Becoming a Metro Parks “Friend”

Girl on park path
A visit to Walnut Woods

Hi, I’m Hannah. I grew up in Columbus and spent many a weeknight going on woods walks with the family after dinner. Back then, my tweenage angst had me huffy and unathletically attempting to avoid the long-legged creepy crawlies that dared to cross my path. That angst slowly turned to appreciation as my parents patiently kept us coming back to the Metro Parks.

This early exposure to the parks led me to pursue an active, outdoor lifestyle as I got older. Revisiting the parks evokes nostalgic admiration, while exploring new ones stimulates creative thinking and the desire to share with others. The Metro Parks are where I discovered my love of trail running, where my childhood dog whisked me through many a muddy puddle and where I discovered the cleansing properties of a walk through the woods.

So, why would I turn down the opportunity to be an ambassador for the beautiful park system that surrounds this city? I wouldn’t!  That’s why I currently serve as the Friends of Metro Parks Communications Committee Chair.  Friends of Metro Parks is a nonprofit, membership-based organization with a passion for supporting our Metro Parks. Our goal is simply to turn park fans into park advocates by encouraging active involvement in our fundraising and events. In the communications committee, we like to think of ourselves as the glue that holds the organization together; acting as liaison for the community. We enjoy planning events with fellow park fanatics, but the real reward is seeing proud parkgoers at the events. Over the past year, the Friends have planned several Metro Parks events for members, and non-members alike, such as a bison baby shower at Battelle Darby Creek, Yappy Hour, a dog friendly community event at Scioto Audubon and a members-only sneak peek of the new Scioto Grove Metro Park!

My advice to those seeking time outside? Try out all nineteen parks, hike a new trail each time, try a new park activity, run the obstacle course or climb the rock wall at Scioto Audubon, experience urban backpacking at Scioto Grove, go back in time at Slate Run Living Historical Farm, spy on the bison at Battelle Darby Creek, or conquer the mountain bike trail at Chestnut Ridge. You get my point, the list goes on and on. I encourage kids of all ages to come to a Friends event or fundraiser and begin sharing their love of our Metro Parks.

Do you want to know more about Friends of Metro Parks, or become a Friend yourself?  Visit the Friends website to learn more and see what events will be taking place this summer at a Metro Park near you!

(By Hannah Henthorne, Friends of Metro Parks)

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