Four parks to host family-friendly maple syrup festivals in March
COLUMBUS – Is there anything better than a breakfast of pancakes or waffles smothered with delicious maple syrup? Eager to try homemade maple syrup this year? Look no further than Ohio State Parks! Warmer days and chilly nights are the ideal conditions to get sap flowing from Ohio’s maple trees, and four state parks will host maple syrup festivals to celebrate the season. Visitors will see how maple syrup is made and enjoy locally-made maple syrup afterward.
- Malabar Farm State Park in Richland County will host its 42nd annual Maple Syrup Festival from NOON-4 p.m. the weekends of March 3-4 and March 10-11. Visitors can take horse-drawn wagon rides to the Sugar Camp, witness live historical demonstrations and enjoy music and food. Maple products will be available for sale. Donations may be made to the group providing wagon rides. For more information, call 419-892-2784.
- Hueston Woods State Park in Preble County will host its 52nd annual Maple Syrup Festival the weekends of March 3-4 and March 10-11 from NOON-4 p.m. A pancake breakfast, with locally made syrup, will be available at the park lodge on those days from 8 a.m.-1 p.m. Throughout the weekend, concessions will be made available by the Friends of Hueston Woods and the Museum Association. Visitors can go on maple syrup tours, hay rides and hikes through the Hueston Woods State Nature Preserve. The nature center will also be open during this time. For more information, call 513-523-6347.
- Hocking Hills State Park in Hocking County will host events at the naturalist cabin at the Old Man’s Cave area on March 10-11 from 8 a.m.-4 p.m. Free tours around the naturalist cabin will be taking place from 12-4 p.m. on Saturday and Sunday. Naturalists will demonstrate methods to make maple syrup and maple candy, and delicious samples will be available. For more information, call 740-385-6842.
- Indian Lake State Park in Logan County is holding events on Saturday, March 17, from 8 a.m.-2 p.m. and on Sunday, March 18, from 8 a.m.-1 p.m. Free wagon rides will be available to visit the Sugar Shack for demonstrations on turning sap into maple syrup. Wagon rides will be from 9 a.m.-2 p.m. on Saturday and 9 a.m.-1 p.m. on Sunday. For a small fee ($5 for adults and $3 for kids), visitors can enjoy a pancake breakfast with sausage and beverages from 8 a.m.-2 p.m. on Saturday and 8 a.m.-1 p.m. on Sunday. There will be pints, quarts and gallons of syrup for sale. For more information, call 937-843-2717.
ODNR to Offer Maple Syrup Festivals, Hikes in March
COLUMBUS – As we begin March, the Ohio Department of Natural Resources (ODNR) is offering several free events for friends and family to enjoy! Take advantage of seeing some of Ohio’s beautiful natural resources up close and personal this month through winter hikes, maple syrup festivals and animal programs.
Full Moon Hike at Lake Hope State Park – Begin a healthy new year on Thursday, March 1, at 6:30 p.m. at Lake Hope State Park by taking a 3-mile hike illuminated by the moon. Bring a flashlight, dress in layers and wear sturdy shoes. Meet at the shelterhouse. For more information, call 740-596-4938.
Scavenger Hunt at Maumee Bay State Park – Wondering about winter or excited about spring? See if you can spot a groundhog and his shadow at the Trautman Nature Center at Maumee Bay State Park! Join the nature center staff for an at-your-own-pace scavenger hunt on Friday, March 2, from 10 a.m.-3 p.m. (Both indoor and outdoor scavenger hunts will be available.) For more information, call 419-836-7758.
Naturalist Program at Punderson State Park – Have some spare time? Join our naturalist at Punderson State Park every Friday in March at 5 p.m. for a talk about Ohio’s natural features! Popular topics include snakes, birds and animal pelts. Every Friday brings a different program so stop out to see what we have being discussed today! Meet at the chalet. For more information, call 440-564-2279.
Tour the Tackle Box at Lake Hope State Park – Want to catch that big fish but are confused or a little intimidated at the bait shop? Join ODNR staff as we discuss types of line, bait and tackle at Lake Hope State Park on Friday, March 2, at 6 p.m. Practice tying knots and learn a little about some of Ohio’s common sport fish species. After this workshop, individuals will be prepared for the fishing season. Register to be entered to win a tackle box (must be present to win). Call the nature center at 740-596-3030 to register or for more information.
Water Wise at Shawnee State Park – Acquire new skills or brush up on old ones with Shawnee’s naturalist at the lodge indoor pool at Shawnee State Park on Saturdays in March (March 3, 10, 17 and 24) at 10 a.m. Paddling, nautical knots and water safety are the themes of this fun water program. Bring a bathing suit and prepare to get wet. Attend four programs and receive a free hour of kayaking. For more information, call 740-858-6652.
Built by Beaver at Lake Hope State Park – Join us on Saturday, March 3, at 10 a.m. to see how these industrious little fur-bearers have been busy beavers along one of our trails. Check out a dam and lodge up close and maybe even hear that slap of the beaver’s tail. Prepare for muddy conditions. The walk is less than half a mile. Meet below the Lake Hope Dam to caravan to the location. For more information, call the nature center at 740-596-3030.
Groundhog Hike at Wingfoot Lake State Park – On this hike, we will be looking out for the elusive groundhog, along with other animals that might be lurking around at Wingfoot Lake State Park on Saturday, March 3, at 10 a.m. Meet at the boat marina parking lot. For more information, call 330-628-4720.
Winter Hike at Findley State Park – Join the Buckeye Trail Association and Findley State Park staff to experience the beauty of winter through Findley’s woodlands and around the lake on Saturday, March 3, at 10 a.m. There will be 5K and 10K guided hikes. Donations will be accepted for cornbread and bean soup after the hikes. Hikers should meet at the nature center in the campground, and they should dress for the weather. For more information, call 440-647-0534.
Animal Clues at Lake Hope State Park – Join the naturalist at the nature center at Lake Hope State Park on Saturday, March 3, at 11 a.m. for hints on how to find animals in the park, then go on a short walk nearby to test out your skills. Dress for the weather. For more information, call 740-596-4938.
Nature Nook at Shawnee State Park – Visit with a naturalist at Shawnee State Park and learn more about our native wildlife and fun things to do in the area. We will also have live animals to observe. Meet upstairs in the lodge from 12-2 p.m. on Saturdays in March (March 3, 10, 17 and 24). For more information, call 740-858-6652.
Nature Night at Maumee Bay State Park – Ever wonder what animals roamed the wilds of Ohio? Or lurked in the Great Black Swamp? Swing by the lodge at Maumee Bay State Park each Saturday in March at 4:30 p.m. to find out, and see some skins, skulls and snakes! For more information, call 419-836-7758.
‘Timberdoodling’ at Burr Oak State Park – Ever heard of a timberdoodle? Bog sucker and whistling snipe are two additional names for the woodcock, a bird which performs a sunset dance to attract a mate. Join us on Saturday, March 3, at 6 p.m. at Burr Oak State Park as we search the meadows and evening sky for this unusual performer. Meet at the lodge, and then we will carpool to the site. For more information, call 740-767-3570.
Night Hike at Wingfoot Lake State Park – Join the naturalist at Wingfoot Lake State Park for a walk through the park at night to see what critters are stirring after sunset. People should bring a flashlight and a sense of adventure! Meet at the boat marina parking lot on Saturday, March 3, at 8 p.m. For more information, call 330-628-4720.
Beekeeping Symposium at Caesar Creek State Park – Interested in learning more about beekeeping? Look no further than the Beekeeping Symposium at Caesar Creek State Park on Sunday, March 4, from 10 a.m.-4 p.m.! The morning session will be from 10-11:30 a.m., followed by a potluck lunch from 11:30 a.m.-12:30 p.m., and then the afternoon session from 12:30-4 p.m. Sessions include topics such as basics of beekeeping and getting started, how to build and repair your own beehive box, swarm catching, small hive beetle, year-round trees and flowers and more. This event is free and open to the public so no registration is required. All speakers and vendors for this event are local. There will also be a kids corner for little beekeepers with games and learning activities. This event is sponsored by the Southwest Girls Beekeeping Club and Caesar Creek State Park. For more information, email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Mammals of Ohio at Burr Oak State Park – Join the naturalist at Burr Oak State Park for a close-up look at common Ohio mammals by examining their skins and skulls on Friday, March 9, from 3:30-4:30 p.m. This will be held in the lodge lobby. For more information, call 740-767-3570.
To learn more about family-friendly events at Ohio’s state parks and state nature preserves, go to parks.ohiodnr.gov/calendar or naturepreserves.ohiodnr.gov/calendar.
Getting outdoors is an ideal way to relieve stress and boost mood levels. The Explore Ohio initiative is aimed at encouraging people to exercise outdoors and become healthier in the process. Participants can log their miles, share their photos and create friends groups on the Explore Ohio website at ExploreOh.com. Whether people are running, hiking, biking, climbing, walking or paddling, Ohioans can keep track of their progress at ExploreOh.com and share their adventures on social media using #ExploreOhio. After reaching 100 combined miles of activity on the site, each registered user will receive an email with a certificate good for 15 percent off camping at any Ohio State Park.
Winter Fish Kills May Occur as Ice Melts on Ohio’s Ponds and Lakes
COLUMBUS – The Ohio Department of Natural Resources (ODNR) is reminding Ohioans that small numbers of dead fish may be common in ponds and small lakes this spring. Winter die-offs of fish after long periods of heavy ice and snow cover on small waters are known as “winterkills.” Winterkills may occur in some Ohio waters this year as ice and snow of the past few months gives way to spring.
According to the ODNR Division of Wildlife fisheries biologists, minor fish kills do not significantly impact fish populations or sport fishing opportunities in lakes and reservoirs. Fish kills are fairly common in Ohio, particularly right after ice-out, from late April through mid-June, and during prolonged periods of hot summer weather.
Winterkills are caused when persistent ice forms a surface barrier between water and air that prevents circulation of oxygen and blocks sunlight. If these conditions continue long enough, the oxygen fish need to survive may be depleted and result in some or all of them suffocating. Lacking sunlight, plants stop making oxygen and eventually start to use oxygen as they die back and decompose.
Winterkill is most common in shallow ponds and will become obvious if dead fish are seen along the shore. Ohio’s northern counties are most susceptible to winterkill because of colder temperatures and more frequent snowfall. However, winterkill is possible in any part of the state during winters of persistent cold weather and snow cover.
Fish die-offs are possible in Ohio’s larger lakes as well, but for different reasons. Fish which are less tolerant of long, cold winters, such as gizzard shad, are commonly seen along the shorelines of reservoirs and even Lake Erie during moderate winters. However, in larger waters, the species that commonly die off following winter are resilient and return in great numbers following a single spawning season.
Concerned citizens should not attempt to rescue stressed or dead fish. Handling stressed fish significantly reduces their chance of survival, and attempts to capture these fish may present a safety hazard to people attempting to help the fish. Go to wildohio.gov to find more information about fish and preventing winterkills. Large numbers of dead fish should be reported by calling 800-WILDLIFE (945-3543).
Knowing Ohio Woods Better
Hosted by Woodcraft of Columbus
Sunday, March 11 at 1-4:30 p.m.
1077 Bethel Rd., Columbus, Ohio 43220
We have an outstanding selection of wood to work with as woodworkers in the State of Ohio. Join Randy Sanders, a tree farmer and woodworker to learn more about these types of wood. Examples of more than 25 Ohio woods will be handled, viewed and discussed. He will discuss the basic properties, structure and uses of each! The cost is $25 and you can call 614-273-0488 to sign up!
ODNR ensures a balance between wise use and protection of our natural resources for the benefit of all. Visit the ODNR website at ohiodnr.gov.