Unbe-leaf-able Science

Fall is here and the leaves are changing colors right before our eyes. In just a few more weeks, the leaves will have fallen from the trees and winter will be right around the corner. But before that happens, let’s learn what’s going on inside of the trees… and you can even try an experiment at home to see the science behind the leaves …Read More

The Haunted Forest Effect

The work of busy beech blight aphids While hiking along the many trails of our Metro Parks a mysterious substance can be discovered this time of year. As this mysterious black growth unveils itself, it appears to be oozing off the limbs of beech trees. It is in such forests, with these beautiful beech trees, that an observant eye may witness nature’s Halloween decor draped …Read More

You Can Eat That: Black Walnut

Launching into wild edible plants may seem complicated, but with a little knowledge and an adventurous mindset, you could be foraging for your own food in no time. Before you get started, enter with a mindset of SAFETY FIRST! Certain plants can have either acute or underlying toxins and some may even have both. The first thing to do is to learn to identify plants. …Read More

Spiders: The not so spooky Halloween symbol

Ask any kindergartener and they will tell you that spiders have eight legs, eight eyes (most do) and two body parts…and they are way cool. Most adults would not agree with the latter part and may shudder and use words like “heebie-jeebies.” Spiders have intrigued humans since ancient times, and were seen as mystical because of their ability to weave intricate webs. Much like …Read More

Fall hiking in the parks #3 – October 14, 2016

HOMESTEAD METRO PARK This spring, staff at Homestead started the conversion of mowed lawn into habitat by seeding native tallgrass prairie. It will take three to five years for the prairie to become established. Since the planted area is highly visible, staff incorporated annuals into the seed mix to produce a display of beautiful flowers early in the process. This summer there have been bursts of white, …Read More

Fall hiking in the parks #2 – October 7, 2016

SHARON WOODS If you are looking for a leisurely walk that’s chocked-full of fall colors, the fields at Sharon Woods are at their fall-color peak with blooming Goldenrod and New England Aster. Start your walk on our Edward Thomas Trail. This trail passes through our 319-acre Edward Thomas State Nature Preserve known for its mature oak trees. From there, take the connector to hop …Read More

Myth busting the hickory tussock moth caterpillar

You may have seen this post somewhere on social media: “POISONOUS CATERPILLAR FOUND IN OHIO— It may look like a woolly worm..but it’s not. This is a venomous caterpillar from Canada known as the White Hickory Tussock Moth Caterpillar and it’s been spotted in northeast Ohio. It can be either white or brightly colored. More importantly, it has hairs with barbs that can stick …Read More

Columbus City Schools Intern Initiative

If you visited a Metro Park this summer, you may have seen a group of high school students staining a deck or trimming alongside a trail. These students were part of a Metro Parks program called the Columbus City Schools Intern Initiative (CSI). Metro Parks hires Columbus City School high school students to work on maintenance crews that travel to different parks over the course …Read More

Tip of the Campaign Hat – Rangers Heisey, Knowles, Kaderly and White

A lot of things happening in the ranger ranks over the last few weeks. Mike Heisey, Glacier Ridge Park Manager, retired on August 31, 2016 after 37 years of service to the Metro Parks. Mike started his career at Innsiwood Metro Gardens as the horticulturist. He was then promoted to Assistant Manager at Innsiwood. Mike then was promoted to manager of Glacier Ridge where he …Read More

Pondering Pawpaws

Look for the dark maroon flowers of the pawpaw tree in early spring and dare to take a whiff. It smells like rotting meat. But believe it or not, by September, these foul-smelling flowers will have developed into a delicious, nutritious edible fruit. Dig a little deeper into the history of the pawpaw and you’ll discover even more surprises. Some have called pawpaw (Asimina …Read More

Tip of the Campaign Hat – Rangers Davis and Caldwell

Two of our newer rangers, Dustin Davis at Greenways and Shelby Caldwell at Highbanks, are currently attending the Ohio Peace Officer Training Academy. They recently passed a crucial step, the physical training assessment.  The test consists of running a mile and a half, sit-ups and push-ups, hitting the benchmarks all under the required time.  Now that the assessment was successfully completed, the two rangers can sit …Read More

Rock On at the Community Rock Climbing Festival

Scioto Audubon Metro Park’s climbing wall opened in 2009 and has been a resounding success with visitors, and especially with the climbing community. Our Community Rock Climbing Festival on Saturday September 10, 2016, is a celebration of that success and we invite all people to join us for a fun day of activities and adventure, with a Hollywood blockbuster movie to end the day. EVEREST …Read More

Bumble Bustle at Inniswood

Bees can be a polarizing topic for many. I meet visitors all the time that have an aversion to them. People may have had a traumatic experience with a bee, maybe they aren’t fans of that buzzing noise they make, or maybe they just don’t like bugs. Either way, there is no denying that without our bees there would be fewer beautiful flowers and even less tasty …Read More

Annual Nature Print Contest

Metro Parks, in cooperation with the Lens & Leaves Camera Club, has run an annual nature print contest for more than 25 years. Terrific photographs are entered every year and all of the entries are displayed over four autumn weekends. This year, the exhibits will be held at the following locations and dates: There are usually around 200 entries in the display. Visitors to …Read More

The Cycle Continues

As we have discussed in other issues of the blog, theft from vehicles is the largest criminal problem rangers deal with at Metro Parks. Occurrences are often cyclic. A criminal, or group of criminals, have some success at a location and continue to hit those locations until they find some place better or get caught.  Sometimes we catch them, sometimes it is another agency.  Rest …Read More

Caution, turtle crossing

Why did the turtle cross the road?  To get to the other side, actually! We saw this gorgeous woodland box turtle crossing the Beech Woodland Trail at Rocky Fork Metro Park during a tram program. Luckily we were able to stop the tram in time to rescue the turtle. Of course, seeing the turtle brought up plenty of questions and conversation about what to do when …Read More

The hummingbird’s tongue and other wonders

My barely-a-toddler granddaughter is fascinated by everything. To her, dirt has wonderful textures and indeed may be edible. Touching soft leaves or prickly conifer needles brings a smile to her face. The birds that hang out in neighborhood gardens are endlessly entertaining. Chain link fences are like mountains that must be climbed because they can be climbed. Yet there are many other wonders of this …Read More

Bobwhite quail return to Central Ohio

You may have heard about our successful reintroduction of northern bobwhite quail at Slate Run Metro Park. Bobwhite quail is a native species that has been struggling in the state due to harsh winters and habitat loss. Metro Parks’ staff began planning a project in 2012 at Slate Run to begin altering the park’s grasslands and forest edges to meet the habitat requirements of quail, with the goal …Read More

Driving me batty!

I remember when I was child my aunt and uncle had so many bats on their farm that my cousins were afraid to play outside in the evening. I loved to go out and watch them hunt around the security light. They have always fascinated me. Now it is much less common to see a bat flying around. When I do see one, I …Read More

Tip of the Campaign Hat to Ranger Doug Ramey

A tip of the campaign hat goes out to Ranger Doug Ramey at Blacklick Woods, whose observation and diligence helped Reynoldsburg Division of Police with a case. In today’s age of electronic communication and social media, law enforcement agencies are able to regularly and easily share information with other agencies. In this case, the Reynoldsburg Division of Police shared photos from a Walmart security …Read More

You Can Eat That: Wild Ginger

Launching into wild edible plants may seem complicated, but with a little knowledge and an adventurous mindset, you could be foraging for your own food in no time. Before you get started, enter with a mindset of SAFETY FIRST! Certain plants can have either acute or underlying toxins and some may even have both. Exercising a little caution and trying new plants in moderation can …Read More

All Tied Up

The job of the park ranger has been defined simply as, “protecting the park from the people, protecting the people from the park, and protecting the people from the people.” As you can see from this statement, our duties can vary widely. Over the weekend, rangers received a report of a Canada goose entangled in fishing line. We get calls to help wildlife on a regular …Read More

Pokémon invade Metro Parks

Your Metro Parks have always been a great place to see birds, deer and other wildlife as you walk and explore the trails. For the past week, staff at several Metro Parks reported a new influx of creatures wandering the trails, hopping around the picnic tables and fluttering around the feeders at the nature center. Staff also noticed that hundreds of new visitors to …Read More

Catch ‘Em All

The latest craze, Pokemon Go, has come to Metro Parks in a big way.  We are very happy to see so many people are coming out to capture these virtual critters “living” in the parks. We are embracing the new game and will be providing programming centered around or featuring the game (keep an eye on the Metro Parks Facebook and Twitter feed for more …Read More

More horse-power at Slate Run Farm

Threshing is one of the highlights of the summer for staff and visitors to Slate Run Living Historical Farm, and you can see how it was done, 1880s style, at programs this Saturday and Sunday (16-17 July). Threshing is the final step of harvesting wheat, and separates the grain from the stalks and seed covering. As we have around eight wagons of grain to …Read More

Fourth of July Holiday Wrap Up

Independence Day is one of our busier holidays of the year. The weather didn’t really cooperate this year, threatening rain pretty much all weekend.  As a result, the attendance numbers are a little lower compared to last year. Highbanks led in attendance over the holiday weekend with a total of 13,263 visitors, followed by Battelle Darby Creek with 12,536, Three Creeks with 9,605, Sharon …Read More

Dig In with Inniswood Junior Garden Volunteers

Inniswood Metro Gardens is the only botanical garden in your Metro Parks, with 10 feature gardens to explore along with natural areas in the 123-acre site. Part of what keeps Inniswood looking great is the continued involvement of nearly 300 volunteers. During the growing season, Inniswood invites younger volunteers to dig in along with us. Children age 11-17 can be registered to join our …Read More

Entertainment for the entire family at Homestead

There’s lots of fun to be had at Homestead Metro Park this summer, including a series of special events to please parkgoers of all ages. Grab your snacks, blankets and chairs and head to the Summer Entertainment Series, sponsored by Giant Eagle. Mark your calendar for these upcoming, exciting performances: Comedy Juggler – Matt Jergens Thursday July 7 @7pm Join us to witness an international gold medalist juggler …Read More

Tip of the Campaign Hat

Congratulations to Ranger Kerry Dunn for being promoted to Second Shift Supervisor. Ranger Dunn has been with Metro Parks since 2011. Prior to Metro Parks, Ranger Dunn served as a Deputy Dog Warden with Franklin County Animal Control and before that she was a Crime Scene Technician for the Clay County Sheriff’s Office in Florida. The Second Shift Supervisor is a new position at …Read More

To manage, or not to manage? That is the question…

Metro Parks manages many areas to control succession of plants.  If managed in a “hands-off” manner, all of the park areas would progress through several phases of plant growth beginning with grass and wildflower fields, to brush and briars, to young trees and then, in 75-100 years, begin its final stage as a mature forest.  Within each habitat phase, one may find a group …Read More

Repo Gone Wrong

You will rarely see physical altercations among visitors in Metro Parks. When they do happen, it almost always stems from previous history, or issues outside of the park, but end up in the park. Case in point, Rangers at Sharon Woods Metro Park dealt with an interesting situation a couple weekends ago. While on patrol, a ranger noticed a vehicle in the grass between the …Read More

If You Build It, They Will Come

Hundreds of butterflies will be making their way to Scioto Audubon Metro Park in the near future thanks to the efforts of the German Village Garten Club and staff at Metro Parks. A quarter-acre area in the park at the northwest corner of Whittier Street and Maier Place has been transformed into the perfect habitat for these colorful winged insects. The idea for a butterfly garden came from …Read More

MusicBASH will have you in the mood for music at Slate Run this summer

Slate Run Metro Park has a ton of things going for it, but something new this summer will have you tapping your feet and dancing in the park. MusicBASH begins on Friday June 24 with the Slate Ridge Bluegrass Band. The five-player band performs traditional bluegrass and early country style music on acoustic instruments, including guitar, bass, banjo, fiddle and mandolin. On Friday July 15, …Read More

Becoming a Metro Parks “Friend”

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 …Read More

Peek under a pond

Nearly everyone’s been to a pond before. Maybe you’ve gone fishing, watched ducks, enjoyed a picnic nearby, or watched a scenic sunset from a dock or bench near the water’s edge. But have you thought much about what you might find UNDER the water? Our naturalists at Blendon Woods did some pond studies recently to see what they could find. We used small aquarium …Read More

A Busy Day in the Parks

Some days are busier than others for Rangers.  Some people correlate these busy days to the phase of the moon.  Others to the rise in temperatures.  And some days, there just really isn’t an explanation.  Yesterday, June 8th, was one of those days.  Temperatures were cool, especially for June.  The moon phase was waxing crescent, not even close to being a full moon.  And yet… …Read More

Land Use: Past, Present and Future

Introducing a new teacher workshop, Land Use: Past, Present and Future! Registration deadline is June 10th (see details below). Did you know that Metro Parks provides workshops for teachers with content, visuals, examples and fun activities that correlate to the History, Geography, Economic, and/or Government social studies strands and/or the Life and/or the Earth and Space science strands? Join us for a virtual tour of the new Land …Read More

New Rangers take Oath of Office

Earlier this week, Executive Director Tim Moloney  held a swearing in ceremony at Metro Parks Headquarters for Three new Metro Parks rangers took their Oath of Office and received their commission as Ohio Peace Officers. Rangers Peter Daniels, Doug Ramey and Sarah Young spent the last 7 months attending the Ohio Peace Officer Training Academy, where they successfully completed the requirements of the academy.  The commission they received …Read More

Memorial Day Weekend Wrap Up

Memorial Day weekend kicks off the summer season for us here at Metro Parks. Much time and effort is spent getting the parks ready for the abundance of visitors. This weekend also requires extra Ranger Staff to help with the increase in attendance. We often view this weekend as a barometer of what the summer brings. If this weekend is a sign of things to come, it is going to be …Read More

What’s Your Park?

Metro Parks naturalists often get to know the regular park visitors, and are fortunate to hear about some of their adventures!  Meet Kathy and Sara, who recently explained to Scott Felker, naturalist at Three Creeks, why they love their Metro Parks… We have enjoyed numerous hikes and adventures through the years at the Metro Parks. Our first hike was Birding and Breakfast at Chestnut Ridge in …Read More

Moving Day!

After more than 30 years, the time had come to pack up and move a honey bee colony from Walnut Woods Metro Park to Battelle Darby Creek. The eviction notice came when park manager, Mindi McConnell determined that the structure they were living in was scheduled to be demolished. The bees had professional help with their move. Naturalists Debbie Ruppersburg and Kaylin Callander from Battelle Darby Creek, along with …Read More

Wild Parents Know Best!

It was a gorgeous spring day; one of those rare times when our central Ohio sky was clear blue, the sun was shining, and it was just warm enough to go without a coat. Everyone was at the park that day, joggers, hikers, pet owners, picnickers, and some simply seeking fresh air. The nature center was busy too, and people arrived with interesting questions …Read More

Swarmegeddon!

It’s loud. To some creatures it is a feast. It might be called Swarmegeddon. It is the emergence of Brood V of the 17-year periodical cicadas. Sometime in May, when the temperature eight inches below the soil surface reached 64 degrees Fahrenheit for four straight days, the cicadas crawled out, climbed trees and shrubs and began trying to find a mate. An acre of mature forest might have …Read More

Snake in the Grass

Rangers on patrol at Pickerington Ponds Metro Park were approached by individuals who reported a gun shot from a house adjacent to park property.  The local police department was contacted while one Ranger stayed in the area to observe the house and one Ranger checked all the nearby parking lots and trails just to make sure the area was safe.  The local police department …Read More

Gardening for Hummingbirds

There’s nothing quite as exciting as catching a glimpse of the tiny, iridescent, Ruby-throated Hummingbird in your garden.  These extremely migratory birds are not only beautiful to watch, but also play an important role in our ecosystem. In the spring in central Ohio, Ruby-throated Hummingbirds make their way back to our gardens and backyards to mate, build nests and raise young.  They can travel …Read More

Thefts from Vehicles

Over the weekend there were a few cases of theft from vehicles at Battelle Darby Creek Metro Park.  While theft from vehicles is our most frequent law enforcement issue, it is not a problem isolated to Metro Parks.  In fact, parks, gyms and rec-centers all across Central Ohio are having issues with theft from vehicles.  These places are targeted by thieves because people don’t like to …Read More

Water Rescue Training

Our friends at the Norwich Township Fire Department spent a few days at Prairie Oaks Metro Park teaching Rangers about water safety and water rescue operations.  Nearly every Metro Park has some sort of water (pond, lake, creek).  Therefore, nearly every Metro Park has potential for water rescues. In 2015, Rangers at Battelle Darby Creek Metro Park assisted in at least four water rescues along …Read More

Metro Parks dedicates off-trail reserve in honor of Tad Jeffrey

Family and friends of Robert “Tad” Jeffrey met at Three Creeks Park last week to celebrate Tad’s life and his dedication to Metro Parks. The occasion marked the opening of a beautifully constructed scenic overlook deck, with views of a 90-acre area dedicated as the Robert “Tad” Jeffrey Off-Trail Reserve. The Reserve includes the confluence of Big Walnut, Alum and Blacklick Creeks, for which …Read More

A Tip of the Campaign Hat

A tip of the campaign hat to Rangers Daniels, Ramey and Young.  These three Rangers found out yesterday they all passed the Ohio Peace Officer Training Academy final exam and are now certified peace officers. Congratulations on 6 months hard work. We look forward to seeing you sworn in and receiving your commission. Job well done!

A Morel Dilemma

It is that season again, one that many in Central Ohio and all over the Midwest for that matter, anxiously await.  It’s not fishing season, or deer, or even turkey.  It is morel season.  That’s right. Mushroom season.  And to morel hunters, it is a special time of year, walking the woods searching for the elusive tasty morsel hidden on the forest floor, blending in …Read More

Scioto Grove Metro Park Opens

The weather stayed fair and a crowd of more than 1,500 eager park lovers were on hand to mark the opening of the 19th Metro Park last Friday, May 6, 2016. Scioto Grove Metro Park joined the official canon of parks as 12 kids from the Richard Avenue Elementary School cut the ceremonial ribbon, with help from Grove City Mayor Richard “Ike” Stage. In …Read More