COLUMBUS – The Ohio Department of Natural Resources (ODNR) is offering some special events to celebrate Earth Day this year. Learn more about great free outdoor events scheduled at state parks and state nature preserves to enjoy in April.
Reptiles R Us at Burr Oak State Park – Take a reptile quiz to test your reptile IQ and meet a special guest at Burr Oak State Park from 3:30-4:30 p.m. in the lodge lobby on Friday, April 27. For more information, call 740-767-3570.
Nearly Full Moon Hike at Burr Oak State Park – The full moon of April is known as the “Pink Moon,” but don’t think it will turn pink! Find out the reason for the name while enjoying the trail at night on this 1.5-mile hike. Wear sturdy hiking boots/shoes, and meet at the lodge on Friday, April 27, at 8:30 p.m. For more information, call 740-767-3570.
Trout Derby at Shawnee State Park – Come out to Shawnee State Park and try your hand at trout fishing on Saturday, April 28! We will have prizes for all ages, a Passport to Fishing program for beginners, free voluntary boat inspections, a fish shocking demonstration, games for kids and much more. The 52nd annual Trout Derby fishing contest will be held on Turkey Creek Lake from 6 a.m.-2 p.m. This event is sponsored by Portsmouth Area Jaycees and Friends of Shawnee State Park. There is no cost to participate. For more information, call 740-858-6652.
Mohican Wildlife Weekend at Malabar Farm State Park – The Mohican Wildlife Weekend is offering activities that promote and attract pollinators like bees, butterflies and bats. Most activities are free. The events held at Malabar Farm State Park include activities on Saturday, April 28, such as a wildflower hike at 8:30 a.m., a session on Ohio’s bats at 10 a.m., a vernal pool study at 11 a.m., a grass caterpillar kid’s activity from noon-4 p.m., a mushroom hike at 2 p.m. and a wildlife barn dance from 7-10 p.m. On Sunday, April 29, activities at Malabar Farm include a mushroom hike at 10 a.m., a birding hike at 1 p.m., a butterfly and skippers program at 3:30 p.m. and a grass caterpillar kid’s activity from noon-4 p.m. For more details on all of the participating locations and activities, go to mohicanwildlifeweekend.com.
Earth Day Litter Cleanup at Lake Milton State Park – Participate in our annual local shoreline and roadside litter pick-up at Lake Milton State Park in honor of Earth Day! Dress for the weather, bring work gloves and litter pickers if needed. Bags will be provided. Meet at the maintenance shop at 16739 Mahoning Ave. in Lake Milton at 9 a.m. on Saturday, April 28. For more information, call 330-654-4989.
Spring Birding at Lake Hope State Park – Join us on Saturday, April 28, at 9 a.m. as we will walk along the ridge line of the campground at Lake Hope State Park to give us the best opportunity to catch glimpses of migrating birds. Some binoculars will be provided, meet at the nature center. For more information, call the nature center at 740-596-3030.
Spring Wildflower Hike at Clifton Gorge State Nature Preserve – The spring ephemerals are likely the best feature of Clifton Gorge State Nature Preserve, and the relatively untouched forest found on the dolomite slopes here have allowed these colonies of wildflowers to flourish. Join us on Saturday, April 28, at 9 a.m. for this spring wildflower hike and learn about some of these short-lived beauties. Sturdy footwear is recommended. Hikers should meet at the Bear’s Den, which is near the main parking lot trailhead. The parking lot address is 2381 State Route 343, Yellow Springs 45387. For more information, email firstname.lastname@example.org or call 937-537-6173.
Nature Hike at Wingfoot Lake State Park – Enjoy the spring weather at Wingfoot Lake State Park on Saturday, April 28, at 10 a.m. as we hike through the park in search for signs of spring. Meet at the boat marina parking lot. For more information, call 330-628-4720.
Fresh Air Family Fun at Sycamore State Park – Join us at the overlook picnic area at Sycamore State Park on Saturday, April 28, from 10 a.m.-3 p.m. for a day filled with outdoor fun: fishing, birds of prey program, reptiles, and a discovery hike. For more information, contact a naturalist at 513-524-4250.
Spring Wildflower Hike at Eagle Creek State Nature Preserve – People are invited to join us to see one of the best wildflower displays in northeast Ohio on Saturday, April 28, at 10 a.m. at Eagle Creek State Nature Preserve. No registration is required. For more information, call 330-527-5118 or email email@example.com
Blooming Beauties at Burr Oak State Park – Join the naturalist at Burr Oak State Park for a 1.5-mile hike as we identity and enjoy woodland wildflowers. Meet at the nature center on Saturday, April 28, at 2 p.m. for the hike. For more information, call 740-767-3570.
Spring Woodcock Walk at Maumee Bay State Park – Witness the spectacular courtship flight of the “timberdoodle” as the American woodcock is sometimes known. Meet at parking lot 7 (youth fishing pond parking) at Maumee Bay State Park at 7:45 p.m. on Saturday, April 28. Make sure to call 419-836-9117 beforehand to make sure the program is occurring because it is weather dependent.
Spring Wildflower Walk at Salt Fork State Park – Meet at the Stone House Nature trail parking lot at Salt Fork State Park on Sunday, April 29, at 11 a.m. for the annual wildflower hike. Transportation back to your vehicle will be provided. For more information, call 740-439-3521.
Archery at Lake Hope State Park – Learn how to shoot or perfect your archery skills at Lake Hope State Park on Sunday, April 29, from 4-6 p.m. Meet at the archery range near the shelterhouse. All equipment will be provided. This activity is recommended for ages 8 and up. For questions, call the nature center at 740-596-3030.
Full Moon Hike at Lake Hope State Park – Join us at Lake Hope State Park for a full moon hike on Sunday, April 29, at 8 p.m. Meet at the shelterhouse, sturdy footwear is recommended. For more information, call the nature center at 740-596-3030.
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.
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.