Outdoors and recreation news

Staff Reports

Friends of Metro Parks award “Tad Jeffrey Memorial Grants” to six parks

Friends of Metro Parks will again award grants to parks from the Tad Jeffrey Memorial Grants Fund. Last year, five were awarded inaugural Tad Jeffrey Memorial Grants to complete unique and diverse projects to enrich the park experience for visitors. The projects included an insect hotel, a roving nature station, and even a tandem bike to use on the Greenway Trails.

These grants were created in honor of Robert “Tad” Jeffrey, who served as a Park Board Commissioner and worked to expand parks acreage. Metro Parks opened five new parks during Tad’s 16 years of dedication to the parks system. He helped to increase educational programming, expanded habitat protection, and was instrumental in the Franklin County Greenways Initiative. After his passing in 2016, the Tad Jeffrey Memorial Grants took form to honor him and to continue his legacy in improving Metro Parks.

Thanks to the donations in honor of Mr. Jeffrey, Friends of Metro Parks were able to offer this grant opportunity again in 2017. After receiving 23 applications, the Friends’ grant committee was tasked with deciding which of the applications would end up being winners of the 2017 Tad Jeffrey Memorial Grants. After much deliberation, the committee decided to fund six projects.

Scioto Audubon Metro Park was awarded funds for Honeybee Hives. These hives will be a wonderful addition to the park, especially since they have recently put in a pollinator garden. Bees are instrumental in the health of the environment, in addition to the tasty honey they make.

Blacklick Woods will be able to create an Edible Plants Garden to be installed near the nature center. The garden will include a variety of plants that have edible components or uses. This project will include a raised garden bed so that smaller plants will be able to get enough sunlight to thrive, as well as protecting them from grazing wildlife. We hope that many visitors will take part in the programs that will be created from having a wild edible plants garden.

Scioto Grove, the newest Metro Park, will purchase flint knapping supplies for future programs. For those who don’t know, flint knapping is the shaping of flint into primitive tools by chipping away at the edges—used in particular to create arrowheads. Flint knapping programs will educate visitors about the cultural history of the area, and can also be integrated into archery programs.

With the popularity of Crossfit and the growing trend of opting outdoors to exercise instead of going to a traditional indoor gym, Sharon Woods Metro Park will be developing a multipurpose fitness station at the Multipurpose Trail. Equipment will include a tire flipping station, a battle rope station, and plyometric boxes. The station will have signage with directions on how to use the equipment, so that anyone can take park in this outdoor fitness station without necessarily having any prior training.

Guss the Groundhog, the Greenways mascot, put in an application for a popcorn machine to take along to events. Instead of awarding this grant to just the Greenways, Friends of Metro Parks are awarding the popcorn machine to all of the Metro Parks to use at activities and programs throughout the district. Look out for this fun addition at our Movies in the Park series this summer.

Finally, with the remaining funds, the Friends helped to fund one of the nights during the Summer Music Series at Slate Run Metro Park. We’d love to see you there, so we can all sit back and unwind during the summer with some wonderful music.

We hope to continue the Tad Jeffrey Memorial Grant project for many years to come, and would like to thank everyone who donated to the fund, as well as all of the parks who applied for the grant to improve their parks in wonderfully creative ways.

By Melissa Meyer, Friends of Metro Parks

Gateway Adventures

COLUMBUS, April 20, 2017 —-Two local businesses have teamed up to offer a variety of sight-seeing opportunities in Central Ohio from bike and boat. Heather Bowden of CBUS Bike Tours and Lisa Daris of Olentangy Paddle say their new partnership has allowed them to grow and offer their customers more options.

You don’t always get 100% agreement from participants when you’re planning a group outing,” explained Heather and Lisa. “Having extended options of biking and boating has opened up our services to fit the needs of groups that need options.”

The new venture is called Gateway Adventures, and it aims to educate customers about Columbus, its history, and the environment as they pedal and paddle through the neighborhoods and waterways of central Ohio. “It’s great to hear customers that have lived in Columbus for over 30 years say how much they’ve learned from one of our tours,” said Heather.

“You’ll find that many towns were built along a river, especially a confluence, and the history that comes with that is often unknown to long-time residents,” explained Daris, who is also an Outdoor Educator for the Ohio River Foundation and a FLOW (Friends of the Lower Olentangy Watershed) board member. “Columbus benefited from the Scioto, Olentangy, and Alum Creek waterways – they truly were the veins of the city in the 1800s, providing fresh water, navigation, and mills for the growing communities.”

The new venture offers participants a way to hit their wellness and social responsibility goals, as participants are encouraged to paddle or pedal for a purpose. “Biking or kayaking can be as strenuous as you make it. We have many miles of waterways and trails and some groups take advantage of that to really push themselves, making their outing a physical challenge. We offer a pledging system where participants can have friends and family pledge a dollar amount for each mile they paddle or pedal.” The money is donated to the charity of their choice, or a non-profit that Gateway partners with.

Throughout the season, Gateway Adventures will offer several tour options and special events focusing on different areas of Columbus. Bike and kayak rentals are also available for those that want to venture on their own. Gateway Adventures is located at 92 N. Front Street, Columbus, OH 43215.

For more information, go to www.ohgatewayadventures.com or call 855 – OHFUN11 (643-8611).

ODNR Reminds People to Leave Wildlife in the Wild

Born Wild, Stay Wild

COLUMBUS – The spring season has arrived, offering many opportunities for Ohioans to help protect young wildlife. Each year, Ohio Department of Natural Resources (ODNR) officials offer this simple advice: enjoy wildlife from a distance, and leave young animals alone. Wild animals are born to live their lives in the wild, and sometimes good intentions can hurt their chances of survival.

A young wild animal’s best chance for survival is with its mother. Most wildlife taken in by people do not survive, except when handled by specially-trained personnel. In many cases, a young animal collected by a person was not lost or abandoned, but was simply waiting for a parent to return.

Many adult wild animals will leave their young alone while they forage for food or to divert the attention of predators away from their vulnerable young, especially during daylight hours. In the case of white-tailed deer, a doe will hide her young from predators by leaving it alone in a secluded spot, such as a grassy meadow or a flower bed. A hidden fawn has virtually no scent, and when the fawn is left alone, it is difficult for predators to find. The doe is usually nearby and will tend to the fawn during the night.

Baby birds that have fallen from their nests are one of the most common wildlife species that are removed from the wild by humans. Contrary to popular belief, human scent will not prevent the parents from returning to care for their young. Individuals should return baby birds back to their nests and walk away so the parents can continue to feed the birds without fear of humans.

If individuals find a young animal that is visibly injured or clearly in severe distress and may need assistance, visit wildohio.gov/staywild before taking any action. Specific information for commonly encountered wildlife species is available to help guide people on how to best help the animal.

State and federal laws protect and regulate wildlife in Ohio, and only specially trained and licensed wildlife rehabilitators, with special permits issued by the ODNR Division of Wildlife, may possess and care for native wild animals. These laws are in place for the benefit of humans as well as wild animals.

To further protect young and vulnerable wild animals, keep pets under control so they do not raid nests or injure wild animals. Also, remember to keep pets inoculated against parasites and diseases before venturing out this spring.

Always check for nests before cutting down trees or clearing brush. It is best to cut trees and clear brush in the autumn when nesting season is over. Teach children to respect wildlife and their habitat, observing wildlife from a distance.

Contact a local wildlife official before taking action. Call 800-WILDLIFE (800-945-3543) or visit wildohio.gov/staywild to connect with the proper individuals and to read about species-specific guidance. Human intervention is always a wild animal’s last hope for survival, never its best hope.

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.

June Designated as Ohio Goes Boating Month

The Senate recently passed House Bill 84, showcasing Ohio’s vibrant boating and tourism industry, which has a $3.6 billion impact on the state’s economy. The bill highlights the importance of preserving and protecting all of the state’s lakes and waterways for Ohioans to enjoy.


Staff Reports