, but for the average hiker and forager they are best avoided. Some folks are so sensitive that touching them is enough to cause a reaction. Some plants are so poisonous they can kill.

Poisonous mushrooms have been in the news of late because they seem to be increasing in numbers, which means mushroom foragers better have good identification skills. Poisonous mushrooms shouldn’t be touched much or at all. If you are collecting mushrooms for identification only, make sure you don’t put them in the same basket as edible mushrooms. Some edible mushrooms have poisonous look-alikes that can only be identified with a microscope. So be careful.

The first rule of foraging whether for healing herbs or wild foods is: know the poisonous plants. To recognize earth day, springtime, and the relationship we have with plants, I offer a list of plants to be left alone either because they are rare, poisonous, or toxic.

 

Rare Plants

Some of these medicinal plants can be cultivated in gardens. If you wish to use them medicinally, be sure to learn how to use them and source them from companies or herbalists who practice ethical harvesting. You will need an understanding of energetics, body constitution, and how each herbs interacts with those factors. There are also possible interactions with medications and supplements, so seek an experienced herbalist if you aren’t sure. Also, please don’t gather plants from metroparks – protect these plants and their ecosystems.

 

American Ginseng (Panax quinquefolium)it is illegal to harvest this plant in most situations, unless you have permission from the owner of private property. A permit can be obtained to harvest in Wayne National Forest, but then you have to find it. More info here: https://wildlife.ohiodnr.gov/portals/wildlife/pdfs/publications/laws%20&%20regs/pub007.pdf Luckily ginseng can be grown. Although the OSU factsheet below is discouraging, I have seen single plants thrive in pots. https://ohioline.osu.edu/factsheet/F-56

 

 

Cardinal Flower (Lobelia cardinalis) the Lobelia species in general are becoming more rare and have been identified as at-risk by United Plant Savers. Several species are easy to grow in gardens.

   

 

 

Black Cohosh (Actaea racemosa formerly Cimicifuga racemosa)this plant has two look-alikes. One that has toxic red berries called red baneberry and the other has white berries with black dots earning it the name doll’s eye (classified as poisonous).  

  

 

Blue Cohosh (Caulophyllum thalictroides) – often confused with meadow rues. The cohosh plants are known as “women’s” plants but the word cohosh has been attributed to an Algonquian word meaning “rough.”

 

 

Bloodroot (Sanguinaria canadensis) – this plant has a blood red root, hence the name. It is most commonly used to burn warts off and is used to dry up wet respiratory conditions. Some people have skin reactions if they handle this plant with bare hands.

  

Goldenseal (Hydrastis canadensis) – this at-risk plant can often be substituted with the root bark of the invasive barberries.   

 

Jack-in-the-Pulpit (Arisaema triphyllum) – this unusual looking plant has toxins that one source says dissipate when the plant is sliced and dried and then cured for a year. But don’t touch there are many easier wild foods to seek.

 

Most orchids: the most common orchid in the area (in my experience) is rattlesnake plantain. Photo:

Partridge berry (Mitchella repens) – a tiny woodlands plant with fuzzy flowers.

 

Ramps: These are like wild onions with wide leaves. They are native to hardwood forests. Unfortunately, they are being harvested to the point of extinction because people are digging up all of them and leaving none to grow back. Ramps should be thinned to avoid crowding, but you have to leave many for the following year. Some folks just use the leaves like green onions to not kill the plant. https://unitedplantsavers.org/ramps/

 

Trillium (Trillium spp.) – the way that the common white trillium grows in large patches leads people to believe that this genus is not in trouble. However, it is getting harder to come across the less common species such as the red trillium and there are many species of Trillium. :

 

 

Some Common Toxic & Poisonous Plants 

 

Buttercups: These are have shiny yellow petals that look like melted butter, but don’t be tempted to eat them. They are toxic, causing irritation of skin and mucus membranes. A not-so-shiny relative, Celandine, can induce inflammation of the liver if used correctly and the yellow-orange sap from the leaves can burn off some warts.

 

 

 

 

Mayapple: the fruits are edible, the roots are a cathartic, which means they’ll give you diarrhea if used incorrectly. This plant is also considered at-risk of being endangered.

 

Poison plants in the carrot family: This link shows how to tell the wild carrot from poisonous look-alikes: https://wildmedicinal.wordpress.com/2015/08/28/poison-hemlock-water-hemlock-and-fools-parsley/ 

 

 

Poison ivy, sumac, or oak: mostly what I see in our area is poison ivy. Luckily, there is a plant called jewelweed that counters the effect of poison ivy. It’s best to just cover your skin and avoid exposure, but if you somehow end up around poison ivy, look for jewelweed. Take a handful of it and rub on the skin before and after your hike. Here is an article on how to identify these three poison plants:

https://gardenerdy.com/how-to-identify-poison-oak-poison-ivy-poison-sumac-plants

 

Poke: European settlers in North America learned to make ink from the purple berries of this plant. Many documents during this time were written with poke including the first copy of the U.S. Constitution. The most poisonous part of the plant is the raw leaves and the raw seeds. The root of the plant has a stimulating effect on the lymphatic system and is traditionally used externally on swollen lymph nodes and other lumps. It can burn the skin if not prepared properly and overdose of the raw leaves or berry seeds can lead to death. However, there is a traditional recipe for poke salet. When heard, this sounds like poke salad, but please don’t eat raw poke. Here is some more info: https://southernspaces.org/2011/mess-poke

 

 

 

 

The USDA’s list of plants in Ohio that are endangered, threatened, and a few believed to be extinct.

https://plants.usda.gov/java/threat?statelist=states&stateSelect=US39

 

United Plant Savers has a list of threatened native medicinal plants with tips on how to grow them in your garden or woods.

https://unitedplantsavers.org/species-at-risk-list/

 

Ohio State’s Fact Sheet on Poisonous Mushrooms

https://ohioline.osu.edu/factsheet/plpath-gen-11

 

 

Leah Wolfe, MPH, is an herbalist and educator at the Trillium Center is NE Ohio where she leads classes and workshops on how to forage for medicinal herbs wild foods, make home remedies, and grow herbs and food. She has a background in public health and health research. She volunteers for Ashtabula County Metroparks’ Programming Committee.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Ashtabula Metroparks Announces Master Planning Forums

By on April 19, 2019

TAKE THE SURVEY!  TO JOIN IN ON THE PARK PLANNING PROCESS

FOLLOW THIS LINK:    https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/PVHFWS3

The Ashtabula County Metroparks is announcing a series of public forums for the general public as a part of Metroparks’ Master Planning Process. The meetings are being held to gather ideas and interested party’s recommended priorities as the Board and Staff chart the future direction of your Metroparks system.  A stakeholders’ meeting is scheduled for Thursday, May 16, from 2-4pm at the Ashtabula County Commissioners’ Meeting Room at the 2nd Floor of the County Courthouse, 25 W Jefferson Street, Jefferson.  Four public forums are scheduled to gather ideas:

  • Thursday, May 30, 6:30-8:30pm – Conneaut Human Resource Center, 327 Mill Street, Conneaut.
  • Tuesday, June 4, 6:30-8:30pm – Rome Township Fire Station, 3162 US Route 6, Rome.
  • Wednesday, June 5, 6:30-8:30pm – Pymatuning Valley Primary School Sunshine Room, 5571 US State Route 6 West, Andover
  • Thursday, June 6, 6pm-8pm – Ashtabula County District Library, 4335 Park Avenue, Ashtabula.

Over the past few years, many people and organizations have contributed to Metroparks’ growth as an evolving and professional park system beyond Harpersfield Metropark and the Western Reserve Greenway Trail.   Since the voters approved the Metroparks Levy in 2014, Ashtabula Metroparks has made great strides in providing safe, clean and accessible parks and trails with amenities throughout the County.

These strides include the opening of six parks, added miles of both accessible and primitive walking trails, pavilions, restrooms, parking lots, fishing pier, bridges, benches and picnicking facilities throughout the Metropark system. Metroparks has tripled both the number of and acreage in its open parks, grown its total acreage, enhanced wildlife habitat, preserved wild and scenic rivers and greatly expanded its maintenance and services provided. Metroparks has also hired park rangers to bolster park safety and added volunteer-led programming throughout its parks.  Metroparks has partnered with other organizations to leverage an additional $10 Million in outside funds to multiply taxpayer investments, expand the park system and open new parks and trails.

In the next year, Ashtabula Metroparks is planning to complete the long-awaited North Shore Trail, beginning the Pymatuning Valley Greenway Trail and open additional parks and trails.  “With the kind of growth residents have witnessed, it is also clear that we have only begun our work. Development of a ten-year Parks Master Plan will help to guide and inform that future work”, observed Larry Frimerman, Metroparks’ Executive Director.

The Master Plan process brings opportunities to vision what Ashtabula County Metroparks system will look like going forward.  Metroparks is working with its consultant the Environmental Design Group to listen to and contemplate your ideas as it develops its final plan. Al Fazenbaker of Lake Erie College will facilitate the meetings.

Of course, development of a Master Plan requires future funding to implement the plan. A key element to Metroparks’ funding is its parks levy. Metroparks’ five-year park levy funds would continue if the levy is renewed by voters.  Thus, passage of a continuation levy would be an important component in making the Plan a reality.

In addition, Metroparks will post shortly a link to a Survey Monkey questionnaire for public input. We hope you will participate in the public involvement process.  A parks brochure and draft park system map with proposed/expected facilities and amenities at different parks can be found on Metroparks’ website at www.ashtabulametroparks.com, under the information tab.

 

 

bicycle-a-graphic1c

Calling all Bicycle Enthusiasts!

By on March 26, 2019

ASHTABULA BICYCLING CLUB

(Bula Bike Club)

Come join us! We are a group of casual bicyclers. We meet Every Tuesday evening at 6:00 p.m. at a different location in the county.

For Spring Warm up Rides we will meet Tuesday evenings at the Austinburg Trailhead of the Western Reserve Greenway Trail (off of Route 307, behind the post office)Riders of all ages and levels are welcome.  We attempt to keep our rides on paved and low traveled roads as well as riding the Metropark’s Greenway Trail in Ashtabula County.  All riders must wear a helmet.

Contact us for weekly email updates on ride information and maps.

For More Information Contact:

Ron Shray     440.645.6208       *or *           Nancy Vallen  440.855.1017

rnschray@suite224.net                                   nancyvallen@windstream.net

Schedule: Bula Bicycle Club Schedule

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Ethnobotany Trail Walks available this year at the Ashtabula Metroparks

By on March 11, 2019

Join herbalist Leah Wolfe for the first of four seasonal plant walks in the Ashtabula County Metroparks!

March 24, 1-3 PM

Hatches Corners Metropark

5467 Center St. (Rt 7) Monroe Twp

The first is a late winter/early spring stroll in the Hatches Corners Metropark, with frequent stops to identify trees by bark, patterns, buds, and twigs. She’ll talk about how people use barks, buds, twigs, and sap for food and medicine. The group will walk 1.5 miles total on a wood chipped trail.

 

May 19, 1-3 PM

Clara D Peet Preserve (Camp Peet) Metropark

405 Creek Rd Conneaut

This walk will go through a spectacular riparian zone where lots of spring ephemerals grow and bloom before the canopy leafs out. Many of these plants are edible or medicinal and some are considered at-risk of becoming endangered. Join this walk to learn about how these plants are used, which ones not to harvest, and which ones can be grown in your own garden.

 

July 14,   6-8 PM

Lampson Reservoir Metropark

1259 State Rt 307  Jefferson Twp

At the height of summer is the best time to practice plant identification by looking at flowers. Flowering plants are categorized by flower characteristics. It is important to learn this skill if you are interested in foraging. Accurate identification is vital before using any wild plant for food or medicine. Herbalist Leah Wolfe will help you learn to identify flowers while talking about the edible and medicinal qualities of summertime plants. We will take an evening stroll in order to avoid the heat of the day.

 

September 15, 1-3 PM

Eyring Wetlands Metropark

906 Mechanicsville Rd  Austinburg

In the fall, it is time to look for berries, roots, and Autumn herbs. This walk will focus on finding the kinds of plants that people use for food and medicine in the fall. Join Leah for the last walk in this series and take comfort in the abundance of plants in NE Ohio.

 

All walks are free and open to all ages. Minors must be accompanied by an adult. Dress for the weather, waterproof boots recommended. Please sign up by sending a message to the Trillium Center at 440-812-9921 or write to leah@trilliumcenter.org. This will ensure that you are contacted in the event of a date change. Leah is a teacher at the Trillium Center in Conneaut, OH, a member of the American Herbalists Guild and she works on community projects with Herbalists without Borders.

 

Leah Wolfe, MPH

Community Herbalist and Health Educator

Trillium Center

http://trilliumcenter.org

(440) 440.576.0717